Costumes and trick or treating, and ghosts and ghoul everywhere. Where did it come from? Am I a bad Christian if I want to join the party? I did a little homework and here’s what I found out:
Halloween has a questionable past no doubt, but so do I so I’m not one to judge.
It dates back to the medieval times with the Celtic people marking the change of the light of summer to the darkness of winter when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. Apparently a lot of people died this time of year so there was much symbolism in warding off death.
You can also trace the origin of Halloween back to the Christian tradition of celebrating the lives of Christian martyrs on the anniversaries of their deaths. Pope Gregory dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica to “all saints” on November 1. This became All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallow’s Day. The night before became All Hallow’s Eve. Hence the name Halloween.
As Christianity moved through Europe the two collided. The organized church would commonly move a distinctively Christian holiday to a spot on the calendar that would directly challenge a pagan holiday. The intent was to counter pagan influences and provide a Christian alternative. But most often the church only succeeded in “Christianizing” a pagan ritual–the ritual was still pagan, but mixed with Christian symbolism. That’s what happened to All Saints Eve–it was the original Halloween alternative! (source).
What to do? Mark Driscool suggests at every holiday we must choose to Reject it, Embrace it, or Redeem it.
Rejecting it won’t change anything, or anyone. Embracing it makes us just like the world, so I vote we Redeem it! And here are a few fun ideas to help!
- Download this cute pumpkin carving for FREE! For every stencil downloaded, Better Homes and Gardens will donate $2.00 to The Humane Society, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Rebuilding Together, and March of Dimes up to $5000.00 per charity! Thanks Graceful home!
Reverse trick or treat. Our church does a really cool thing with the children’s ministry where they go to lower income neighborhoods and give out candy and toys and just play with the kids.
- Give fair trade candy. “Candy with a conscience” they call it. The chocolate industry is one of the most corrupt. I am probably not going to win a lot of friends by saying that but check into where your candy comes from. If not fair trade, Mars or Nestle products are good choices. They voluntarily provide child labor-free chocolate. Hershey, not so much.
- Spend time with your family. Do something fun and “fall-ish” together. Lots of ideas here.
- Dress modestly. I’m not one to grow my hair long and strictly wear long skirts but seriously ladies, you are God’s precious daughter and way to beautiful to wear “costumes” that are so skimpy.
* Update. Great comments on this one!
- Jamie suggested redeeming Halloween by taking advantage of the huge opportunity to minister to the community while the neighborhood is out and about, coming right to our door. On the one night that everyone comes to me, I don’t want to have my lights turned out. We are also redeeming the Holiday this year is by taking our youth ministry trick or treating for canned food for the homeless shelter
Evil spirits are no more active and sinister on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year. But “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
What do you think about Halloween? What are your plans this year?