We don’t do Halloween around our house. My children have never gone trick-or-treating and never been allowed to participate in Halloween festivities and, believe it or not, I don’t think they’ve suffered any long lasting ill effects as a result. We’ve been careful to explain the reasons why from the time they were very young and our children really don’t seem to think they’re missing out on very much.
A lot of well-meaning Christians resort to Halloween history lessons in their efforts to dissuade others from participating in the holiday. Certainly Halloween has pagan roots, though, in careful study, it appears it may have been just as influenced by pseudo-Christianity as by paganism.
Personally, I don’t have to look back to the origin of Halloween to decide I don’t like it and don’t want to participate in it. For me, Halloween past is virtually irrelevant. I make my judgment about Halloween based on its present, the here and now, and I can tell you I hate it because…
1. Halloween glorifies death and evil.
That’s creepy enough, really, the way so many seem to actually take pleasure in death this time of year. But it’s not just death–it’s often gory, grisly, awful death! And violence. And murder.
Now I realize that most parents are dressing their children as princesses and bumble bees and pea pods, not zombies and dismembered-bodies, but in modern times Halloween has become far more about adults than children anyway. And often for adults, the more vile and disgusting the Halloween costume, the better! Zombies and vampires are all the rage. Prostitute or would-be prostitute costumes, whether in nurse or sailor or medieval princess form, are popular for the ladies, and I’ve run across more get-ups with very suggestive themes than I care to recall.
If Halloween was ever really a holiday for kids, which is questionable to begin with, it was hijacked by adults long ago and what they’ve left behind is hardly suitable for children. Which leads me to the second reason I hate Halloween…
2. I can’t shield my kids from Halloween’s awful images.
I talked about costumes a moment ago, but I didn’t even touch on Halloween decorating! If anything makes me hate Halloween, it’s all the awful things I can’t keep my children from seeing.
I drive down our street and see orange string lights and Jack-o-lanterns, which seem fairly harmless and sometimes almost pretty, but then next door to them will be dead bodies hanging from trees or severed body parts lying across a lawn. It’s like being forced to look through crime scene photos and it makes me crazy that my children have to look at it, too.
A few weeks ago I made a quick run into a party supply store and when I didn’t find what I was looking for, I inadvertently made my exit up the Halloween aisle. There I saw the most horrid and disturbing Halloween decoration I have ever seen. I won’t even try to describe it for you here because I’d rather forget it, but I THANK GOD my children were not with me at that moment. Though certainly that was the worst thing I’d ever seen, (bad enough I should have complained to the manager and I regret now that I didn’t,) my kids are exposed to similar garbage in virtually every store I visit from August to the first of November.
If I wanted my children seeing trash like that, I would be renting slasher films for them to enjoy in their free time. But of course that would make me a bad parent. Sadly, outside of keeping my children blindfolded in public for six weeks or more, I can’t protect them from sights like that.
Oh, and incidentally, I believe these awful decorations are the biggest reason my kids have no problem abstaining from Halloween. They’re as bothered by zombies and blood and evil images as I am. To them, THAT is what Halloween is all about.
But I also hate this holiday because…
3. Halloween detracts from the incredible beauty of the season.
Is the wonder of God’s creation any more evident than in autumn? Fall literally takes my breath away at times–rusty reds and brilliant golds and magnificent shades of orange and purple–all blended together in these remarkable smatterings of deep, rich natural color. How do you take that all in and really convince yourself it happened by accident, that there was no Designer at work in such perfection?
Sometimes it seems Halloween was just a clever scheme of Satan, all of it aimed at distracting from a season that shouts out the truth of creation like few things can. If that was his plan, I’m afraid it’s worked very well for him. The world seems more consumed with the commercialization of death than with this beautiful gift of summer’s end and harvest.
And even those of us determined to ignore Halloween as much as possible can sometimes struggle to look past the ugliness of it to fully enjoy the season. After all, it’s a little hard to relish the beauty of a flaming orange sugar maple when there are effigies hanging from it.