Halloween Wrap Up
All that remains is to say “So what. What does it mean for me?”
It means different things for different people, of course, so I will be answering the question for myself.
Commercialization Run Wild
First, I object to the commercialization of the holiday. I can’t understand how the retail marketplace has succeeded in making it the second most lucrative holiday to Christmas (and Christmas is surely over commercialized, too). As a boy, I was very content to have a half mask that only covered my eyes and nose and a paper grocery bag to receive treats from neighbors. The major tricks in those days were drawing innocent chalk pictures on peoples’ sidewalks and putting a handful of flour into a stocking and hitting each other with them to leave white marks on our clothes.
Second, I am troubled at how the intensity and violence of expression have increased over the past few decades. For my generation, the participation in trick-or-treating generally tapered off at 10 – 12 years of age and relatively little was made of Halloween by the older age groups. There was never any mention of any religious meaning to Halloween in my personal experience or in the news media of those days either. More recently, there has been a trend toward partying and dancing by adolescents and even in all-adult settings. Unfortunately, some of these events have turned into drugs and/or alcohol parties, some into sexual encounters and some have turned violent, even fatal. The incidence of these behaviors still seems to be on the increase.
Hijacked by Adults
As I now look at my own Halloween experiences and compare them with the current ones I am grieved. What was a fun experience for smaller children has been hijacked for older youths and adults as well as the retailers.
Spiritual Dimension Lost
Also, as I learn of the roots of Halloween where centuries ago people were trying to find physical protection from famine or cold and spiritual safety from their concept of evil spirits, I am sad that there is no longer much of a spiritual dimension to Halloween (All Hallows Eve). The same can be said about Christmas where we now see Christians beginning to raise the cry “Put Christ back into Christmas”.
Let’s Fight Back!
Lest I seem incurably pessimistic, I have to tell you that the church I attend celebrates a Harvest Family Festival at the church designed as an evening of family fun with games, liberal amounts of the candies usually obtained by trick-or-treating and some form of recognition (video, or spoken teaching) of the Christian roots of All Hallows Eve and the following All Saints Day. Regular church attenders are encouraged to invite unchurched neighbors and friends for this free evening, hoping to introduce them to a family friendly informal Christian church experience that will encourage them to bring their families back.
So, in the end, I guess Halloween is what you choose to make of it. I just hope knowing its history helps you make better choices in your Halloween celebrations.
Help me share the history of Halloween.
Please use the Share Buttons and/or email the blog post link below directly to your friends.
I appreciate it.
Halloween Post Series Links
And finally, please leave a Comment below.
Your feedback is valuable and its easy.