Halloween is not everybody's favorite time of celebration. Some are offended or disgusted by Halloween. Others are merely indifferent. However the fact remains that Halloween exists in our culture and I believe that we all need to acknowledge this. Why should we celebrate Halloween, or at least accept Halloween uncomplainingly as a celebratory time for others?
In previous posts I have dealt extensively with the positve economic impacts of Halloween. The event is a major driver for the U.S. economy. There is miniscule negative impact to the economy if any at all. We should all heartily welcome positive contributions to our economy. Halloween encourages job creation and cash flow.
Solidarity of the community can be enhanced by celebrating a common event. The secularization of Halloween as opposed to holidays that have religious or politcal connotation allows for the inclusion of everyone. Churches, schools, organizations, and neighborhoods can all share the established traditions such as costumes, carnivals, and candy. Halloween can be a joyous time that brings people from many backgrounds together.
Opportunities for education and display of talents are made available by the festivities of the day. There are opportunities for teaching about the history behind the traditions of Halloween, safety, literature, and many other topics that lend themselves to the thematic content of Halloween. Even those who may not agree with some of the aspects of Halloween can open dialogue and instruction about their points of view. There are many creative outlets where talented individuals can contribute their skills in anything from sewing to cooking to performing. Halloween is a time when many people can put their special abilities to work.
The Halloween traditon is deepseated in the collective memory Americans and has expanded to other countries as well. The uniquely American aspect of Halloween is that the event has assimillated practices from many different cultures and combined the good traditions to make a day that is fun and memorable.
Why celebrate Halloween? Why should most of us be off on weekends or some other day of the week? Why should we celebrate Christmas, Independence Day, or Martin Luther King Day?
I think the answer to those questions is pretty obvious. We humans need special times of rest and celebration to enrich our lives. Life would be pretty humdrum without the special days. Throughout human history all cultures have set aside special days for feasting and celebrating. The schedule of holidays and special days is paced in such a way that they come at fairly regular intervals throughout the year. These special days are important for us. According to the Holy Bible, even God recognized the need for these special days as we see how many days of feast and remembrance were mandated by Jehovah Himself.
If Halloween didn't exist at the end of October, undoubtedly some other day of celebration would take its place. Call it Harvest Day, All Saints Day, or whatever you will. Revel in the traditions of Halloween-- it's a day unlike any other during the year. Let the kids have a good time. Feed the economy while you feed yourself some candy. If you don't like the imagery of evil, dress up like an angel or a character from history. Halloween is meant to be fun, and maybe just a little bit scary at times.