Monday, October 31, 2011

Why Halloween Makes Me Sad


I've seen lots of reactions to Halloween around the web this week, from dismay over its glorification of things best not glorified to those who see it as just a harmless day of dress-up and fun for the kids. I have my own ambivalence over Halloween because I see people using it as a day of fun and trying to reclaim it from any pagan roots it may have once had. Amber at The Deeper Story very eloquently describes a personal ambivalence very similar to my own and her piece got me thinking. I would like to believe that even something with a history like Halloween can be redeemed, but there is a darkness beneath the surface that makes me very uneasy. For that reason, I do not celebrate Halloween. I do not want to give to the darkness.

So, why does it make me sad? I see families going all out for Halloween, decorating their homes and costuming their children. In my town, there is now a city festival for Halloween complete with games and treats for all who come. That's right. As a community, they are celebrating the witches, ghosts and goblins of Halloween and making it all seem very cute.

Can you imagine what would happen if we tried to make a big town festival of Christmas or Easter? Not the Santa Clausy, commercialized vision of Christmas, but the real deal. People would be clutching their pearls and telling the world how deeply offended they were that someone would dare celebrate the birth of Christ. We've come to a place where we treat the sacred events worth celebrating as though they were shameful secrets to be hidden behind closed doors while we take to the streets to dance with joy for costumed witches and ghosts. Call me a killjoy, but I have to admit that this makes me sad.

10 comments:

  1. Amen, Amy. We're not even allowed to put Nativity scenes on public property anymore. But it's ok to display every form of darkness known to mankind in Walmart...all in then name of "fun". How sad.
    Thanks for this post.
    Blessings,
    Lisa

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  2. arguably the "santa clausy" version of christmas or the "bunnies and eggs" version of easter is akin to the "adorable ghosts and witches" of halloween. there's a considerable amount of scary stuff, but there's also a considerable amount of christian stuff during the other two holidays.

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  3. @wifey - I see your point, but with the watered down versions of the other two holidays, if we bring the Christian side of those holidays into, say, a town festival or even just saying, "Merry Christmas" in public, it draws censure. Meanwhile, bringing the non-"cute little kids", darker side of Halloween out into the public square seems to be much more tolerated now. And as someone who does not think the scary stuff should be celebrated, I find that sad.

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  4. You are not the only one who feels an ambivalence towards Halloween. I don't feel very comfortable about it either. There are a few houses next to mine in my neighborhood that have extensive Halloween decorations in their yard (e.g., cobwebs, ghosts, etc.), and I have to admit that it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.

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  5. I personally do not mind kids dressing up and trick or treating, but I had to laugh this weekend....Normally, the weekend before Halloween is spent by many people in my area doing scary things, watching scary movies, etc...Then God gave us a snowstorm. People spent the day inside with family and friends, making hot chocolate, listening to Christmas music, and watching Christmas movies INSTEAD of glorifying Halloween. It was like God reclaimed the evil for Himself...I love it! :) Just like HIM!

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  6. Amy, I get very worried when I see Christians celebrating Halloween. Completely agree with you on this. So far it isn't really celebrated in Australia but we do like to do "all things American" so I'm sure if will grow in populatoriy here to. I noticed our stores were full of Halloween party goods. Some of which I find very creepy indeed.

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  7. Thank you for a very pertinent post! Fortunately here in South Africa, Halloween has never been acknowledged. Over the last few years, a couple of retailers such as Woolworths, have made an attempt at stocking up on candy and so on for Halloween, but few children that I know celebrate it. I find it very disturbing that people who love Christ would celebrate this day. At the heart of it, there is certainly nothing good or pure about Halloween? Whilst we need to guard against seeing evil behind every bush, we certainly have to be discerning about those things that the world celebrates. Just as tiny seeds can be planted for good...so they can be planted for evil.

    Blessings,

    Liezel

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  8. good Amy...for me its the horror movies they start showing. last week was hard for me. i like to watch tv as one of my ways to destress with the pressures of grad school, but i didnt because all that was on horror...well i call them demonic movies. and the halloween parties that Christians even participate in is sad. Christmas too is not celebrated well...

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  9. Wow, this is the best post I've read about Halloween this year, and so true.

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  10. I totally understand where you are coming from. I have wrestled back and forth whether or not to participate in Halloween activities. I still enjoy giving out candy to the trick-or-treaters and I think its a great way to be neighborly and meet new people. I do have to say though, that the costumes seem to get worse every year.

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