Many Christians feel that Halloween is a bad thing that we need to stand against. However, I feel that in the way that Christians of old took Easter and Christmas from the pagans and made the festivals relevant the faith we should do the same to Halloween. Here is how:
1) Trick or treating is an excellent way to go and visit your neighbours with no actual reasons. It is a way to learn names, to start conversations and build friendships. How about next year delivering small treats to the houses you go to visit? Even homes which don’t answer you could have a little ‘treat’ card posted through their door.
2) I worked with a young child who was terrified that her house would fall down when she was sleeping. I worked with another who couldn’t sleep because they were scared of people breaking into their house. Often, the children I work with are scared of things with are statistically unlikely to occur. They are not terrified of family members or known and trusted adults, however, for most of the children in this country the things that will cause them the most harm are the things or the people they know: Their parents, the council sanctioned taxi drivers, the caretakers at their school.
We often teach children to be scared of things that they don’t need to be scared of. Halloween, however, takes all the monsters and vampires, the witches and ghosts and, just like the ending of Scooby Doo, reveals them to be nothing real, reveals them to be fakes, reveals them as things that aren’t scary. Just like Scooby Doo, the thing to be scared of is someone already known.
3) Halloween is the dark before the light of Christmas. It represents the reason why Jesus needed to be the ‘light of the world’. Often, people say they don’t need the salvation offered, they don’t need to be saved because they are fine. How can be recognise the light if they don’t see the dark?
Halloween parties could be used as pre-Christmas events. Embrace Halloween and use it to advertise the Christmas events.
4) Dressing up is fun. However, costumes are becoming more expensive. This puts pressure on families who are struggling financially. Send out costume ‘kits’ – newspaper, masking tape, paper plates etc and invite families to a party where the most creative costumes made from the same basic materials win prices – allowing families who cannot afford to normally get involved to get involved.
I’m pretty sure there are other things – things around befriending older people who may be scared of unknown people knocking on their door when they are alone – but I feel that sitting around and saying how terrible the world is, how everything is going to hell in a hand basket is counter productive. Instead of being fun-suckers, lets be the trend starters.