It was less than a fortnight ago, but doesn’t it feel like forever ago? Halloween. I swear, the people I talked to seemed to have stronger feelings about it that they do the Christmas debate. There seemed to be so many arguments against. It was such a special time for us, that, going over our photos, I thought I’d share a few of those reasons why some folks were less than enthusiastic about it, and why those things don’t matter to us. And then, why we do do it. And why we love it.
1. It’s so American. We’re not American. (Well, technically I am, but yes, we’re in Australia, so…) America has certainly done a stellar job of commercialising Halloween (and amping up the fun factor), but the festival itself has celtic origins, beginning as a harvest festival.
2. Too much sugar. Valid. But we’re in the fortunate spot of our kids being young enough to forget about the lollies within a few days. When they’re older, we have options. Like one mothers suggestion of buying the lollies off her children to spend on what they want at a toy shop, or bookstore, or however they choose.
3. Encouraging your children to knock on strangers doors. Our children understand that there are some things we only do on special occasions. I don’t see how one day of knocking, when all their friends are doing the same, and their parents are with them, would teach them to always do this all of the time. And you know what else? I don’t want my kids to fear all strangers. I want them to exercise caution, yes, but strangers shouldn’t be completely off-limits. What’s that saying? A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet? Whilst teaching them how to be safe, we also want to teach our kids to assume the best in people.
4. We don’t celebrate death or gore . Neither do we. We don’t see that as being the point of Halloween.
5. Its so anti-Christian. Obviously not an argument everyone cares about, but we are Christians, and this argument doesn’t resonate with us. We’re completely aware that for some Christians, it does affect them on a spiritual level, and you’ve absolutely got to pay attention to your own spirit! But we don’t agree that it’s a blanket thing for all Christians. When it comes to this kind of thing, we’re big believers in not giving power to things that don’t innately hold power. And Halloween doesn’t for us. Not in the sense that we feel or see nastiness in it.
Although it does hold a special kind of power, as far as we can see:
For us, its pretty simple. Halloween is about community. It’s big in our area. Thousands are out together, wandering the streets, being spooky, being cheeky, laughing, sharing water and wine and treats. Houses dressed up, inviting togetherness. We meet neighbours we’ve never even seen before, and there are no walls. Something about the costumes, the excuse we have to join together and be silly, the shared experience of running after excited kids. There really is no event that comes close to bringing out this level of community spirit. Nothing where people feel comfortable with (and excited about) inviting strangers into their own little 1/4 acre world. As far as we can see, that opportunity is a hallowed one, and one we just wouldn’t miss out on.
Do you get involved in Halloween activities? Or do you have other ways your community connects?