Last week, I posted my thoughts on Halloween and my preference to call it Reformation Day.
This week, a bit more about Halloween. I’ve wavered back and forth over the years from being hard line opposed to any participation in the “Devil’s Holiday” to a more practical acknowledgement of the cultural event that Halloween has become, and to give focus to the significance of the day as the first shots fired in what is known as the Protestant Reformation.
In our neighborhood, I’ve been amazed that Halloween is competing for Christmas in yard and house decorations, complete with grave markers in front yards. Why such obsession with death?
“Trick or Treat” was never a part of my childhood experience. My parents didn’t take a hard line against Halloween as such. We were allowed to participate in dressing up for Halloween for school, but I think they just weren’t comfortable with their children threatening the neighbors with harm in order to get candy.
Of course, we were aware of the dark side of Halloween, the focus on monsters, ghosts, death, and Satan; and the ‘tricks” that crossed the line into criminal behavior. But every party seems to incite some to bad behavior, those who find joy in actually harming others or who just don’t have the wisdom to know when it is time to stop or what are the borders to inappropriate actions.
So, I’m still not at ease with the history and major premise of this holiday. But I’ve eased up on making a federal case about it with my kids and grandkids and see it as a way to express friendship to our neighbors. One neighbor always has a portable fire pit on the driveway and makes an evening of it, Avoiding interminable doorbell rings, they create a welcoming atmosphere for the whole neighborhood. We could all learn from that fine example. How can we be lights in the darkness of our neighborhoods?
Reports are that weather patterns expected for Halloween have led several communities in central Indiana to officially move the celebration to November 1 this year. Thus, it will not be Halloween, but All Saints Day, when the kids show up. I wonder how that might affect the evening.
For a better review of the roots of Halloween and how we respond to the spiritual darkness associated with it, I refer you to a favorite blogger, Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. I commend his Halloween post, Christianity and the Dark Side—What about Halloween?