Sophia choosing her pumpkin, October 2008.
The air is getting chilly. The leaves are beginning to turn. Pumpkins and Indian corn are cropping up at all the local farms. And Christians across America are beginning to grow uneasy as Hallowe’en approaches. The day of the Great Pumpkin has become an occasion for the Great Debate about whether or not to celebrate this increasingly secularized—and increasingly macabre—holiday. Sometimes though, in the “to dress as a witch or not to dress as a witch” debate, we lose sight of the fact that whether or not we celebrate Hallowe’en in a secular or pseudo-secular manner, we Christians are meant to celebrate it together as a holy vigil!
Sadly, many Christians have no idea how to celebrate Hallowe’en as Christians. As is the case with many religious holidays, the traditional celebration of Hallowe’en has been usurped by commercialization and secular custom. Because of this confusion, some join wholeheartedly in the secular celebration, while others shun the day entirely, locking their doors and switching off their porch lights in protest. But, I believe that, as with so many things, there is a moderate approach. Not only is there a way to celebrate Hallowe’en that is line with the teaching of the Church, Hallowe’en can actually be a marvelous tool for evangelism!