I Hate Halloween

halloween-jack-o-lanterns-650264-mHalloween has never been my favorite holiday. For one thing, it wasn’t a real holiday–I never got out of school, as a student or teacher, because of Halloween. For another, it meant disruption–going to strangers’ houses or having strangers come knocking at my door. Then, for those of us who put only a little last minute thought into a costume, there was the embarrassment of people saying, “And what are you supposed to be?”

Add to this the growing emphasis on horror and fear-inducing entertainment–things I do not like–and Halloween is less to my liking than ever.

Beyond my personal issues with the day, however, I’ve come to hate Halloween because of the attitudes of different Christians. Again this past week I heard on the radio a Christian pastor telling his listeners about his book exposing all the pagan roots of Halloween.

There’s plenty to expose, too, but of course, there are believers who argue that the true roots of the holiday lie in Christian tradition.

Others accept it for what it has become–a day to dress up, to pull spooky pranks, to have parties, to get or give candy. In other words, in the culture at large, it has no particular pagan or religious significance.

Several years ago, I did a three-day series on Halloween (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), but in the end I came to a different conclusion than what I’d intended when I started. Here’s the bulk of the final post of that series. I based much of the article on a comment asking shouldn’t we have some agreement within the body of Christ?

I think that might be the problem–we’re all coming at this hotbed topic from different points of view, and yet we’re expecting agreement.

We aren’t going to find agreement because our past experiences and our present influences–all of which differ from person to person–affect what we think.

Because of my childhood background, I thought the school I taught in, by banning all Halloween trappings and celebrations, was behaving a bit like Chicken Little crying that the sky was falling–until Charles Manson and his “family” who had gone on a killing spree shaved his head and said “I am the Devil.” Suddenly I got it. Paganism, in stark rebellion to God and His law, was in our culture.

The students I taught needed to know.

But what did they need to know? That carving a face in a pumpkin was sinful? That dressing up like a princess and going door to door for candy is sinful?

That having a party called a Harvest Festival is OK but having one and calling it a Halloween Party is sinful?

Too often I think we Christians, in our zeal for the truth, forget why we’re teaching what we teach to children, and why we believe what we believe.

Would any of us disagree that Satan is real, and he is to be resisted? I suspect evangelical Christians see eye to eye on this point.

Would any of us condone participation in Wiccan celebrations? I imagine we would uniformly say we would not.

At the core, I believe we would be united in those points because we believe in Jesus and do not want to give any quarter to the enemy of our souls.

But from that point on, our agreement splinters based on our experience. Which is why I believe grace needs to reign. Grace and our oneness in Christ.

Scripture is clear how we are to treat one another though it says nothing about carving pumpkins or bobbing for apples or, for that matter, pretending to ride a broom.

As I see it, Halloween is a great opportunity for Christians to witness to the world, not because we all should give out tracts that night but because we can stand up and say, I love my brother in Christ MORE than these other things. I will respect my brother’s decisions and not ridicule or judge or accuse. I will not insist he does things my way. And if necessary to keep from offending him, because he’s got a weakness in this area, I won’t do things my way either.

Now that‘s what I think we Christians should agree on.