Thursday, 29 October 2009
October 31 - Weighing In on the Debate
I love a costume. I love any excuse to wear one. And since I'm over the age of 5 or so, October 31 is the only chance I have to wear a costume in public during the day (yes, it's true - I always wore a costume to work, and found a reason to run an errand or two on my way home - one drawback to working from home now - at least October 31 is a Saturday in 2009)! And, I enjoy catering to the very few neighbourhood children who take the extra time to come by our very slightly off-the-path house for candy. I also like being in costume along with other people in costume...so, every year for the past many years, I've been hosting a costume party in late October. Oh, and I decorate a bit, too, pretty much because I also love a reason to accent each season with some festive notes (just a little foretaste of the much larger-scale Christmas decorating to come starting in November)! Now, growing up, Halloween was only modestly observed in our home. We were allowed to wear wholesome costumes - bunnies, ballerinas, that kind of thing - and visit the homes of known neighbours and church members in our small town. My parents handed out candy, and we always carved a pumpkin. No ghosts, witches, or horror features at our place as kids. Now, it gets a bit tricky. I don't like to focus on supernatural elements that depict demonic influence, or on grotesque elements that celebrate mayhem and destruction. However, I've always enjoyed classic gothic horror themes in literature - some of my favourite reads, like Frankenstein and Jane Eyre, include the somewhat bizarre, and sometimes macabre even as they illustrate truth - oh, and I like a little Poe now and then as well! I also like a good pirate story - so a few pirate motifs reflect that interest . For me, this season is more about dressing up and having fun with quirky decor based on my interests. I think it can certainly be tricky (no pun intended) finding a good balance. I definitely respect those who choose not to observe Halloween at all, or who keep it limited to some cute costumes for their kids. I did a search on Christians and Halloween to see what's out there. Most of what I found is written by strongly anti-Halloween folk, but the link below stood out to me. Likely because it does a very nice job of articulating my thoughts as they stand at this point in time. I like how it honestly acknowledges various roots of Halloween, yet distinguishes between those roots and culturally relevant seasonal activities for the sake of entertainment (again, using discretion, and respecting individual differences - and I may not have worded that well, as I am of the opinion that we don't "need" to take pagan holidays and turn them into our own entertainment...if I think of a better term, I'll change it). Anyway, worth a read, whether you agree or disagree. Here it is:
P.S. Here is an interesting Catholic perspective - I wouldn't take the same stance on everything here, but worth a look:
And another interesting discussion (arguing a less pagan root to Halloween) - I'm not offering any comment, just putting some varied perspectives out there...
Yet another one - this one I like, for the same reasons I like the first link I posted - I will admit bias, because this pretty much reflects my position:
Not bad either (in my opinion):