Halloween… or not!

October 31st… Halloween… ghosts, goblins, skeletons, “trick or treat”, ugly, bloody, basically anything gross!  I just had to take this opportunity to voice what I know many believe… that Halloween is NOT a day/night to be celebrated.  And why not?

Firstly, do you know what “halloween” actually means? According to Wikipedia it is “Hallowed evening” or “Holy evening” – “a day dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.” . Now, that to me is not such a bad thing but what has society, the media, commercialism turned the day into? “Faithful departed believers” do not become ghosts and ghouls!

Secondly, “trick or treating”…. where does this come from? Another version of Halloween stems from the belief that supernatural beings, or the souls of the dead, roamed the earth at this time and needed to be appeased. This custom has “evolved” over time to the present day where if one does not hand out a “treat” on opening the door to a stranger, as likely as not, a trick will be played on the door-opener. Is it really okay to teach a child that it’s acceptable to go and knock on a stranger’s door and “demand” a gift?  And if that gift isn’t forthcoming then it’s acceptable to play a trick on that stranger?  I recall one Halloween evening a few years ago when I declined to give a “gift” (in fact, I think I just didn’t open the door) and had a raw egg smashed against the side of my house…. did that encourage me to give a gift to the next caller?  I think not! My concern was what the egg-thrower had been taught was acceptable in today’s society.

Thirdly, how much money is spent on Halloween advertising and products?  I know we live in a material world and we’re “entitled” to some fun and enjoyment… but for something as hollow and disposable as another mask or costume or, …I actually don’t know what is sold under the halloween guise? Surely there are folk in all our communities, wherever in the world we live, that could do with a helping hand financially rather than further lining the pockets of major commercial companies!

Fourthly, I am appalled by the number of Christian schools and churches (in America anyway) that foster the “Halloween spirit.” In New Zealand, Christian Schools and churches, that I am aware of, thankfully, don’t.  In fact, many churches put on “Light Parties” for children as an alternative where “things bright and beautiful” are celebrated rather than things “dark and ugly”. We see enough of the sad, destructive, evil influences in this world on television news every night… does this need to be added to and encouraged?

And now I have got that off my chest I will go and spread some joy on a gloomy day ….

“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. “