Christian speaker Reverend J.John questions what Halloween stands for & believes it is getting “darker and nastier” each year.
Six reasons why I believe Halloween is far from harmless by J. John.
Halloween has become one of the biggest events in the British calendar.
There have always been traditions associated with 31st October, but the present extravaganza, with its epidemic of ‘trick-or-treating’, is a recent phenomenon.
A decade ago, spending on Halloween in the UK was only £12m; now, boosted by Hollywood & marketing, it is £300m.
Financially, Halloween is now, after Christmas and Easter, our third highest grossing celebration.
Yet Halloween has seized this position without any serious consideration of what it stands for and whether or not we even want it.
When people talk about what happens on 31st October a little phrase commonly heard is that Halloween is ‘harmless nonsense’. But is it indeed harmless? Is it merely nonsense? It’s time to do some hard thinking.
Let me give you six reasons why Halloween is not harmless :
1. HALLOWEEN CELEBRATES EVIL
Although people celebrate Halloween in different ways it remains, at its core, an event that glorifies the dark, creepy and scary side of life.
Children and adults dress up as figures that are ‘evil’: witches, vampires, ghosts and demons.
If you want to be different you can hire costumes to make you look like a chainsaw killer, a psychopathic butcher or even a shooting victim (‘with authentic-looking bullet holes’).This is hardly harmless.
Whatever view we have about life, we all take it for granted that our society should spend time and energy encouraging children to care for others and to know the difference between right and wrong.
Yet on this one day, we throw all those values away and glorify everything that is evil and unpleasant. Talk about sending out mixed messages!
2. HALLOWEEN IS UNHELPFUL
We live in a world where every parent and teacher takes care to warn children that strangers may pose a threat and that they need to take precautions. Yet at Halloween we discard that rule and encourage children to go and knock on doors and accept sweets from strangers. Another mixed message!
3. HALLOWEEN TRIVIALISES BAD THINGS
No one is in doubt that evil is serious and that muggings, stabbings and serious accidents are horrendous. Yet, again, Halloween breaks the rules. On this day we pretend that death, deformity and injury are no more than kids’ play!
4. HALLOWEEN IS OFFENSIVE
You could simply say that scaring kids is unhelpful, but there is a more subtle and troubling issue. Halloween costumes frequently centre on deformities, gory wounds and disfigurement. There are a number of websites that tell you how to create an effective disfigurement; for example, how to create realistic-looking burns and how to make yourself hideously ugly. Now consider how you would feel about that if you yourself were a burns victim, were severely disabled or had suffered horrendous scarring. Do we really want to spread the message that ugliness equates to evil?
5. HALLOWEEN IS GETTING WORSE
Concerns about Halloween do not simply come from those of us with a ‘religious agenda’. Increasingly, other people are expressing concern, particularly about the way that Halloween seems to be getting darker and nastier every year. Carved pumpkins were, I suppose, pretty harmless; the new blood- stained axe murderers are not. If we don’t like the direction that Halloween is going in, then maybe it’s time to stop celebrating it.
6. HALLOWEEN ALLOWS EVIL A VICTORY
In some older Halloween traditions people dressed up in clothes that made them look evil and then, at the end of the evening, the outfits were burnt. The message was clear if naive: in the end, good triumphs over evil. Yet there is no hint of that in the modern Halloween. Now, evil is unchallenged and just slips away into the darkness, to return at some other time. That’s not the message our world needs today.
J.John (Revd Canon) is a Christian speaker and writer. He is director of The Philo Trust, a registered charity committed to communicating the relevance of the Christian faith.
To see the online article, click here!