Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

My wife recently shopped at Hobby Lobby, and she asked the salesperson where the Halloween items were located. The shocked response was: “Oh No! We do not carry those!” We should have known. Hobby Lobby is owned by conservative Christians. They do not believe in promoting "pagan" holidays.

We recently had relatives visit us for the weekend. Again my wife asked if they were going to give out candy for Halloween. The answer was, “Oh no! We do not celebrate Halloween. That is Wicca!” Once again, we should have known. They belong to a conservative church that believes that demons are real and the earth is only 6000 years old.

As a Christian I have no problem celebrating Halloween. After all it is a Christian holiday. It is the night before All Saints Day (All Hallows Day) on November 1. It is a time to remember those we have lost to death. In worship we read the names of members of the congregation who have died during the past year. It is a healing time.

It is a time to celebrate eternal life. We usually sing one of my favorite hymns in church: “For All the Saints.” Sure, the date of Halloween has been adopted from the Celtic Samhain. That is not a deal-breaker. After all, the date for Christmas was adopted from the Roman Saturnalia. That doesn’t stop us from celebrating Christmas Eve, and I don’t see Hobby Lobby refusing to sell Christmas items.

So what if Wiccans celebrate Halloween? So what if the holiday has pre-Christian origins? That just shows that religions draw upon a common spiritual heritage and borrow from one another. That is also evident in the ubiquity of Flood myths in the world’s religions, not to mention virgin births, as well as dying and rising deities. Should we stop celebrating Easter because the name comes the pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon deity, Eostre, the goddess of the dawn, who was celebrated at beginning of spring?

I like Halloween. It is a holiday that brings our subconscious fears into the open so we can play with them, poke fun at them, and laugh at them. It is a way of acknowledging the fear of death. We all die. Living in our death-denying American culture, it is healthy to be reminded of that fact. That is the reason for all those skeletons and tombstones. That is our fate, whether we admit it or not. “Alas, poor Yorick!”

I suspect the real reason many Christians reject Halloween is because they have not come to terms with their fear of death, in spite of worshipping a resurrected Savior. That fear is the unspoken source of the belief in the Rapture. It is a way conservative Christians hope to bypass death and get a pain-free trip to heaven.

Fear of death is why so many Christians cling to every possible minute of earthly life as tightly as any unbeliever. If Christians really yearned for heaven as much as they claim, they would be eager to get there – not trying to postpone paradise by every medical intervention available – usually accompanied with extended pain and exorbitant cost. 

So I celebrate Halloween as a Christian. We will be decorating our house and giving out goodies to youngsters at our house on Halloween. Our adult children will be bringing our grandchildren around their neighborhoods to trick-or-treat. I don’t do costumes, but I enjoy seeing the creativity of our neighbors’ costumes – both children and adults. So let me be the first to wish you a Happy Halloween and a holy and meaningful All Saints Day. 


Unknown said...

I grew up in England without Halloween. When I first arrived in NYC I had no idea what trick or treating is. Later on I had children , stepchildren and foster children and learned to like it somewhat. I was never happy about the ghoulish aspect of this occasion. I stay away from fundamentals Christians as they take the joy out of everything.

Unknown said...

Thanks Marshall,
We have been in Guatamala & Peru (in Bali it's another date)during All Saints Day & have wished that we here,in the US, could adopt what they do in celebrating their lost ones whoare thought to come back to visit.
The families parade after dark, with lots of candles to the community burial place (beautiful to watch) with their visiting dead's favorite foods (delicious to taste). Lots of instruments play their favorite music (lovely & fun to hear)and sing and and dance all night with their neighbors and 'returned' loved ones.
Everyone looks forward to this meeting with their ghosts, young and old and in between in the circle of life and death.
Peggy Longley

Ann Cady said...

I have always enjoyed Halloween and even without children in the house, I dress up for activities. All Hallow's Eve a time to remember those who have crossed the vail and await us to join them. I see nothing "unChristian" about celebrating it. As mentioned, the word "Easter" comes from a Pagan goddess. Enjoy,remember, and don't eat too much candy.