Week 33: All Hallow’s Eve

I once read somewhere that parents shouldn’t allow their children to dress up on October 31st. Yes, I understand that there are evils that lie within the context of that holiday, but why not let the kids dress up for the fun of it? I did when I was a kid and didn’t officially “celebrate” Halloween.

Halloween is one of the world’s oldest holidays and is celebrated differently in a number of countries around the globe. In Latin American communities, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) honors deceased loved ones and ancestors. It’s a three day celebration that starts on October 31st and ends on November 2nd.

Halloween originated in Ireland nearly 2000 years ago. When Christianity spread to the Celtic isles of Ireland, higher officials declared the holiday evil and sought ways of making the festivities more Christian-oriented. In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV proclaimed November 1 All Saints Day, which is known as All Hallows. From there, we get All Hallows Eve…a.k.a Halloween.

Cultures around the world celebrate Halloween much like it is in the United States. Children dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating. Adults throw parties with neighbors and friends. Spooky stories are told in an effort to scare each other.

But what harm is there in Halloween? To some, the holiday emphasizes violence, death, horror and fear. To others, it’s Satan’s holiday.

I agree whole-heartedly with Anderson M. Rearick III in his article Matters of Opinion: Hallowing Halloween – Why Christians should embrace the devilish holiday with gusto – and laughter in Christianity Today (found here).

In his article, he states how he’s is “reluctant to give up what was one of the highlights” of his childhood to the “Great Imposter and Chief of Liars for no reason except that some of his servants claim it as his.” I tend to agree with him.

Halloween was a fun time for me as a child. It was the highlight of the fall some years. I remember being a clown (personally, the costume itself scared me and probably shaved about 10 years off my life), a princess (3 years in a row), Pocahontas, and a witch. I even went as roadkill one year. Now that was a fun costume. There may have been a vampire in there somewhere too…my obsession with the gothic was a bit much when I was a teen.

I have a friend in Brookings who designs his own costume every year. Two years ago, he was Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and boy, did he look just like him! And last year…Iron Man. Sweet…Should his creativity be taken away? No!

Halloween was a day to celebrate my imagination. I looked forward to concocting my own outfit from things around the home. We didn’t have the money to purchase a new costume every year. Why not be creative?

Rearick also argues that with the coming of Christ, came a “great light that reclaimed not only individuals but also the holidays they celebrated.” He goes on to use quotes from C.S. Lewis (one of my all-time faves) and Thomas More, stating that Satan hates to be mocked.

He also points to what I mentioned in my post about yoga, if the person redeemed has been saved from the occult, then they shouldn’t have to celebrate Halloween. Just like in Corinthians, when Paul clarifies the eating of meat offered to idols…you may recall.

Christians should instead celebrate Halloween with humor. If we have a good time at Satan’s expense, he flees.

Rearick closes with the following, and I agree with him: “If we give up All Hallows Eve, we lose the delight of God’s gift of imagination and we condemn the rest of society to a darker Halloween because our laughter will not be there to make the devil run.”

What are your thoughts on All Hallow’s Eve?

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