Monday, October 11, 2010

The War On Halloween

I was recently reminded that a sizeable contingent of American Christianity thinks of Halloween as, well, Satanic. Not just something that isn't for them, but something to actively avoid; something to warn people against. Okay, so it's not exactly Kevin McCarthy screaming in traffic, but... well, take a look:

This weird obsession with halloween being evil – which seems to have become more and more prominent over the course of my life – upsets me greatly. For one thing, it’s my favorite holiday. We made our own costumes, so they were always unique, and there was a strong arts-and-crafts/family-activities vibe to October. For another thing, it’s easily the most imaginative of the holidays: the one time a year when you can dress yourself as almost anything you like. Mainly, though, Halloween strikes me as far less pernicious and potentially damaging than, say, Christmas – you know, the day when we celebrate the birth of Our Lord And Savior, the man who told us to give all our possessions to the poor, by buying each other as many new possessions as we can afford?

There’s a strong element of magical thinking in the opposition to Halloween – the idea that by, say, dressing up as a witch or a Power Ranger, you make your soul vulnerable to demonic influences. I mean, by that logic, dressing up as a banker should make me rich, and dressing up as a minister should actually make me holier. Or maybe it’s the candy that’s supposed to let the evil in? I'm sure there's a verse to support that. Ah, yes, here it is: "The love of processed sugars is the root of all evil."

For people who are supposed to draw comfort and peace from their religion, a surprising number of Christians seem to go out of their way to find things to be afraid of. I'm not a believer myself, but this looks to me like a sign of extremely weak faith - or maybe it's just the Human need to create drama, out of thin air if necessary.

More than that, though, the opposition to Halloween strikes me as a profound misunderstanding of the nature of evil. It casts evil in the role of scary outside influences: The Things That Are Trying To Get Us, rather than The Temptations We Carry Within Us. Evil is presented as an external, something to be opposed and faced down, rather than an internal, something we should struggle to avoid being or doing. On top of that, it puts the emphasis firmly on surface appearances (that magical thinking, again) so that the appearance of evil is evil, while the actual nature of one's actions are never even considered.

The measure of evil isn't in how you dress, folks. It's in our actions, and their results and consequences, intended and unintended alike.


  1. Oh, wow... lets we forget in the Old Testament Bible, animal sacrifice was a shockingly regular thing.

  2. OH... a minute more into this lady's paranoid babbling and she starts going on about /pagan/ festivals.

    Yyyeah, because yule logs, christmas trees, easter eggs, et al; even the dates of such festivals are all very much so borrowed from pagan rituals.

    Oh, and I believe the Catholic Church (though, according to some fundamentalists, we're really devil worshipers)has a couple of feast days that coincide with Halloween: All Saints Day and All Hallows Eve (OK, so All Hallows Eve is actually Halloween..) Yeah, a day of remembrance for the dead. Uh, there you go the whole festival of the dead thing, done by Christians. Go figure.

    This lady is so full of it that it is simultaneously humorous and sad to watch her prattle on about the evils of Halloween.

    Thanks for your post. I needed a good laugh ;)

  3. Hey, thanks for responding. I feel a little weird posting about religion, in general, since I'm not a believer myself (and mostly I'm not threatened by religion); but I see things like this and I get all "Hey, leave my holiday alone!"

  4. Jeremiah 10:2-4 (New International Version)
    2 This is what the LORD says:
    "Do not learn the ways of the nations
    or be terrified by signs in the sky,
    though the nations are terrified by them.

    3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
    they cut a tree out of the forest,
    and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.

    4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
    they fasten it with hammer and nails
    so it will not totter.

    Qoute this verse the next time someone says Halloween is evil

  5. Heh. Yeah, that would probably do it... with the added bonus of watching their head asplode. {g}


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