A few days ago I was reading my dear friend Jonalyn’s blog about her thoughts on Halloween. And I was wondering. How do people plan on celebrating this (sometimes) controversial holiday? A bit of background. I was raised conservative Christian. Make that VERY conservative. My parents and I now occasionally joke about how conservative we were. We have since broadened our horizons, so to speak. In that we no longer consider Halloween a holiday to be avoided if possible. Or if not avoided at least spent handing out tracts to the hapless kids who happened to ring out doorbell. I never carved a jack o’lantern growing up, much less went trick or treat. Instead the next day we would go to a ‘harvest festival’ at our church to celebrate “All Saints Day.”
Since we now have Jack, we have decided to celebrate the holiday. I see Halloween not as a celebration of the dead or the devil but a cultural holiday where children enjoy dressing up, going door to door asking strangers for candy. We carve a pumpkin into an artistic smiley face (by my husband of course. If I did it it would be more abstract) and light a candle in it. We welcome the many children who come to our door with a smile and bit of (teeth rotting) candy. I do agree that some elements of Halloween do focus on the dead and on unnecessarily gore and/or violence. However, wouldn’t ANY holiday be guilty of that same unnecessary overkill. (sorry about the pun) Think Christmas and Santa! Reindeer! Elves! Excess shopping! Overeating! Temptation to busyness and generally being overcommited! Seriously, some people’s houses are scarier at Christmas than Halloween. (all those elves– give me the creeps)
I mean why are we putting a live tree in our house and spreading greenery all around during the most ‘dead’ time in the year? Because a long time ago, pagans would do the same thing to remind themselves that spring was coming. (and don’t worry, I liberally sprinkle my house with greens like the rest of them– eagerly looking forward to spring and also enjoying the smell and the green)
What do you think of Halloween? How will you celebrate it?
Disclaimer– If I have offended you in any way, please let me know. I have been known to do that from time to time.
And now for your viewing pleasure: Jack as a Hot Pepper, Matt and the Pumpkin. From Halloween last year.