I don’t like Halloween.
I really don’t. And I find that I often find myself alone in my distaste – not for chocolate, mind you; let’s not be crazy – for evil and the occult parading itself around my neighborhood as “harmless” fun.
Some of the armchair psychologists of my readership might surmise that there must have been some terrible, awful childhood experience that “messed things up” for me and Halloween. Not true. In fact, I have many wonderful memories of dressing up, trick-or-treating, and celebrating with my family, friends, and even at church. Heck, I even won a pizza party for my elementary school classmates by drawing up a Halloween poster once.
So, what gives?
Times change. It might just be me, but I have noticed that Halloween has become darker. More ominous. More threatening. Perhaps it is because I am now an adult and more aware. Most likely, though, it’s because I am now the caretaker of four little souls that I am on high alert. In this blessed parental awareness, I am extremely reticent and more than leery of anything and everything that might sniff of evil or the occult masked as goody bags and fun times for the kiddies.
So, now you know my bias.
As the cultural riptide that is Halloween looms upon us, I’m not going to get into the whys and hows regarding October 31st and how it plays out in today’s society and what its origins are, although you’re welcome to read about it. I just ask that you, dear readers, do one thing before deciding whether or not to engage in and with the culture on All Hallow’s Eve: please, please prayerfully consider what God has entrusted us as parents to teach and model for our children.
To this end, a friend reminded me the other day about this verse from Philippians (4:8), and I cannot say it any better:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Why should I take my kids around the block if they’ll see vampires, ghosts, cauldrons, witches, and all manner of evil images just in that one block? Sure, I can tell them that it’s all just for show, but why couldn’t we focus on something more life-giving, lovely, excellent, etc. instead? Why couldn’t we talk about the lives of the saints?
I am compelled to remember that we do have an enemy. I know the enemy is not the person dressed up as the evil ghoul trying to scare kids at the neighborhood haunted house “all in fun.” It’s not even, when all is said and done, the increasingly unseemly events that surround Halloween itself. This enemy looms in our vicinity even when it’s not culturally appropriate to “get your evil on.” Just be careful. And pray. Always pray. In fact, here’s a magnificent prayer to memorize and teach your children to know by heart if you haven’t done so already. Here are others just for the sake of All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween).
As Catholics, let’s celebrate what truly matters – the light and life of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for our sins. May you and all those souls entrusted to your care have a happy and blessed All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2).