The Hijacking of Halloween

I was raised in a conservative home with devout Christians as parents.  We did not have a television in our home.  We did not go to movies.  We did not drink alcohol.  Smoking of any kind was forbidden.  We were great at Putt-Putt golf and Ping-Pong.

We had a lot of fun and I have nothing but great memories of my childhood.

The irony of growing up in a conservative home, where my father was a pastor, is that we never thought of Halloween as being evil.  We dressed up.  We went door-to-door trick or treating.  We even had a haunted house in our church.  We decorated the classrooms and scared the kids as they came through.  Looking back, it seems strange that we were devout Christians and did not hyperventilate with hostility towards Halloween.

Did a changing culture force Christians to draw a line in the sand?  The seeming paradox is that as society has become more secular, a Christian’s view of Halloween has become more conservative.  The irony is that if modern culture has dictated that Christ followers take an abolition approach to Halloween, why is that position based on the history of Halloween’s origin?

The answer must be in the changing tides of our culture in the last generation.  There is no doubt that the Christian teaching on Halloween has become more isolationistic. Halloween has been hijacked in modern culture to somehow become the “Devil’s Birthday.”  This position is not biblical as Psalms 118:24 records “every day is made by the Lord and we should rejoice in it.

Notwithstanding the fact that Christians have taken a position of running for the hills, it is undeniable that society has seized this particular celebration to be the cornerstone for all activities and rituals on the dark side. Salem, Massachusetts, a beautiful city on the Northeastern coast, is known historically as the place of witch trials in 1692.

Salem is also where my mother grew up and some of my family still lives.  I remember as a kid visiting my cousins and playing at “Salem Willows”, a beautiful park and carnival like boardwalk on the rocky coast of the Atlantic Ocean.  City officials in recent years have embraced the idea of increasing revenue by celebrating witches and ghosts and pagan rituals during the entire month of October.

You can’t visit St. Augustine, Florida or Savanna, Georgia without someone handing you a pamphlet on ghost tours.  Apparently, it is a big money maker to load people up on buses at night and take them around to the city cemeteries and tell ghost stories.  I have no interest, but does this mean that I should never visit these beautiful, historical cities that have much more to offer than fabled tales?

The point is that secularists have profited on societies’ appetite for the supernatural.  People are not sure what to believe, but they are interested.  Commercial opportunists and secular propagandists have joined forces to create a more hostile environment for Christian families.  Horror and gore used to be on the culture fringe, but now mainstream theme parks have joined the ranks.

The modern trend toward graphic violence and splatter films has created a climate that many people with small children and conservative values are not comfortable with.  They are forced to look for a safe place to attend and participate in this week.  Churches and Christians not wanting to relinquish even one day to the dark side, offer a substitute.

Fall Festivals and Trunk or Treats are becoming more popular with Christian churches.  On Saturday, in almost every city, you will find cars in church parking lots, decorated and full of candy.  First Pentecostal Church in Palm Bay is hosting a Family Fall Festival on Saturday from 10am to 2pm.  You will find a wholesome environment of games, food, candy, bounce houses, animals, hayrides, and positive music.  It is free and everyone is welcome.

Having fun is not a sin and the last week of October is not exclusive for wrong behavior.  It is a beautiful time of the year to celebrate with your kids and enjoy another day of life.  Don’t let anyone rob you of that!