Is Halloween harmless?


We have come to the end of the month of October and the “holiday” known as Halloween. Now many consider it a day of harmless fun for children allowing them to dress up and receive goodies from others. For many it is considered a day of harmless fun. Growing up, I participated in all the fun that goes along with Halloween. My family educated me about the good and the bad but still allowed us to participate in the fun of Halloween. Personally I do not yet have children where need to make decisions on how to deal with this cultural holiday. Last year I focused on discussing three elements at the foundation of Halloween: fear, selfishness, and deception in a blog article. This year the thought on my mind is whether the day can be considered harmless. My answer to the question is a resounding no.

Now, did celebrating the holiday cause me any long term spiritual harm? I do not believe so, but in thinking about reactions to the day growing up, I know it was not harmless. In examining my own responses I notice three particular ways that what the day celebrates and teaches is harmful. The first of the three areas of harm is that the day really does encourage unbridled desire. It at the heart teaches to embrace what you want and to let go of inhibition. For children the day is about accumulating as much candy as possible, which often gets consumed quickly. The whole concept of “trick or treat” even is about getting what you want or inflict consequences on those who may be inhibiting the desire. Unchecked desire leads to increased selfishness and embracing of an approach of focusing on desire fulfillment.

The second danger is related to desire fulfillment, and that is promotion of disinhibition. Meaning, Halloween promotes the giving in to impulse, to not holding back. Personally when growing up, I found myself more willing to do things I would not do otherwise, simply because it was Halloween and pranks are to be expected. So it was okay to think about egging someone in the neighborhood. Usually the folks at the end of the pranks were folks disliked for some reason or another. Sometimes things were done just because it seemed funny at the time. Admittedly, there were such actions done at other times while growing up, but Halloween just had an atmosphere of allowance.

The third danger I want to comment on is that of desensitization. Halloween is known for attention paid to things that generate fear. The things that are generally considered dark are embraced. The ultimate result of the focus and celebration of darkness results in minimizing the reality of the dangers. Children dress as witches, vampires, zombies, and other assorted demonic monsters with the net result of making evil things seem to be simply matters of child’s play and stories to generate fear. The reality of the forces of darkness is ultimately minimized. When evil is minimized or ultimately made light of, it is far more easily embraced.

So these three identifiable ways Halloween is harmful are significant. Yet, many in the culture hold actually value the focus on desire fulfillment, disinhibition, and desensitization. These are values that are contrary to a Biblical view of love. Ultimately, each of these spiritual dangers make it easier for people to fall into the traps of darkness.  These dangers make it easier to embrace the darkness and forces of evil.

Whatever a parent decides to do with their children regarding Halloween, I encourage you to consider these factors. Whatever you do, take time to teach children the value of loving God and loving others. Take time to teach children that there is real spiritual evil, that evil is not just stories and imaginations of man. Take time to teach the power of light, which is only found in Jesus, and casts aside all darkness. Seek wisdom and ask God to lead your steps in training your children the path of truth.

Now perhaps you are simply a reader who has not accepted the Gospel. You do see Halloween as harmless and find my thoughts to be simply over-reactive. I challenge you to take time and examine further. Look at your own life and see how desire fulfillment, disinhibition, and desensitization have played out in your life. Take time to examine the light found in the Gospel and in Jesus the Christ.

One last thought to close this article. There is very really danger that occurs on Halloween for many adults and children. There is very real harm perpetrated on this day. The folks who engage in harming others on this day, do so ultimately to grow their own personal power. The real spiritual darkness feeds on people being harmed and destroyed. So whether you think I over-react to the elements of Halloween and the harm it produces, there is really harm done to many.

 

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5 Responses

  1. Your assessment is correct on all three issues Peacebringer. I learnt long ago that what we feed our minds on is what we become, especially at the impressionable age of children.
    I am sure many of us who see the true dangers of Halloween are regarded as being ‘spoilsports’ of childrens fun, when in reality it is pure love and concern for the little ones that cause our fears.

  2. For me there is no fear involved. You train a child in truth and it registers. Me and brother were grounded in truth growing up, yes still participate in such, but examining it, it is not harmless by any strech. But we have nothing to fear because greater is He who is in us, then he who is in the world. And this is easy for me to write, without children and the temptation to follow the culture of the world for the sake of entertainment is strong.

  3. I used my choice of word FEAR carefulluy.

    In the English dictionary the most obvious meaning of the word fear is: ‘a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger….’ but others are: ‘concern…..for someone’s safety’ and ‘reverential awe, esp. towards God’.

  4. submitted prematurely Tim,

    In view of my faith and trust in our Mighty God and His words “Perfect love casteth out all fear” my usage of the word fear was rather more ‘a deep concern for the safety of children’, which is a HEALTHY FEAR. 🙂

    I LOVE to see children partying and dressing up cutely but wish it was not in the act of ‘celebrating’ the dark things that halloween represents.

  5. Ah, at some point I should probably write a post on healthy fear and unhealthy fear. Clearly I share the concern, but not just for children. There is concern as well for adults who see no harm, see it as fun for children, or a great time to party and imbibe. The quesition is this, how do we shine light on this day? Right now have lead to ask the questions and look at what is at the core of Halloween. The question is where is the light of the church on this day. SOme churches do share the light and provide an alternative. Certainly can be a day like every other day, but with a focus on celebration of victory over darkness but deviating from the world. Again, I am not a parent yet, but these things are on my mind and have concern. I know when we have these concerns, the first thing is to pray. The second thing is to ask God if there is anything you want me to do.

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