Apparently, some of my friend's friends were shocked by Piper's somewhat laissez faire approach to Halloween. Of course, Piper is an American, and within American culture Halloween has occupied a very different place from that which has historically been the case in the UK. A watershed for us was when the ET movie came out, and suddenly the 'Americanization' of Halloween began to happen in the UK - now it is a huge deal, at least commercially, and our shops are at the moment packed with ghoulish attire.
So what should our response be?
Well, I am inclined towards Piper's relaxed attitude on this one. I think it is an area where Christians can look very foolish when they have an overheated reaction. As I have written elsewhere, my belief in the supremacy of Christ over all things means I don't need to get in a panic about Halloween. However, as a parent, and as a Christian, I would have the following rough framework:
- I wouldn't let my kids go out trick or treating. I don't like the way it seems to be begging for stuff, and I know that for some people (especially the elderly) it can be intimidating to have kids banging on their doors asking for sweets.
- When other peoples kids knock on our door we give them something - not a tract about the evils of the occult, but some sweets or cake. Why? Because it is an opportunity to demonstrate grace and generosity.
- I have pumpkins outside my front door. Not in celebration of Halloween, but because Daughter No.4 grew them, and they look good!
- I wish trick or treating was one habit we hadn't imported from the US!