Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Devil’s Night!

Halloween is an ambiguous event in our home. We haven’t really trick or treated with our kids. In fact, my husband has never trick or treated at all, ever, in his whole life. His family and upbringing, although not much more conservative then mine, was deadset against Halloween (pardon the unintentional pun:). They went out every Halloween night to go swimming and to Pizza Hut. However as a child I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating Halloween. My siblings and I loved drawing and cutting out pumpkins and white ghosts to pin on our windows in the weeks before Halloween. It was simple then. None of this over-decorating, orange Christmas lights stuff. I enjoyed the trick or treating but the part I remember as the most fun was creating a costume and getting all done up for the night. I don’t actually ever remember having a store-bought costume. We created our own with maybe some Halloween make-up and spray-in hair dye as a treat. My brother and our neighbour once went as a garbage man and garbage bag; my brother wrapped up in a black bag and our friend in raggedy, dirty clothes. How simple and hilarious is that?

As an adult, even before meeting my husband, I began to question my inclination towards Halloween. Should I as a Christian, dedicated to glorifying God, participate in an event that is so obviously glorifying “the dark side”? I know some of the history surrounding Halloween pertains to early Christians but before that it revolved around the pagan tradition of trying to ward off evil spirits and the dead that were to be roaming the earth in the last few days of October. Other pagan traditions will state that there was no fear of these spirits but that it was a time to honor and communicate with dead loved ones. Whatever the case, when Christianity came to the Celts, it sought to eliminate this obsession with the dead, and finding it hard to stamp out all pagan traditions, incorporated it as a time to recognize saints who had passed, without idolizin or fearing them.

But as we all know, both the pagan and Christian traditions of honoring our loved ones are long gone in general society. Every year there are more homes decorated with dark and gruesome images inciting both fear, and glorification of everything deathly, evil, and hellish. But it’s all in good fun, right? Well, that is the question that I am still ambiguous about. I don’t watch movies or TV shows that give any credence to outright satanic or occult practices, but I still don’t mind sitting through a scattered vampire movie (The Twilight series excluded, I refuse to jump on that bandwagon) or the latest werewolf rendition. Are the witches and vampires, ghosts and zombies of Halloween simply scary fairytales or is it a guise for a night that is offered up solely to glorify Satan and his evil ways? Pagans will note that Christianity has simply added their own holidays to ancient pagan feasts generally occurring around the solstices. Christmas? Maybe so as there is no real mention of Jesus’ birthdate in the Bible, but Easter is after Passover so that happens to follow Jewish feasts. There are arguments that modern Easter traditions are steeped in ancient pagan ones (i. e. rabbits symbolizing fertility, etc.) but that’s a whole other blog. Back to Halloween, it is quite obvious that it no longer has any ties to Christianity and is there any real reason to celebrate it, particularly, the dark, devilish side of it?

I mentioned earlier that we haven’t “really” trick or treated with our kids. By “really” I mean that we haven’t done the door to door thing. We do dress up every year and attend our church’s Light the Night party and sometimes before we go, we might visit our neighbors and friends, but we don’t make a big deal out of it. The Light the Night party is always lots of fun for the kids and adults where everyone dresses up in non-scary costumes, plays games, watches the latest Veggietales movie and goes home with a bag of treats. It’s sorta celebrating Halloween, but with a lighter twist on it. One thing I’ve noticed about Light the Night that differs from typical Halloween celebrations is that it seems when kids outgrow the superhero and princess costume stage they turn to the witches, devils, and zombies costumes. (I keep starting to spell customs instead of costumes, it’s so annoying :). Whereas at church it seems like there are more creative ideas like tonight’s Anne of Green Gables by a little girl from our church who has long beautiful auburn, not red, auburn hair, porcelain skin, and the slightest sprinkle of freckles across her cheeks. Her mom didn’t have to do much dressing up at all, just a period dress, straw hat and braids. It was so cute. There was also a Dorothy from Wizard of Oz and a little guy dressed as a French (or Italian) chef. Maybe I’m biased but I didn’t see any of those kinds of cust… there I go, I did it again… costumes at my son’s cub scouts Halloween party. I’m not too biased to admit that it could just be the specification for non-scary costumes at Light the Night and not the parents’ conscious decision to dress their kids in less otherworldly get up, but whatever the motivation it makes for an interesting and lovely group of costumed kids.

I guess the real reason this is on my mind tonight is because for the first time my husband decided we should take the kids trick or treating. I was actually feeling a little guilty all week for even celebrating Light the Night on a Sunday and didn’t know how I felt about trick or treating. I do have somewhat of a respectful obligation to my in-laws who would be hurt if we participated so openly in Halloween but as I’ve said, I also still have my own confusion regarding the matter. I just read a Bible verse from Romans that says “I want you to wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil” (16:19). That’s exactly what I want for my children. My husband just kinda wants to have the experience-more for himself than the kids hahaha. As it turns out, he had to work a night shift at 6pm and we didn’t get home until 5:30pm (we had an early Light the Night this year to accommodate church services), so we didn’t go trick or treating. Next year? Who knows? I have a whole 365 days to think and pray about it, and other ways I should flee even the appearance of evil in my life (1 Thess. 5:22).


  1. I think Halloween is no longer about evil as it was thought to be many many years ago, society has comericalized it the same way they have with every other holiday. To me, halloween is a kids day to have fun and to be someone or something they choose. I noticed that it brings out good in the community. As i watched my kids go door to door, I could here them remember their please and thank yous,(that are often forgotten) and the home owners would ooh and aww over the costumes and get enjoyment in seeing streets filled with kids. And the whole craziness over it falling on sunday is just that, CRAZY! Do we not shop, work and do other things that are not typlicaly acceptable on sunday??? anyway, that is my take on the whole halloween thing!

  2. Thanks for your honest approach to Halloween. I don't think most Christians are as honest (or aware) of their true thoughts about the subject. What motivates to participate or abstain? I think you have a good handle on a lot of those issues, even if there are no clear-cut answers.

  3. Those are good points about fostering community that I hadn't really considered. It would just be nice if that could be done without so much emphasis on the "underworld". As for the Sunday thing, in recent months it's been on my heart to honor God's plan for rest (and for me, worship) on one day a week. I've tried to avoid chores, shopping etc. Not because it was something I was told to do in a conservative upbringing but because that's what God's word tells me. So to celebrate a holiday that in general is not God-honoring, on the day we've (I've) designated to Him just didn't seem right. Do note that I did and was beat to a snot last night and had a huge headache having been out and about for 6 hours yesterday. Not quite a day of rest!!!

  4. My Facebook comments:
    C: good blog!
    C: Love the blog. Understand your confusion as I think I fell somewhere in-between you both growing up. I love the church parties as it is a great alternative, but I didn't want [our son] to feel left out as this year he was asking a lot about it. So we just let him go to a couple of neighbors houses. I'm still in limbo about my feelings on the matter and tend to swing to both extremes. As for next year, the jury is still out.
    R: Interesting as always Charley. I believe it's what you make are a wonderful Mother and Christian and your children are just darling...halloween for us is all in good long as you recognize the potential hazards Spiritually, and protect your children, which you have, I think it will be fine. Listen to me.....talking like I know something you

  5. I don't think there's an easy answer to the question: is Halloween good or evil? I agree, that as Christians we should refrain from "celebrating" or participating in the evil of Halloween, however I don't necessarily see a problem with its innocent aspects. As Christians, I think there is something to say about leaving our lights on on Halloween, meeting children at the door, admiring the "non-scary" costumes and showing our genoristy.

    Last night I accompained some friends as they took their two little ones around dressed as batman and spiderman. The vast majority of people who answered their doors, did so with smiles on their faces and kind words, sometimes inviting the kids into their homes to check out their costumes. There is a sense of community that the door-to-door tradition builds, which I see as one of the redeeming aspects of the holiday. Of course, there were also those homes that I just sensed we should stay away from. As Christians, I think we're given this discernment, and we're wise to be careful.See More

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  7. That's certainly a positive side of trick or treating for sure Hil.

  8. hey Charley
    we don't 'do' Halloween either. I did as a kid. I think my husband did. And the kids wear costumes year round in their spare time, but not on that particular day. They're thrilled to pass out candy at the door and meet people in the neighborhood - but that's usually it, unless my husband is in town and wants to take them to a fall festival of some sort. It's not a big deal in our house - we just explain to the kids that it's not something we do in our family, but that many of their friends do - and that is ALSO absolutely fine and no big deal.
    I was talking to a friend about this years ago and she pointed out that EVERY day is the day the Lord has made.
    (I appreciate your thoughtfulness on the subject!)

  9. my dad died 30th oct devils night at 1130 with a painful cancer he died at the age of 66 yrs 6mts and 6 days what does this mean is it a sign can any 1 help iam freeked out

  10. I think it is a huge and understandably scary coincidence that your dad died in that way. I'm sorry for your loss. I don't think it is a sign for anything. The number 666 is derived from a number that will somehow symbolize or add up to the name of the Anti-Christ in the Last Days and have nothing to do with you or your dad. You don't seem to have anything negative to say about your dad other than the age that he died, so cherish the good moments with him and forget about the weird coincidence :).


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