I think there has been lots of progress in the church since I first became a Christian. We no longer judge a woman’s spirituality by the length of her earrings. Most of us accept that other doctrines and religions deserve, at the very least, our respect. We now very rarely think that a member of the youth group needs to be released from oppression just because they don’t want to play that game where we have to pass a balloon to each other through our legs. And if we are still struggling with where we are on LGBT, at least we are less likely to chase a gay person out of church with a flaming torch.
However, I have not budged at all on Halloween. I am not convinced by its claims to be a funky, family affair. Growing up in church, I was taught that it was not a good thing. Nothing has made me think any differently. I still can’t bear it. Why? How long have you got?
It is now sold as funny and cute. It is not funny and cute. It smacks of bullying. Give me treats or you will get yours old lady. I dislike the dressing up. What is good about dressing as a blood covered zombie? Or a battered corpse? The violent undertones make me slightly queasy. That is before you get to the highly sexualised clothes that girls are wearing (It’s always girls – never chaps) Sexy Zombie in stockings or ghouls etc. Often these girls have fake blood and cuts and bruises etc. Who is that playing to?
We had some kids turn up at our house the other year in Scream masks -with fake knives. Really? Turn up at Aged Parent’s house like that and I’ll give you something to scream about.
I also resent the way Halloween has been allowed to usurp Bonfire Night. I grew up with Guy Fawkes being the last great national celebration before Christmas. I know that we need to be careful about being too celebraty about an event where several people were tortured to death after trying to overthrow the government. But it is a huge historical event, where democracy triumphed – part of our amazing history. We used to celebrate it by gathering together round bonfires, wearing bobby hats and scarves and eating lovely food. It’s so rare to find a community bonfire now. We seem to have put all our efforts into huge expensive firework displays or dragging our kids round the streets in terrible witchy dresses.
There is one more thing about Halloween that makes me uncomfortable. I am old fashioned enough to believe that not all of it is good fun, that there are things in this world that are not good for us and should be avoided. There is an undercurrent of “bad” to the whole thing, that I could do without.
I understand that for our American friends, the whole thing is far more wholesome and family orientated – which is nice. And I am aware, of course, that without Halloween, ET would not have been able to disguise himself and go home. But I am going to let you keep this one for yourselves guys. You are Americans and that is lovely but I am a Brit and different from you. We don’t have to do all the things exactly the same do we?
So if you wouldn’t mind staying away from my door next Monday because I am a bit of a party pooper. Oh and while you are at it, if in a couple of months you knock at Martha Towers to “Carol Sing” you better make sure you know more than the line “Away in a Manger….” which you then follow with an expectant stare because the likelihood is that this is another party I am going to poop.