Thursday, October 09, 2008


I am against Halloween, but not for the reasons that most Christians who are against it give.

Pagan origins don’t bother me (although Halloween has as much Christians origins as pagan).

Nor do I think Satan somehow gains extra power when children dress up as ghosts or witches.

The real reason I object to Halloween – and this is a point I have never heard any other parent make – is because the holiday (at least in its contemporary manifestation) gravitates towards the celebration of ugliness. In so far as this observation is correct (and a cursory glance at Halloween decorations suggests that it is), Halloween is antithetic to the values we should be trying to instil in our children, namely a love and enjoyment for goodness, truth and beauty.

As an antidote to the seasonal celebration of ugliness, I am going to be publishing a series of posts meditating on God’s beauty and glory.

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RachelW said...

Robin, I like what you say about the glorification of ugliness - it really is awful! What I like about Halloween, though, and this has appeared only recently in my thoughts, so the pure formulation of it is still evolving -- is this: what an interesting idea to think we might hide from ourselves, or our evil daemons that bait and badger us all year round. I'd like to think I could give them the slip a little more often than just this one night when we're supposed to be able to do so metaphorically by dressing up. But that still doesn't mean I wouldn't have problems letting my kids participate in Halloween festivities...Rachel

Robin Phillips said...

Rachel, there is certainly scope for some research there. We keep returning to Halloween every year because it is a metaphor of the human condition. Every year we symbolically construct and re-enact physically what we experience spiritually daily: trying to give the slip to the evil demons within. A side effect of this realization is that it helps to proves that human beings are innately liturgical (a point that I made in my article 'Mother State or Mother Church' at in which) gravitating towards symbolic re-enact of their dominant metanarratives.

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