Every fall two camps emerge to debate the issue of Halloween. There is an Evangelical camp that condemns Halloween as Satanic and evil. There is a Roman Catholic camp that offers a rebuttal. This is not that debate. They are both correct. Halloween, short for All Hallows (Holy) Eve, is and has always been a Roman Catholic feast celebrating All Saints Day much the same as Christmas Eve celebrates Christmas. Halloween has been hijacked by those who mock Christianity, and in some cases should be celebrated with Fall Festivals to shelter children from the mockery that can ensue.
One symbolic element seems to be missing from the debates. Easter is in the spring. Spring is the time of planting new life. In Scripture Jesus speaks frequently about sowing seeds, seeds falling on fertile soil and seeds taking root. There will be a separation of the wheat and chaff at the time of the harvest. If the seed is God’s Word sown at Easter, what would the harvest of this seed look like? Halloween.
There is the parable of the vineyard owner who searched for workers throughout the day. Those who worked the whole day received the same wage as those who worked just an hour. What is the pay for a lifetime of service to God versus a deathbed conversion? Heaven. Those in Heaven are called saints. The Catholic Church has a day set aside to honor them (All Saints Day) which begins at sunset the evening before (Halloween).
The High Feasts are as follows: Christmas is the time of the Incarnation. Nothing that follows could have occurred without it. Easter is the time when all things come to pass. Nothing before or after would have meaning without it. All Saints Day is the time when the vineyard workers are paid for their faithful service, each one called by the Master at the appointed time. Nothing that came before would be remembered without their witness to the Truth.
Evil has a way of looking beautiful and stylish. First, he attacked Christmas. He helped people forget that the tree was a symbol of both the manger and the cross, and each decoration stood for a loved one entrusted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Evil helped the people forget the stockings were hung as a symbol of hope in the Lord and His providence, in remembrance of St. Nicholas of Myra 1700 years ago. Most of all Evil helped the people forget the poverty of the stable amid the frantic acquisition of gifts in the season of getting.
Evil then turned his gaze to Easter. He helped people forget about new life and children as he showed them bunnies and chicks. Evil helped them forget the need to fast and pray as he showed them foil wrapped chocolates. Evil helped them worship a pagan rabbit and forget about the Lamb of God.
Evil finished his work in Halloween. He took the days set aside for praise and thanksgiving that death was no more, and he made them his own. Evil convinced the people that death was real, and it was terrifying. Without Christmas and Easter, how could the people possibly save Halloween, the celebration of their entrance into Heaven? Without the Incarnation, Passiontide and the Resurrection how could there be a Heaven at all?
Evil stole the people’s faith with his lies.
Evil stole the people’s hope with his lies.
Evil stole the people’s charity with his lies.
It is time for the Truth to prevail against his lies.
In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, pride in human accomplishment soared. Evil took the opportunity to bend that notion ever so slightly toward something dark. There was a sense that the people no longer needed to rely on God and His providence. The people could do for themselves, and they did. The more people turned away from God, the more the artists of the day pondered what kind of world would come of this new trend.
Arthur Conan Doyle watched as justice without mercy led to lazy police work. As long as someone paid for a crime, the case could be closed. Before he became famous for creating the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes, he made a name for himself criticizing Scotland Yard for ignoring evidence once they had someone to blame.
J. M. Barrie lamented the loss of innocence in children. He wanted to save them from the harshness a world without God could offer. He created a place where children faced terrible challenges, persevered, then forgot all about the darkness in grown men’s souls. Children had to be strong to survive, but they did not need to lose their souls in the process.
Bram Stoker saw how poverty led young and old to vice as a way to spare themselves the torments of despair. He wrote about the deadly sin of lust taking human form and feeding upon the life-blood of the young and beautiful of society. It was only after a God-fearing man named Abraham recruited the virtuous men of the community to stand against the monster, that he was stopped and his latest victim was recovered.
Mary Shelley dreamed that the pride of men could lead a doctor to believe he, too, could create life. He, too, was God. He reanimated dead tissue and created a monster. The deadly sin of pride was obvious, but what of the monster? He was a new creation, and yet he had no place in society. He had no hope of happiness. Where was his wife? Where were his friends? What was his trade, occupation, vocation, career? What did he have that so many others took for granted? Envy was the underlying theme. The doctor’s sin gave rise to the monster’s hopeless situation.
Oscar Wilde wrote about the difficulty of virtue and the ease of vice. What if a person could live forever exactly as he wished without the fear of Hell? What sort of damage would that person cause to his soul? His protagonist decided he was too young, too wealthy, and too influential to be burdened by laws, morals and clean living. In the end his soul was not only dead, but also unrecognizable as the man he used to be.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote about a man who endeavored to physically remove the darkness in his soul. The protagonist created a potion to separate the good self from the bad self, in hopes of destroying the bad self once and for all. Sadly, the good self lost the battle, and then all was quiet. God did not create people as pieces, but as a whole. The good self lacked the passions needed to fuel his fortitude and lacked righteous anger to make positive changes in the world. The bad self lacked enthusiasm and zest for life. He was lazy without a desire to grow as a person. The components needed to work in harmony to be the best self. Again, it was self-pride over faith in God’s sanctifying grace that led to the protagonist’s downfall.
Tale after tale created by Catholic and Evangelical alike illustrate the resistance to the lies of Evil. If Halloween is Christianity’s last stand, then Christianity must rise to the occasion. Christians must continue to offer praise and thanksgiving in the guise of Fall Festivals and All Saints Day parties until Evil thinks he has won. Then Christians must bravely don their costumes, dance, and sing the victory of God. It is only then that they, with their costumes of fine clothing, will sing the lullaby of the Babe in the manger. It is then that they, with their flowers and bonnets, will raise their hearts and minds to Heaven, to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Today is that moment.
Today is that Last Stand.
Let Evil not take Halloween.
Let the Christians rise, take back the children, and rejoice in the Lord together once again!
Nancy A. Tefft, BA, LGA
September 27, 2020