Recently, during a late-night escapade into the depths of the internet, I discovered that some Christians do not like dressing up for Halloween. In fact, they don’t like the holiday entirely. Some blog posts I found called it devil-worshipping, others just think it’s plain un-Christian. I was pretty shocked. The further in I went, I found whole articles written about it. My favourites were the Christian mothers agonising over the struggle of wanting to dress their kids up in firemen outfits, but not wanting to support Wiccan rituals. I knew there was a heavy death motif on Halloween, but devil-worship? Now that was delightfully new and spicy.
I was surprised to learn Halloween originated from a Christian day of remembrance for their martyrs. When Christianity spread, it found some of the opposing religions hard to weed out. In order to circumvent this, they made a habit of moving their holidays to collide with pagan holidays. This is what surprised me the most – because boy, did they do a terrible job of “Christianising” that holiday. The pagan holiday Halloween was placed on was the Celtic Samhain festival. Samhain was when the Celts believed the line between the living and the dead blurred, and spirits walked the earth. The festival saw people doing those oh-so-terrible witchy things like divination and communicating with the dead. They also left out treats and offerings of food to appease the spirits so that they would not be haunted. Just generally superstitious things, right?
There are some Christians, it seems, that truly do believe that Halloween is devil-worship because of this history. It doesn’t matter how it’s developed over the years into an almost entirely commercial enterprise. Others, however, are more concerned with the “drunkenness and debauchery” the evening invites – which is pretty much the only reason for an Australian to partake in Halloween.
Their issue that some have with dressing up for Halloween seems to be that it is participating with the pagan ritual to fend off spirits and monsters. But I also think it has to do with the opinion that how people dress reflects beliefs and morals. It’s a common idea that the more revealing the outfit, the more sexually potent a person – along with an array of negative connotations that are too stupid to list. I do believe how we dress affects how we behave, and research on the matter supports it. However, I do not believe that it affects someone so monumentally as to twist them into a real-life monster – regardless of how hideous a mask they may be wearing. It’s subtler things, like the confidence of the person, their attention span, their sincerity. If I were to dress like a witch, I can promise you I would not feel inclined to curse everyone for stepping foot in my house and then go hang myself on a tree outside (real The Conjuring style).
“Satanism” is not an organised theology. There are no institutions, no shared beliefs – and certainly nothing like a Bible. Rather, it seems to be the word given to those who are “other” to Christianity. So what really is devil worship? Is it the classic human sacrifice? Or is it smaller things, like not going to Church, but spending your Sunday in bed with your booty call? Is that just sinning? Is it both? Even if you do not dress up as some ungodly creature (essentially just me after an unplanned nap), the tradition of dressing up seems to be issue enough. So no cute chicken costumes for your toddler. No little policemen running around. No sheet ghosts – definitely not the ghosts.
Divination and other “witchy” exploits aren’t common practice on Halloween anymore. Even were I to participate with the whole American tradition of wandering the streets oddly dressed for candy handouts, you could hardly accuse me of devil worship. The only time I did go out trick-or-treating with a bunch of “hooligans” and drank, there were no satanic rituals taking place. We had a perfectly respectable evening, hopping between houses – most of whom turned us away. We took regular breaks in shadowy parks to drink goblets of blood. The evening continued jovially and ended it in a very spooky orgy, accompanied by an organised and clean human sacrifice. Totally mainstream stuff.
In the end, my opinion is that if any Christian doesn’t want you or others, or themselves, to participate/celebrate Halloween, they should have kept their holiday off a pagan festival. It’s unfortunate, but the choice was theirs. Cheers your goblets to that, boys.