For many people, Halloween is a tricky holiday.
Growing up, my mom and dad would help us get dressed up in Halloween costumes. One year I was a cowboy. Another year I went house to house as an astronaut. No matter what persona I took on, the pillowcase my mom let me borrow always got filled with lots of candy.
Some of my friends weren’t allowed to go trick-or-treating. All the witches and ghosts and skeletons seemed much too occultic to their parents. “Good Christian boys and girls shouldn’t participate in anything this unseemly” they declared.
Since October 31 happened to be the day when Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the church door in Wittenberg and started the Protestant Reformation, some families held “Reformation Day Parties” instead of Halloween parties. I’m not sure what happened there. We who were allowed to go door to door felt sorry for our friends not permitted to join us, and our non-costumed friends were more than a little bit jealous of us. Of course, they didn’t say that to their parents. Probably those parents secretly wondered if their hard line on this issue was necessary. Probably our easier-going parents wondered if the sterner parents were right after all.
This is an issue that families need to figure out for themselves. Personally, I think that the pagan roots of Halloween have withered and it’s now a largely non-toxic community event. Dressing as clowns and princesses and sports heroes doesn’t transform us into devil worshipers. But, I also feel that devils and witches and other such costumes are best avoided – the pagan roots are withered but they are not dead. When Jesus taught us to pray “Lead us not into temptation,” he also means for us to not put ourselves into situations where temptation happens. Putting on costumes of darkness tempts us wander from identifying with God’s light and spiritual wholeness.
One very nice way of enjoying the 31st is to be part of the “Halloween Harvest Food Drive.” Kids, teens, and families will meet at Bethel Church, get a route, and in their Halloween costumes collect food for the community Food Banks. The collectors get candy, and the Food Banks get their shelves stocked. It’s a win-win situation! For more information, call Joanne at Bethel Church (905) 689-7796.
Have fun! Stay safe! Happy Halloween! And may God bless you.