Halloween: Silly, Spooky or Spiritual | Post 2
Following on from last week’s post, here is a transcript of Sunday’s talk about Halloween.
At the bottom, you’ll find some suggestions on how to celebrate Halloween in a way that honours Jesus. This isn’t an exhaustive list, as it’s mainly up to you guys to exercise discretion! I believe that Halloween is as good an opportunity as any to share with our friends about Jesus, and the worst thing we could do is shy away and do nothing!
Halloween: Silly, Spooky or Spiritual?
Halloween has become one of the biggest events in our calendar. Halloween is now, after Christmas and Easter, the celebration we spend the most money on…even above Valentines Day, Mothers & Fathers Days.
So, like it or not, we can’t ignore it’s happening.
When we celebrate Christmas, we talk about Jesus’ birth. When we celebrate Easter, we hear how Jesus died for our sins on the cross and was raised to life. So when we talk about Halloween, how does Jesus fit into it all? That’s what we’ll investigate today!
How did it start?
In the olden olden olden days, when our pastor Greg was a boy… no, even earlier than that, the people used to celebrate the end of harvest time. When they knew winter was coming, they thought that people who had died would come back to life and start playing with the crops and playing jokes.
So the church at the time decided to introduce a positive celebration: All Saints Day on November 1st to try and remember all the Christians who had loved Jesus and died because of what they believed. Halloween actually means ‘Holy Evening’, so, when it started, it wasn’t a bad idea!
Sadly, over the years, the celebration of Holy Evening became twisted and changed, and now it is used to remember and make fun of dead people. Some religions use it as the most important time in their calendar to celebrate the devil and evil spirits.
In our country, it is an event that celebrates the dark, creepy and scary side of life. Children and adults dress up as figures like witches, vampires, ghosts and demons – we might see people at school doing this, or posters in shop windows, or programmes on the TV that mention things I’ve just explained.
So, should we join in with it then and do what everyone else is doing?
Is Halloween just silly? Is it a little bit scary or spooky, or is it spiritual and should be taken very seriously?
As Christians, we believe in God and we believe in his goodness. We believe that God is good and loving. We also believe in someone and something else.
We believe in the devil, we believe in badness, we believe in sin. We know that God is more powerful than evil and badness and sin, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We know that evil isn’t just something we read in a book – evil is real. As real as Jesus is.
Halloween is the time in the year when, instead of trying to turn away from evil and praise and remember God’s goodness, people in our country CELEBRATE evil. You heard me right. Instead of running away from bad stuff, people dress up as the bad stuff, thinking about horrible things that have happened, and organising a celebration about it. Does that sound crazy to anybody else, or is it just me?
So really, Halloween isn’t just something silly we do for a laugh. You wouldn’t play catch with a kitchen knife, would you… Why would you play around with something that’s harmful? It’s just a bit silly and totally inappropriate. So. Halloween is not just silly.
Some people will simply avoid Halloween just because they think it’s spooky: they just find it a little bit scary and get jumpy. Last year, my mum had forgotten it was Halloween, and opened the door to a load of kids who were trick or treating, dressed as zombies, and she let off a massive SCREAM. She was totally freaked out. But, let’s face it, being scared for a few seconds doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something. Then we could never go on roller coasters, meet new people, or learn to ride a bike, or do anything a little bit scary.
But Halloween isn’t just a little bit scary. Actually it’s more than that: it’s spiritual.
As I mentioned before, Halloween is the time when we celebrate evil. We play with knives, we call evil ‘good’ rather than seeing it for what it really is.
So should we hide away and not take part in it at all? Should we bolt all the doors shut and draw the curtains when Halloween comes?
No. By hiding away we are letting the devil win – we are saying evil is more powerful than Jesus. We are letting the spookiness scare us. We are letting our friends and relatives celebrate evil without actually telling them the greatest news of all!
If we look at it from a spiritual angle, Halloween is a chance to show people that ever since the beginning of the universe, when darkness was hovering over the waters, God said ‘Let there be light’ and there was! The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overpower it.
There is someone more powerful than anything. More powerful than witches, vampires, zombies. ghosts… more powerful than anything on this earth, and that is………. Jesus.
Let’s not kid ourselves that Halloween is meaningless fun. It’s not. Instead, let’s use Halloween to share the good news that the true light has come into this world.
Here are some practical suggestions for celebrating Halloween with your kids:
1. Carve a pumpkin in a way that talks about light and Jesus: maybe in the shape of a candle, a cross, or a friendly smiley face? Or perhaps the sun, with rays coming out of it, or a star, like the one that appeared above the stable.
2. Send your kids to a fancy dress party in a costume that celebrates the victory of good over evil, like Superman or the Flash. (explain to them why they are dressed that way)
3. Give out sweets to Trick or Treaters with a simple bible verse like John 8:12 attached.
4. Fill your windows with fairy lights and candles as a symbol of the light overcoming the darkness.
5. Host a Light Party, or turn your Halloween evening dinner into a celebration of light and Jesus’ goodness.
6. Buy some glow sticks, put on some fun music and encourage your kids to dance, sing and celebrate.