Originally written in Oasis Magazine for St. Greg’s College Ministry.
It’s that time of the year; the dew is turning to frost, the leaves are changing, and Halloween candy has been in stores for at least three months. Ah, October, the start of the maddening holiday rush to Christmas. So while everyone is going nuts about pumpkin spice lattes and what they should be for Halloween, there are a few things you should consider.
1. Halloween’s history. I honestly couldn’t write anything better than this article about the history of Halloween. I highly recommend you check it out. It’s a complex history but essentially, Halloween is Catholic in origin. Say what? Yes. All Hallows Eve is a celebration before All Saints Day, a festival that goes back to the dedication of the Pantheon from the pagan gods to the Martyrs of the Church. Fr. Steve, the author of the article, makes a familiar comparison, “Halloween is the precursor to All Saints Day and as such is kind of like what December 24th is to Christmas Day.” All Saints Day being a Holy Day and All Souls Day the day after that, are really where the meat and potatoes are; keeping in mind those living way past the humanly shelf life in Heaven.
It wasn’t until much later that we started getting all of the ghouls and freaky stuff attached to it. Today Halloween is just the secular and commercialized farce of what it’s suppose to be. Much like other Church celebrations like Easter and Christmas.
2. The Occult isn’t cool. You like scary movies? A lot of people like a good thriller, especially around this time of the year. Here’s how this plays out. You watch something spooky, then try walking across campus, at night, with the wind, and wolves howling, get lost, then you decide to split up with your group to find a better way, find a scary door to go through, then that Thing gets you with a chain saw. Yep. Fun!
There is a lot of scary fiction out there. What’s even scarier is the fact. Movies like “Ouija” have spurned people to the thrill of the game. The reality is when you open yourself to such spiritual inclinations, the spirits will use you and find a home. Exorcists are real in the Church for a reason, people face serious spiritual problems from dabbling in the occult. It becomes a downward spiral.
Check this out in Matthew 12:43-45,
When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.
If that’s not scary enough for you, try the account of Legion in Mark 5: 1-20. It goes like this. A man was possessed by demons who howled and walked among the graves. He could not be contained by the locals, even with chains. He came to Jesus and when asked what his name was, “Legion is my name, there are many of us.” Legion pleaded with Jesus not to send them away and asked if they can go to the swine instead. Jesus let them and they possessed the herd of two thousand pigs nearby who proceeded to jump over a cliff and drown. Creepy. Imagine witnessing that? The man was saved and proceeded to tell the work and power of Jesus.
You will find power coming from two sources. God the Almighty and the Devil. If it’s not from God, it’s of the Devil. Seances, witchcraft, mediums, ouija, tarot, and more can open the door. Use your conscience. If something doesn’t seem right at a party this fall, stay away from it. Don’t let the first of Legion in the door. Remember, God’s power is unlimited and can bring you joy. The Devil’s, while limited, will seek to consume you through deceit and only you can let him in.
3. Modest is hottest. Be reasonable and be mindful of who God made you to be. It can be fun to run around like Hei Hei the chicken from Moana. Just don’t sell yourself short and use Halloween as an excuse to be something you’re not and dress up as a sexy whatever. Yes, I’m talking to you frat guy in the kitten skivvies. Enjoy but don’t sell out.
At the end of the day, keep in mind that this season belongs to God. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do to the glory of God.” 1 Cor 10:31