Friday, 31 October 2014

Hallowe'en ain't what it used to be

Every year I say it, and every year it's truer. Amidst this wave of commercialism, we're losing the real meaning of Hallowe'en.

I remember the Hallowe'ens of my youth. Neo-paganism had barely been invented. The whole family would hide in the living room with a clove of garlic, a a crucifix and a borrowed exorcist. Then there were weird banging noises. And, by moving a glass around on the table, my great-aunt Edna would demand to know why we had sold off her best crockery.

And Edna wasn't  even dead.

You didn't get these big pumpkins in those days, either. We each were given a turnip to carve. At least, that's what they told us. In retrospect, what we were actually doing was peeling them. You ate a lot of turnips in the 1970s.

But now, it's been utterly commercialised. I blame that Jamie Lee Curtis. Until she got involved it was an innocent night of fearing the walking dead and sacrificing hamsters on the Five Knolls. But then she and her friends made it all look so attractive in that film, and we realised we needed to have kids in cute costumes and mass-murderers just like the States. And all the paraphernalia that goes with it - Hallowe'en cards, Hallowe'en trees, Hallowe'en plays in schools and Hallowe'en crackers.

See, deep down, I don't think there's that much threat from Hallowe'en - spiritual or otherwise. New-pagans can do whatever they do, kids can dress up as vampires - nobody's gonna be a devil worshipper as a result.

If the problem for some church leaders is that people seem more interested in ghostly cheap thrills than the deep, spiritual refreshment that you can take from the Christian religion - then maybe they should be on their knees praying for the kind of leadership and inspirational powers that can lead them to show that light is stronger than darkness, and that the greatest horror is overcome by the strongest love. The Christian message has at its heart a ghastly horror show, and a spiritual battle, where the devils were defeated, after all.

And if you want to see real, naked evil stalking the earth, you don't need to look at a kid walking up Crow Lane dressed as a witch, while her brother wanders around dressed as a giant pumpkin. Look at the hunger, the oppression, the actions of ISIS, the destruction of environments and communities where vested interests - regardless of political complexion - put power and money ahead of all else. That's real evil. Leave the kids alone. The Devil's busy elsewhere.

1 comment :

  1. Excellent points. Actually, for Catholics it's not Hallowe'en till tomorrow, 'cos we're celebrating All Saints on Sunday, and as Hallowe'en is of course All Hallows' Eve... yes, I know, I should get out more. Dressed as a giant pumpkin.


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