Every year round about now, I start to see posts all over social media discussing and debating the issue of Halloween: what to do about it, whether to embrace it, what its roots really are and whether it’s a bit of fun or a terrible problem for society in general (or for teenagers, children, the elderly, people with special needs, people with allergies and so on, specifically.)
This year, we’ll be celebrating All Hallow’s Eve with a LightCraft party. Children from our four churches will gather to play games, make light-related crafts, carve hearts and pictures into pumpkins, and hear that Jesus is the light of the world who has defeated darkness.
That’s on Sunday, so we might also go meet-and-treating on the night itself. Meet-and-treating is a fun way to turn around the traditional tricks and scares while still being generous: we go out to find trick-or-treaters and hand over a treat. This year we’ll probably give away glow-stick bracelets along with this explanation printed onto cards: it’s one that I wrote several years ago, and you are welcome to print copies yourself if it’s useful.
Nobody really knows where the festival of Halloween originated. The name comes from All Hallow’s Eve, marking a time in the Christian church when we remember saints and loved ones who have died, but the traditions that take place come from much earlier pre-Christian times. In fact if you look at almost any culture in any time, you’ll find that as the nights get longer, a festival takes place which involves light, intended to ward off darkness and evil. That’s where Jack-O-Lanterns come from, for example. It’s humanity’s way of dealing with darkness, death and the things that frighten us as we go into the long winter.
In our family, we remember at Halloween that Jesus said “I am the light of the world”. He has already conquered darkness and death by dying and rising again. This year, we’re giving out Glo-sticks to light your way and to remind you that Jesus has beaten the darkness!
We hope you enjoy your treats, and have a safe and fun Halloween!