[In] evangelical congregations…—at the end of October, at least—a “Christ against culture” spirit takes over for a week or so. As a counter-celebration, churches often put on “harvest festivals.” Kids may dress up in Pilgrim-like or patriotic garb—but none of the typical Halloween fare.
I wonder about this each year. And I typically get asked as Halloween approaches what I think about the way the day gets celebrated. Evangelical kids know all about the Halloween imagery and practices, and they often pressure their parents to let them wear a costume to a public school party, or to go trick-or-treating. Parents are often relieved by the opportunity to redirect their children’s attention to a “harvest festival” kind of event. But they still feel the Halloween pressure, and are not always sure what to say, beyond “It’s a pagan thing, and we are Christians.”
…The Christians who are worried about Halloween and all it stands for are struggling with different aspects of evil. They are wondering how to raise their children in a culture that often seems opposed to what they stand for. They are nervous about what reading Harry Potter and vampire stories might be doing to the souls of their offspring….
And as to what Halloween stands for. Not so much really, just humanity’s ancient fascination with ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night, and, of course, the opportunities presented for a party in a world where, just for an hour or two, people can pretend that the ordinary rules don’t apply.
And then from ‘Invisible Woman’ in the Guardian:
I am not privy to the thought processes of supermodels (thank God), and I cannot for the life of me think what was running through Heidi Klum’s head when she came up with the idea that dressing as an old woman was an amusing concept for Halloween. Heidi is well-known for going the full nine yards on All Hallows’ Eve. She’s been Clive Barker’s Hellraiser (or Gunther von Hagens’ flayed body, depending on your cultural references), the Hindu goddess Kali (managing to offend an entire religion) and now she’s given us what currently terrifies the western world beyond all reason – age.
Yes, there are cultural differences at play here – dressing up for Halloween in the US does not necessarily mean witches, vampires and Frankenstein – but it’s hard to see this stunt as anything other than ill-judged and offensive. There is a fine line here and Klum has crossed it….
To repeat myself, good lord.