Is Halloween bad?

Many Christian churches offer an alternative evening for children and their parents on Halloween, without all the monster costumes, devil outfits and trick or treating. But what do you do if your children and grandchildren love Halloween? They love dressing up, scouring the neighbourhood for treats with friends and family, bumping into neighbours who welcome them, and counting the loot back home. To them it’s fun. There’s nothing sinister going on.

With my own children, however, I thought there was a sinister undertone to Halloween, so I took them off to a Mall that evening, or closed the curtains at home and turned up the TV. But then grandchildren came along, and not only did they love Halloween, so did my children who now had the chance to make up for lost time and go trick or treating with them. And then we all counted the loot back home and shared the spoils. And for all of us it was fun.

Fortunately, Halloween today is completely meaningless. It has no sinister agenda and no purpose whatsoever beyond making children smile. Halloween is a lot like sugar – no nutritional value whatsoever, but it makes things taste good. And in a world with so much real ugliness going on and much of life being a boring routine, life could do with a little spice.

But isn’t that falling into the hands of a cunning devil, who’d like nothing better than people thinking evil and devil outfits are just a bit of harmless fun? Yes, it would be if Halloween causes evil or preserves it, but for most people today it’s just an excuse for silliness, with no evil intent. Halloween has lost the power it had in past centuries to scare people. People, at one time, really believed Halloween was about warding off spirits seeking revenge, but today it’s been reduced to a joke. It’s not a joke in the best of taste, but instead of preserving some really scary superstitions, it’s taken the power right out of them.

And that’s exactly what’s happened to the devil – he’s had the power taken out of him too. Ever since Jesus came the devil’s powers over us have been severely reduced. He can still blind and deceive people the world over, but not forever. He’s a defeated foe and a spent force. Jesus has already triumphed over him, and for “anyone born of God….the evil one does not touch him,” 1 John 5:18.

We are wary of the devil, therefore, but we don’t live in fear of him. And if Halloween reminded us of that, it could even be classed as ‘good’, not bad.

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