(Originally posted at ClobberBlog)
Or, how I went from anti-Halloween evangelist to sexy Roman goddess in less than ten years!
My family got most of our Halloween costume shopping done last week. This is the first year since our daughter was born that all three of us will be dressing up, and we’re looking forward to the festivities and fun. Our daughter is going as Tinkerbell. She picked out the costume herself because of the wings and was sorely disappointed when she put it on and discovered that it did not enable her to fly, but I think she’s going to enjoy it just the same. P. ordered a Dionysus costume because we figured that the irony of a Mormon dressing as a god associated with wine would be good for a few chuckles. I purchased a Roman empress costume as I figured it was about time I dressed as something that would play to my ridiculous height. I spent yesterday in the nursery of my church building with one of the elders leadership team members from my church, having her help me extend the costume by 4-5 inches so that the gown is now floor-length on me in 3.5″ heels.
This time ten years ago, I was a very different person. In October of 2000, at the age of 18, I was making a very strong showing of not celebrating Halloween. Not only that, I was doing everything in my power to evangelize other Christians to my cause.
Want to know what I was doing instead? (Get ready to roll on your floor laughing . . . )
On Tuesday, October 31, 2000, I hosted a “Harvest Festival” movie night at my home church in Sumner, Washington, complete with all of the food and goodies you could want. I was the main coordinator for the entire event. I assigned people to advertising it, I plugged for it in the Sunday morning adult and youth services, I rallied help with the decorations and the buffet, and I invited friends who were not members of my church to the event like crazy. When I advertised for the event, I talked about how dark and Satanic Halloween was and how Christians are called to be “in the world,” not “of the world,” how we ought to separate ourselves from the practices of the culture around us. Darned if I wasn’t good at it, too. We drew a pretty good crowd and I even suckered several Mormon and non-Christian friends into attending.
Oh, by the way, the movie we showed was Left Behind starring Kirk Cameron.
As you can see, a lot has changed about me in ten years. Namely, (1) I celebrate Halloween now, (2) I think Kirk Cameron is a nice guy, but a terrible actor, and would sooner stick a fork in my ear than sit through another one of his movies, and (3) I think 99% of Christian cinema is horrible and would sooner stick . . . oh. Right. Fork, ear, you get it.
The purpose of this post is to talk about (1). Many evangelicals do not like Halloween and choose not to celebrate it. Complicating this is the fact that Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, and many evangelical (and I suspect, LDS) families who would otherwise celebrate Halloween will be disinclined to participating in Sabbath day Trick-or-Treating activities.
To illustrate this, allow me to cite a letter that I recently found attached to the door of my on-campus apartment here at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School:
Dear On-Campus Apartment Resident:
This year Halloween falls on the last Sunday of October. As we have done in previous years, the University will allow the children on campus to go Trick-or-Treating in the apartment buildings.
The time from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 31st has been set aside for Trick-or-Treating in the on-campus apartments.
Enclosed with this letter is a picture of a pumpkin. If you would like to participate in Trick-or-Treating and pass out candy at your apartment, we ask that you hang this pumpkin picture on your door. This way parents and children will know which apartments are participating in the activity and they will not disturb those who are not participating.
We realize that Christians have differing opinions on Halloween activities. Please be sensitive towards your neighbor who may have a different conviction than yours. If you are planning to decorate your apartment door or windows, we ask that you do not have any decorations that are “non-Christian” or demonic in nature. Also, if you would like to display an actual pumpkin, it must be on your personal patio or balcony. Pumpkins are not permitted in the hallway or entryway area outside your front door.
Please Note: The Trick-or-Treating hours for the Bannockburn community are from 3:30pm to 7:00pm on Sunday, October 31st.
In the next post, I’ll cover the reasons why evangelicals usually oppose Halloween and explain how I came to reverse my position over the course of the past decade. I’ll also say a few words on the debate over Trick-or-Treating on the Sabbath.