Why we recommend “Light Parties”
to our families instead of celebrating Halloween
Love it or loathe it, you can’t escape
it. Halloween is firmly established in our calendar with shops and media referring to “halloweekend” and even “halloweek”.
As a Church, we try to discourage families from
celebrating halloween and from “trick-or-treating” in the community. But why - are we just being the kill-joys that the Church is often portrayed as?
Origins: The exact origins of halloween celebrations are uncertain, but the
consensus is that they are connected to pagan rights and superstition. Many activities associated with halloween originate in practices
designed to ward off or appease evil spirits; games such as apple-bobbing
were possibly forms of divination. Without a doubt, halloween was a night in
which there was a strong focus on death, spirits and dark forces in the world.
Recent Trends: In recent years popular culture has helped focus young people’s
attention on occultist practices and imagery. Harry Potter, Twilight, Buffy and other
franchises have increased young people’s interests in magic and other-worldly
topics. Of course, witches have appeared in children’s literature for
centuries, but recent trends have shown a more positive, seductive and exciting
view of witches and wizardry. The result is that young people are far more interested in
occult and dark practices than ever before.
At the same time rates of
depression and suicide amongst our young people have increased alarmingly. It is hard (impossible?) to draw direct
links between occult interest and the mental health of our
young people, but the parallel increase in both appears more than coincidence.
Biblical Principles: Throughout the Bible, witchcraft, divination and mediumship are strongly condemned. The Bible also encourages us to reflect on the positive and good things in life;
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. [Philippians 4:8, NIV]
With this in mind, it seems wrong for Christian families to allow their children to act out pagan practices and focus on death and the occult, even in the name of fun.
Light Party? But why “Light Parties”, do they not celebrate halloween in a
different way? Every Christmas and Easter we are reminded that these were once
pagan festivals that have been hijacked by the Christian Church. The early
Church realised that it is very difficult to stop people enjoying a good
celebration that has been assumed into culture. So they chose to change the
focus of those celebrations for those who identified themselves with the
Church. In the case of halloween, it is difficult to tell our children that
they cannot enjoy the same parties and celebrations they see the rest of the
community participating in, hence we seek to give families and young people in
the Church a different focus to their celebrations.
We aim to have parties that celebrate goodness and
light, in particular Jesus Christ who is the Light of the World.
In conclusion we really encourage parents (particularly parents who identify themselves as Christian believers) to seek alternative entertainment for their children this halloween and to seek out a local church running a good light party.