Halloween and All Saints’ Day

Nov 1, 2010

Halloween is one of those questionable holidays among Christians. Some people think it’s harmless fun; other people think it is spiritually dangerous and pagan. For me neither of those explanations quite works.

Halloween on October 31 paired with All Saints’ Day on November 1 seems like a realistic representation of my humanity–kind of a confession/absolution duo. On Halloween I get to dress up in a scary, ugly costume (No pretty princess getup for me). It’s a chance to publicly display my dark, unlovely side. Halloween is about  sinners. On All Saints’ Day I and the Church celebrate the potential of all people to be holy followers of Jesus. We recognize the people of the present and the past who have done this especially well. All Saints’ Day is about saints.

There is something else I like about Halloween. Last night at least 300 people walked up the steps to our house and onto our porch. Both the scary and the sweet said “Hi” or “Happy Halloween” or “Trick or Treat.” My husband and I said “Hey!, ” admired their costumes, and handed out candy and pencils. Almost everyone said “Thank you.” In our neighborhood, Halloween is all about hospitality. Just about everyone on our street was outside greeting the motley masses and giving treats. It felt a little like a rehearsal for a heavenly parade–saints and sinners alike looking for a treat.