As Christians, we are known throughout America for what we are against. From exaggeration to actual, from truth to stereotype, from abortion to Disney movies, the world can often see us as a people driven by a need to boycott.
Because of this, I want to put on record why I am pro-Halloween.
To be clear, this is not to say that I am pro-all-halloween. You will never see me dressed as a scantily-clad nurse. You will never catch me flippantly or actively engaging in anything that conjures up spirits or demons. That is not something I want to mess around about. You will also never catch me eating candy corn. It’s basically wax, people.
However, if the Bible tells us to focus on what is excellent and what is commendable (Phil. 4:8), I believe some of those things are to be found in the holiday of Halloween. Here are a few of them:
The Revival of the American Porch
When was the last time you walked up to your neighbors front door, knocked, and when they came, you demanded candy? If your neighborhood is like mine, it is tough to get any more out of my neighbors than a nod hello. Halloween frees everyone to feel comfortable to enjoy the neighborhood community that I believe we all need. What a great way to connect with the elderly widow down the street. What a great way to spend some time going up and down the street with your landlord’s family What a great opportunity to share the gospel. Halloween helps us reclaim the porch from the barrier it has become, and restores it to being the place where neighbors are welcomed.
Candy is awesome. Obviously it should not be consumed in excess, but that is the cool thing about Halloween; it is only one night a year. Even more than that, Halloween represents a redistribution of candy wealth so to speak. This is a great example of the way that the rules of the Kingdom of God are completely unlike the rules of the world. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul says that it is the rich’s duty to share what they have (1 Tim. 6:18).
As a side note, I think that the reason that economic communism fails is because it disincentivizes good work and because it is imposed by the state on Christians and non-Christians alike. However, the basic idea that everyone is taken care of and everyone shares all that they have sounds identical to the way that the first Church lived in Acts 4. It also sounds like paradise. If there are resources in Heaven, I imagine we will share them. So, give freely of your candy. When a ghost comes to you and demands twix, give him a snickers too. When Elsa demands of you your twizzlers give her your smarties also. In fact, give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (Mt. 5:42)
Imagination is integral to our humanity. That whole peek-a-boo game that babies play only works because their thinking is very concrete. When the person is out of sight, they are literally out of mind. As our minds develop, we develop the ability to think of abstracts which in turn gives us the ability to imagine. This, then, allows us to think in terms of ideas, not only in the concrete. Obviously understanding that love exists even though you can’t see it is important to our humanity. Knowing that your money is in a bank is a necessary skill. And I would contend, that it is extremely difficult to understand very much of God without imagination. Don’t read me incorrectly. I am not saying that we imagine God. Quite the opposite! I am saying that God is too large for simple, physical, concrete thinking. For example, it is much easier to think of all of the plastic, electricity, and glass in my laptop than to think of the non-physical, digital world where all my data exists. Understanding that God exists in a way that transcends both our abstract and our concrete ways of thinking requires a lot of imagination.
Imagination is sort of like creativity in that the more your use, the more you have. So, speaking in a foreign accent all night, designing that costume out of old stereo pieces, or spending 4 hours painting your face just might give you the imagination you need to understand God in a way you never have before.