Halloween is not something that Christians celebrate. Halloween after all is a festival of the dark and encourages children to dabble with the occult. It is also fun and involves lots of sweets. Telling my children that we ‘just don’t do that’, or ‘we are children of God’s light, not darkness’, just didn’t cut the mustard with them; and if I am completely honest, as a child, I really enjoyed dressing up for Halloween and it didn’t stop me also enjoying Sunday School.
But I am not just a mum, or a Christian: I am a vicar, which means that whatever I do with my family as regards to Halloween sends out a message, and what message do I want that to be? I tried to take the cowardly way out and hide from Halloween but it’s not that easy; and then I found a video on youtube which reminded me that Halloween is the Eve of All Hallows day and the real problem isn’t that we celebrate the Eve, it is that as Christians we don’t celebrate the Day. We hide from the night, but ignore the light.
So this is my confession – are you ready? I take my children trick or treating. There, I’ve said it! I even dress up – one year I went as Saint Lucy with eyes ‘gouged out’, another year I wore my pink Ghostbusters T-Shirt. What I have discovered is a wonderful community evening of fun and generosity, and people are amazed (in a good way) to see the vicar coming out onto their streets and joining the fun. I also take invitations with me to our party. All Hallows Day is being revived with a heavenly banquet, not to rival Halloween, but to bask in the light and love of Christ that follows the night.
Vanessa is an ordained priest in the Church of England, serving in a team of seven churches in rural Hampshire. She currently shares the rectory with her husband, two daughters and two cats. The menagerie is due to acquire more chickens in the spring and possibly a dog later in the year. Vanessa blogs at www.nothinglikeadane.wordpress.com and you can follow her at www.facebook.com/thewallopingvicar or @wallopingvicar