Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Christians can celebrate Halloween

You will have seen two previous posts about Halloween; one being a prayer activity with pumpkin carving, the other being some Halloween related crafts which celebrate the animals of Halloween rather than the "dark side".

I believe that Christians can, and should, join in with Halloween celebrations.  We are called to be the light of Christ in the world and we can only do that by being in the world and meeting people where they are.

So yes we carve a pumpkin, but it is friendly rather than scary.  The carved pumpkin is a symbol of how we try to let the light of Christ flow from our eyes and mouths and hearts.  We usually give it crosses for ears as a sign of our faith and a witness that we listen to and follow Jesus.

Yes we happily open the door to trick or treaters and we met them with smiles and chat to them and give them sweets.  Anyone who goes out of their way to come to our door (we're at the bottom of a close that doesn't have many families) knows that I am a minister.  I see my happy welcome as a demonstration of my love for the community and the families I serve.  I am accessible.

And yes we dress up (although Rachel doesn't want to this year) and we focus on being cats, being the cat lovers we are; again this breaks down the preconceptions of how Christians can't join in with the fun of life.

Yesterday I knew our toddler group would want to join in with Halloween somehow and ignoring it was not going to be loving.  However I really won't have devil's and witches in the church, I'm clear about my lack of acceptance of the occult.  So instead I provided spiders and bats, cats and pumpkins, stars and moons.  I also drew a few ghosts, thinking it would allow us to talk about whether they think they're real, but no-one was interested in them - very interesting.

So many of my Christian friends will steer well clear of Halloween, they'll hide behind the curtains and not open the door to trick or treaters, they'll fear the evil of the night or they might open the door and give a lecture about how they don't agree with Halloween.  That's their own choice, but I'd much rather engage with people where they are.

What do you think?
Will you engage with Halloween this year?

As a post script, Crimperman offered me his very apt cartoon about Halloween, it seems there are lots of us thinking about how Christians interact with the world this All Hallows Eve.  Isn't he a brilliant satirist.


Alan Birt said...

Well stated, Emma Major. Why not indeed celebrate Halloween by introducing appropriate Christian aspects where one can ? After all, many of the standard Christmas trimmings (the tree, for example) have been adopted from the Nordic pagan traditions.

This is a good approach to Halloween by Emma Major and an excellent way of introducing, perhaps surreptitiously, some Christian teaching within the 'fun' of the festival.

Alan Birt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stacie Sayz So said...

We don't celebrate Halloween but do take our kids to church for treats and activities.
Stopping by from SITS!

Laura Wells said...

I've prayed about and always felt like Halloween was fine to participate in. We take a similar approach as you in regard to pumpkins and costumes. Stopping by from SITS.