Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Celebrating Halloween

Let’s celebrate Halloween.
Col. 2:16 (ESV)
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. (Col. 2:16 (ESV)

Seems these days holidays are under attack. People seem to have a gripe about them all. I have heard people argue against Christmas as Christianized pagan celebration. I have heard the same about Easter. Last year I hear complaints that good Friday was celebrated a good month after the Jewish Passover. But no holiday seems to get as bad a rap as Halloween. The other holidays are tolerated. But Halloween, which once was actually a Christian holiday, has been handed over to the heathens, and hedonists. Somehow parading around in a batman costume and asking for candy is considered satanic by too many. It’s not, it possibly can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Much of it depends on how you celebrate it. Black Masses are satanic, dressing up like a pumpkin and trick or treating is just fun.
Last week I had the pleasure of carving a pumpkin for the first time with my son. It brought back memories I had growing up. I lived in quite a few places growing up: Alberta, Africa, Venice Beach, and Minnesota. Halloween wasn’t big in Africa. But We celebrated it every where else, even Venice Beach! It was a great time. My brother and I would dress up like Casper, or maybe one of the CHiPs, that show was big at the time. This was a day that the community got together to give the kids some fun. It was about the kids. Teenagers played pranks to be sure. Some adults would possibly have too much fun. But for us kids it was a time to go collect candy and have fun with friends, trying to guess who was who. Masters of disguise we were not. It was a time when people in a neighborhood would meet. Strangers would ring the doorbell of another stranger. It was fun.
I remember the first time I heard that I shouldn’t celebrate Halloween. I had just moved to California. I met a kid at the park and started talking. Halloween was coming up so I asked him what he was going as. He said he wasn’t celebrating Halloween, because it was a satanic holiday and he was Christian. Well I was Christian too, my dad was a pastor, and my family always celebrated Halloween. I couldn’t see how trick or treating was satanic. Maybe if I was holding a black mass on that night I could see his point. But that would be bad any day of the year. Ringing my neighbor’s doorbell and asking for candy, just doesn’t seem to me to be the same as pledging my soul to the dark armies. That is because it isn’t.
Its time we all woke up from our fears. The day makes no difference. It is what you do on that day. There is nothing wrong with a haunted house, or a parade of kids walking down the sidewalk and ringing your bell. I prefer that. I buy candy every year, very few come. Seems everyone is in the parking lot of the local ward. That’s fine. But some of us aren’t LDS. The thing is don’t worry that you are introducing your kids to Satanism if you let them have a little fun on that night. Go have fun yourself. If you find yourself at a black mass, leave. But don’t torture your kids in the name of Christ, by not allowing them to dress up like Captain Jack Sparrow, and ask his neighbor for some candy. That is just sadistic, if not satanic. Christ didn’t die on the cross for you to walk in fear of the devil. Christ didn’t forgive you all your sins so that you would be afraid to have fun. If Christ wanted us to feel guilty and weighed down by the law all the time, He would have spared Himself the cross. He died so you could live, so live, and take joy in the life he gave us. It’s O.K to have fun and even mock the devil. Paul tells us not to let people pass judgment on us concerning New Moons or Sabbaths, in short that means holidays (Holy Days). This goes for Halloween too. We are free to celebrate it if we want, and we don’t have to change its name either. It already has a Christian name. Here in America we celebrate Halloween, not Samain or whatever celtic satanic witches Sabbath supposedly preceded it. Quite frankly, I don’t care if one did or not. Halloween is just another way of saying All Hallows Eve, or the Eve of All Saints, a day us Christians take to thank God for all the saints he has blessed our lives with, past, present, and future. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, [celebrate Halloween or not] do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31 (ESV) And don’t judge others for celebrating a holiday they cherish, it is unchristian to do so.


Daniel said...

I was probably in one of the primary grades when I first experienced "Reverse Trick or Treating." The whole school was invited to come back to school and go out into the neighborhoods around the school, dressed in costumes if we wished. We were given bags of candy with Christian messages attached and encouraged to hand these out at the homes we visited. If they offered us treats we would just say, "No thanks. We're going back to our school for a party." It was fun to see the surprised look on the faces of the neighbors.

I suppose the whole experience helped people realize our school was a bit different and our understanding of Hallowe'en was also unusual. Our principal was Mr. Schlieske. Many years later he became my uncle-in-law. The school was St. John's Lutheran in Salt Lake City. I graduated there in 1957 and later spent 40 years as a Lutheran principal myself.

Dan Seim

Bror Erickson said...

Thanks for that, it is great to hear from the alumni from the schools in the area. Of course I am not at St. Johns, but the pastor there is top notch. We work together now on the board of Delegates to Salt Lake Lutheran High.