Halloween … Trick or Treat … or what?
In recent years, some Christians have expressed concerns about Halloween and possible connections to Satanism, etc..
Halloween has been around a long time in European culture and then to America.
The actual term comes from All Hallows’ Day or All Saints Day. The word “hallow” is used in the LORD's prayer, “hallowed be thy name” – or holy is your name.
Actual origins are not entirely clear … but it likely predates the Christianizing of Europe. Perhaps a Celtic festival of some sort, but having nothing to do with Satanic practices. In both pre-Christian and Christian Europe, dressing up was an attempt to scare away evil spirits, mostly in good fun – sort of catching them in their own game!
In America, Halloween was largely a night of pranks – tipping over outhouses, etc.. But in mid-20th century, costuming and begging for treats became the predominant practice.
Dressing up and going through the neighborhood begging for sweets is now a childhood ritual that’s perfectly harmless. Christians needn’t be afraid of such things.
Parents might monitor the costumes for the blood and gore effect, age-appropriate and just plain appropriate – there are plenty of costumes available for all ages that are fun and entertaining, even scary.
I think it’s a good idea for parents to accompany their children – make this a fun family night. Go out with the children, meet your neighbors, and invite grandparents or friends over for pumpkin pie or ice cream treats. Children quickly outgrow Halloween, but until they do, we can all have fun with them.
There are no monsters under the bed and no ghouls hiding in the closet.
The real monsters are poverty, war and environmental degradation.
By loving our children, and giving them a sense of confidence, we prepare them for adulthood where they will have to face difficult choices and serious challenges.
Until then, a part of successful growing-up is having fun, participating in holidays and other such national pastimes and learning to enjoy life.
As in all things, moderation … lots of parental involvement … and a home filled with love.
A child who goes to bed at night knowing they are loved will acquire the skills needed for life and the courage to face life’s challenges.
Until then, Boo!
~ Pastor Tom Eggebeen, October, 2007