Those who celebrate Halloween fall broadly into two camps: those who know nothing of the event’s occult connections; and those who simply don’t care.
With its dressing up, trick-or-treating and carved pumpkins, 31 October seems little more than an innocent exercise in creativity and frivolity. In a phrase, harmless fun.
This is exactly how the majority of today’s public see and celebrate the event. The night is an excuse for a party. And not just any party, with its theme, activities, even decor predetermined by the occasion itself, it’s a doddle to organise – maximum fun with minimum stress.
What it actually symbolises is far more sinister. The practices that began the tradition celebrated the merging of seasons – and the living and the dead. On the night of 31 October the line between two worlds was believed to blur and evil spirits would come out to play.
We buy into the idea that Halloween is simply yet another commercialised venture.
Pope Gregory III later used 1 November to celebrate All Saints’ Day, giving All Hallows’ Eve the name we use today. But its roots remain strong in pagan worship and occult rituals.
When we brand the celebration of evil as harmless fun, it’s clear that something, somewhere, has gone very wrong. It is deemed unacceptable to dress up as a Nazi, or praise Hitler’s ideology: how is celebrating other forms of evil any more justifiable?
We buy into the idea that Halloween is simply yet another commercialised venture. The argument against secular society celebrating Christmas and Easter is for another time, but while trivialising evil may seem harmless, the fearsome costumes of Halloween mask the depth of the issues at play.
The assumption is that evil is ugly, obvious and coming from external sources. It infers that evil will knock politely at your door, and play more or less harmless pranks, should you resist.
It says nothing of the tempting nature of evil. Nor the fact that evil can come from within – you only have to look at events across the globe right now to question the assertion that humanity is fundamentally good. When trick or treaters come to your door, if you really wanted to, you could probably overpower them. But when evil attacks, and we try to defy it alone, the consequences far exceed an egg smashed over your windows or flour thrown at your car.
From my Christian perspective, it is clear that evil should never be undermined. Not only is it on offer all year round, but it can be incredibly attractive. If and when the scary masks of youth get swapped for the costumes of young adulthood, à la Mean Girls, at least some of the true, alluring nature of evil is reflected. Though, of course, it is unlikely that many make the choice consciously.
And Christians also believe that while evil can’t be defeated alone, the power and grace of God can save them.
Many Christian churches will choose to throw Light Parties as an alternative to Halloween celebrations. It might not be the perfect solution, but it does teach children to celebrate good over bad.
So, as you carve your pumpkins and pick out your costumes, take a moment to consider the true implications of your actions.
For those who celebrate Halloween in true ignorance, a lack of understanding can never fully justify endorsement. The fact is that however it is marketed, the night attempts to celebrates evil.
And for those who simply don’t care? Well, perhaps you should.
Opinion pieces are the view of the author and in no way reflect the views of Forge Press.
Words by Katie Scott
Image credit: Petr Kratochvil