I'll start by saying that I really don't like Halloween.
And the main reason for that is because I hate how America in general wants everyone to believe that evil doesn't really exist. Whether it be supernatural evil or evil in the flesh, for a lot of people, it's all a big game. And even though I'm sure that deep down, people know that's not true; well, they certainly like to pretend that it is. Halloween is one of the ways that is manifested.
I believe in witches; I see advertisements for them all over this city I live in. They usually are accompanied by a painting of an overly-large rear end of a woman, since apparently, witches are good at making this sort of thing happen--and for a Tanzanian women, this is highly desired. Albinos are often murdered and their body parts used in animistic rituals. Apparently the blood of a murdered child is the best way to find Tanzanite in the mines.
I don't find skulls to ever be an appropriate decoration item. I don't find movies where people get murdered to be funny. Next door to Tanzania is Rwanda, where the skulls of one million people murdered by their neighbors cry out for redemption.
What's interesting is that the birth of Halloween took place amidst a worldview very much like the current African worldview: steeped in superstition and a belief in evil spirits. And their "celebration" of Halloween was not out of fun, it was out of fear. Today, in America, apparently we laugh at fear. Even though the evil spirits really do exist.
So the fact that Halloween is practically non-existent here has been a bit of a relief to me. My kids don't ask about it; they don't miss it; we don't bring it up.
BUT. We will be in the States next year, and therefore forced to deal with this issue. AND the entire HOPAC staff is reading Total Truth this year, which is all about looking at all aspects of life through a biblical worldview. AND I have this husband of mine who is always forcing me to re-think my long-held assumptions.
Isn't it possible to participate in Halloween but still have nothing to do with the witchcraft and the celebration of death? Candy and costumes and pumpkins are all good things. In fact, as far as I understand, those in America who identify themselves as pagan (Wiccan) don't even celebrate Halloween, but Samhain.
I have no problems with Christmas trees, mistletoe, Easter eggs, wedding veils and bouquets, and saying "God bless you" when someone sneezes (though I don't do that very often...I think it's dumb)--all traditions which happen to have pagan roots. Therefore, isn't it possible to "redeem" Halloween traditions in the same way that Christians have "taken back" the other holidays? We don't throw out Christmas just because of Santa....we just de-emphasize Santa. What great lessons for our kids in evaluating culture.
And last, probably the most compelling reason I will allow my children to trick-or-treat next year is because it's one of the few days of the entire year when neighborhoods come alive. What a great way to meet neighbors! What a wonderful opportunity to make our house "known" as being friendly and inviting!
Just like it's okay to go to a bar, just not get drunk. Or visit a Hindu temple, just not worship the idols. The religious leaders condemned Jesus for eating and drinking with prostitutes and "sinners." He went where the ordinary people went and participated in ordinary life and loved ordinary people, even if it appeared scandalous. So should I.
(Note: I understand that this is an individual choice of conscience for all Christians, and absolutely respect that.)