What has interested me about Halloween is its intersection with culture, and especially Christianity. Growing up in the church, I've seen churches attempt to do all kinds of things with Halloween, from ignoring it completely to throwing elaborate competing "Harvest Festivals." My
favorite Christian/Halloween story comes out of Eden Christian Academy of Pittsburgh, PA (slogan: Pretending People are Perfect since 1983). A dear friend worked as a teacher there, and experienced this first-hand. Presented with the problem of what to do about Halloween one year, the faculty went back and forth: Use it as a teaching moment to communicate about the occult? Embrace what has become a harmless evening of candy-getting rather than a celebration of pagan ritual? Of course not. So afraid were they of dealing with the Halloween "problem," they did the least productive thing they could have: They cancelled school.
Why is it that Christians are so afraid of Halloween? Well, it all comes from Eden's slogan, which I conveniently made up to suit my purposes. In real life, Eden doesn't seem to have a pithy slogan, but has an 8 point statement of faith. The "problem" with Halloween, though, is a seeming fear that a "bad" thing will corrupt "good" kids. I don't know about you, but I was a kid, and Halloween was the least questionable thing we were up to. It's not just Christians, either. Check out this list of rules for costumes at a Halloween parade at Riverside Drive School
in Los Angeles:
- They should not depict gangs or horror characters, or be scary
- Masks are allowed only during the parade
- Costumes may not demean any race, religion, nationality, handicapped condition, or gender
- No fake fingernails
- No weapons, even fake ones
- Shoes must be worn
When it comes to Christians and Halloween, if we can admit that we are not perfect beings trying by any means to avoid corruption, maybe we can dress up like Freddy Kruegger and get some fun-sized Kit Kats. If we believe, as Eden Christian Academy claims to, that our righteousness is sourced in Jesus Christ and not in ourselves, we don't have to worry so much about the possible corruption that bobbing for apples and trick or treating might cause...We can do the zombie dance and just have fun!