Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Case for Halloween

File:Paul C├ęzanne, Pyramid of Skulls, c. 1901.jpgWe may be coming up on Thanksgiving, but I've got Halloween on my mind. As a teacher, Halloween, like Christmas, is a holiday where I must tread with care. There are usually a few students whose parents have a real discomfort over Halloween, just as there are those who have issues with Christmas, generally due to religious reasons. I respect religious differences and therefore I try to walk a careful line around such holidays.

But this year, I found myself thinking about this reality, about why so many Christians take issue with Halloween. Actually, it's not just Christians. Many adults seem squeamish at the whole fascination with the evil and violent images that Halloween conjures.

Understandable feelings. Reveling in the dark side of existence can be bad for the soul. So, there may be a line that shouldn't be crossed. However, I would submit that acknowledging the darkness, and the power behind fear and violence and death, does not deny God or life. Even for those who believe in a life after death, death is a reality. The suffering, loss and grief of death are still real aspects of human life. Even Christ experienced them. True faith should not only be able to acknowledge death, and darkness and evil and fear, it should be able to incorporate them into a fuller, more complex understanding of existence.  Perhaps by facing the creatures born in the darkest corners of our imaginations, and embodying those fears, we actually strengthen our souls' ability to endure and survive the frightening and dark parts of human existence.

At least, those are my thoughts on this cold and dark November evening.