October is here, and Halloween is on my mind. I was at Wal-Mart recently and passed by their selection of costumes. This has lead to me questioning the morality of modern Halloween costumes and how they relate to the Christian worldview.
I know some Christians who refuse to participate in Halloween at all. Some do so, but avoid the pagan aspects of it. Others treat it as everyone else does, and don’t think that it’s a big deal.
When faith is involved, I think everything is a big deal. Whether or not you do is a decision you will have to make for yourself. I can at least offer my perspective, and perhaps shine some light on things you might not have thought of.
Before we begin, I want to point out that I’ll be using imagery to help express points I’m making. I know some people who avoid viewing any questionable material. I’ve blurred out parts of the pictures I’m using to illustrate my point, but you will still be able to get and idea of what I’m talking about. If you don’t want to view such material, this is the point when you should stop reading, or be prepared to scroll past things. I’ve been torn about what I should and shouldn’t show on here in the past. The best metric I’ve come up with is if there is something I wouldn’t want my children to look at, I’ll cover or pixelate it; the way I did in my post about the Rolling Stone magazine I burned. If that doesn’t work for you, I understand.
I know that for some people, wearing a costume and trick-or-treating is the best part of Halloween, and something they enjoy doing with their children. I won’t be dealing with whether or not any Halloween festivities are appropriate for Christians, today we’re just looking at costumes.
One of the biggest issues facing Christians today is that we live in a very sexualized world, especially in regards to women. Most people who know me personally, and those who read my blog, know that modesty and propriety are important to me.
It seems that in any medium today, when a woman is involved, the main concern is always, ‘How can we best entice men?’ There are few areas where this isn’t the case. Television, movies, artwork, clothing, makeup, cosmetic surgery; Even lawn mowers. Everything seems to be aimed at sexualizing women for a general male audience.
All other things aside, today we’re focusing on Halloween. I decided to go online and see what I could find. And, I found about what I was expecting.
The items I found are pulled directly from Wal-Mart and Amazon. I didn’t look towards any “adult” sites to find anything bedroom specific. These items are all marketed for general wear. Some people will argue that I’m being selective with the things I’m presenting. Which is true to some extent. I’m not commenting on every Halloween costume made for women. There are some you can find that aren’t as risqué as these.
But, a few exceptions don’t change the larger issue at hand. Many people use Halloween as a license to dress (and behave) in ways in which would normally be seen as inappropriate. At what point would the items below been seen as acceptable to wear throughout the year, except on Halloween?
One has to ask, why is this so? Why does this time of year lead people think that engaging in debauchery is okay? I would like to think that observant Christians wouldn’t wear things such as this. But, some of what I have seen allowed in churches today makes me wonder.
Even if these were worn by a narrow amount of secular individuals, it still needs to be addressed. Too many young believers today are set loose into the world without the necessary tools to face issues of morality such as this. Sure, your children may not wear these things (that you know of). But, do their friends? Is this how people dress at parties they go to? Are they able to discern what is and isn’t good on their own when you aren’t there to scold them?
If you have a college aged son going to his first adult Halloween party, is he prepared for the struggles that youth brings? Can he walk into a deluge of sin and avert his gaze away from a room full of temptresses? Can he decide on his own that he probably shouldn’t be there in the first place, and go elsewhere? A bible study, perhaps?
If you have a daughter of the same age, and all of her friends want her to go dressed up and go to the same party, what will she do? Will she politely decline and stay home, or will she convince herself that it isn’t “that bad.”
If you think these things are acceptable to wear, have you considered what example you’re setting for others? For your children? Have you consider how you may be making the men in your life stumble? A lot of women today think it’s funny to tease men. Have you considered the impact you’re having on men who genuinely struggle with lust? Why do you think it’s okay to show off intimate parts of your body just for what has become a secular holiday? What value do you place on yourself?
Moving on from adult costumes, now comes the issue with those made for children. Is there harm in letting kids dress up and have fun on Halloween? That’s for you to decide. But, you should consider the moral implications of what they’re dressing up as. Maybe they want to dress up as a character from a horror movie. Let’s look at some of those.
We’ll start with Freddy Krueger. Originally written as a child molester, this was changed to child murderer before production of the first installment of “A Nightmare On Elm Street.” Kruger’s mother worked in a criminal insane asylum. After accidentally being locked in a room with a group of mentally ill criminals, she was held captive and repeatedly raped for an extended period of time. When released, she was found to be barely alive, and pregnant. Freddy became known as the “son a hundred homicidal maniacs.” He was then adopted by an abusive alcoholic man, whom he killed. He engages in the torture of animals and self-mutilation. As an adult he had a wife, whom he killed. Then he murders the children of the people who bullied him when he was young. He is arrested, but released on a technicality. The parents of the children he killed chase him down, and burn the building he is hiding in. His body dies, but his spirit lives on thanks to a trio of “dream demons.” He then terrorizes the people of Elm Street, killing them in their dreams.
So. We have gang rape, child abuse, alcoholism, animal abuse, self-mutilation, spousal abuse, murder, and demon possession. Meditate on that for a moment.
Moving on to Jason Voorhees. In the first “Friday the 13th” it is revealed that Jason drowned as a young boy at Camp Crystal Lake because the counselors who should have been watching him were fornicating instead. His mother then murders anyone at the camp. At the end of the movie she is beheaded. In the final scene, the last survivor is floating on a canoe and a young Jason emerges from the water and grabs her. At this point, Jason could be classified as a “zombie,” as best I can tell. In the second movie Jason keeps his decapitated mother’s head on an alter and kills people. Throughout the series he dies and is resurrected, and kills people. It’s kind of repetitive. At some point he gains superhuman abilities. He is finally killed, but passes his “demon possessed” heart into others and continues to live. He is then bodily resurrected, but dragged to hell. He is then resurrected again, and as you would guess, kills more people. Eventually he goes to space and kills people 445 years in the future. It’s a long story.
To summarize, we have a superhuman zombie with a demon possessed heart who worships his mothers head on an alter, kills a large number of people, is resurrected multiple times, even escaping hell.
We’ll end with Michael Myers. Praise God. When Michael is six years old he murders his sister on Halloween, which is also the name of the series. Fifteen years later he escapes his mental institution and returns to his hometown to stalk his babysitter. He murders her friends, and tries to kill her. His psychiatrist shoots him and believes he dies, but his body disappears. The ‘Halloween’ franchise is kind of a mess, so I’m not going to try explain all of it. There’s a lot of murder. At some point a girl is kidnapped and forcibly impregnated by a cult that controls Michael. He seems to be killed multiple times, but I’m sure if he’s considered a zombie or not. Anyway, you get the point.
Are any of these things appropriate for children to emulate? Why would you want your child to dress up as anything related to the above stated? Why do the even know about them? These movies are rated for adults for a reason.
We can move on from the typical horror costumes that you frequently see. There are other things you should take into account also. Mythological or pagan representation can also prove problematic.
If your child wants to dress up as a fairy, have you explained to them that fairies aren’t real? Can they separate myth from biblical fact? Do the understand the difference? Too many people claim it’s “not a big deal” in regards to what children are taught. I disagree. If you don’t explain to your children that fairies aren’t real, what will happen when they start to question if other things are real? I urge people to teach their children age-appropriate sound biblical doctrine, early and often.
Let’s say your child wants to dress a witch. Is this wrong? Bad? Again, that’s for you to decide. I would hope however that you understand the implications this carries. Do they understand that witchcraft is bad? Do they understand that witches(Wiccans) exist in the world today and believe the things you’re child is “playing” as?
Have you considered that Wiccans celebrate Halloween for different reasons than you? To the Wiccan, there is a god and a goddess. On the Wiccan calendar, Halloween is when their “god” dies, before being reborn at the winter solstice. This is also the time when the “veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest”, thus many Wiccans use this time to “contact” the dead. For the Christian, I would point out that necromancy is frowned upon. And, when I say ‘frowned upon,’ I mean forbidden. It’s forbidden. You’ll burn like Freddy Krueger. Don’t do it.
I’m often accused of overthinking things. This tends to happen by people who don’t want to called on their inequity. Whether or not you delve as deep into issues such as this is up to you. I would only urge you to consider the implications of your actions as you continue to walk the narrow path.
If Jesus returns and see’s you dressed in a costume similar to the ones above, will He think it’s funny? Do you expect Him to say “It doesn’t matter that your dressed like a prostitute, you’re just having fun with your friends.” Will He look at your children, evoking imagery of paganism or mass murder and think they’re cute? It you think He will, then you and I follow a very different Jesus.
However you celebrate Halloween is up to you. But, remember that you’re still a Christian on Halloween the same as you are on Christmas. Too many believers flirt with the line of heaven and hell in todays world. This issue is even creeping into churches themselves. Should a church host a Halloween party? Should children be allowed to dress as a heretic because they “don’t know better?” Even locally, I’ve seen people ask if there’s a church that will be showing the movie ‘Hocus Pocus’ for Halloween. I can’t fathom why people would think it’s acceptable to watch a movie about paganism while setting in a house of God.
The extent to which paganism is allowed to infiltrate a church will be up to its minister. I would argue for not allowing anything antibiblical within the confines of the church. If children “don’t know better,” take this time to educate them; The adults as well while you’re at it. The body of Christ desperately needs sound biblical doctrine. To many churches are caving to the pressures of the world to try and stay relevant. Abandoning biblical principles to appease the world is possibly one of the most antichrist things you can do.
Instead of wearing an inappropriate Halloween costume to have fun with your friends, consider dawning the full armor of God so you can fight the good fight, and live to see the kingdom of Heaven prosper against evil.