It seems that the Halloween decorating has been amping up in my little corner of the world for the past couple of years. What used to be the occasional skeleton or haybale with pumpkins seems to have morphed into the Fall Battle of the Griswolds.
For the most part, I have no problem with it. I like the elaborate fall decorations with the scarecrows, dried corn and garlands of fall leaves. I don’t really mind the giant spiders, witches who have crash landed in the front yards and giant inflatable vampire Mickeys (okay, that’s not true, vampire Mickey gives me the willies).
But there is one particular Halloween decoration in my neighborhood that just gives me the creeps. I’ve had my eye out to see if it was going up again this year and, this morning, it did.
Picture this: A group of five ghosts. They’re little and cute and adorable, being held up by sticks. All the ghosts are holding hands (via their little sheets being connected at the edges) so that they appear to be circling around a tree together.
I know. Not that horrifying, right? In fact, I’ve spent some time this morning wondering, just what it is about this house that gets to me? The best guess I can muster is that it’s the cute superimposed upon the creepy. That these sweet little things seem to be participating in something pretty ugly–some type of nature worship ritual.
In the midst of the good things that Christians are trying to do with the Halloween holiday (like show hospitality, remain true to our convictions, host Fall Festivals for the community or celebrate “Reformation Day“), there are still aspects of Halloween that, rightly, cause us concern (like this or this).
Over at his blog, Randy Alcorn writes in “A Perspective on Halloween“:
“Yes, I am well aware this is a controversial issue. In my opinion, it is often either overstated or understated. And yes, on Halloween we do give out candy generously, and we enjoy the kids’ costumes. For some Halloween is harmless. But there is another side to be aware of, which sucks in others.”
I think that may be it. Other believers probably drive by this ghosts-around-the-tree scene without batting an eye. But something about this particular decoration reminds me, in a pretty vivid way, that as much as we may try to redeem or reform or repurpose this holiday, there is a dark side to it. Demons are real. Satan prowls and he would pull our worship away from our Lord in any way that he could.
As Alcorn put it, I don’t want to overstate it or understate it. But those little ghosts this morning reminded me that it should at least be stated.