Halloween – the rise of the witches or just another marketing ploy?

One of my friends commented last night how Halloween is becoming a big deal. Now living in my world of blogs, books and coffee shops I hadn’t noticed much about Halloween other than the sound of fireworks. Maybe if I’d been looking around on the bus to and from work instead having my nose stuck in a book, eating up the chance for some uninterrupted reading time I’d have noticed. Now that he mentioned it I have noticed Halloween things hanging outside people’s doors much like holly wreaths at Christmas, and that most shops have a large Halloween section. Tesco even having ‘Halloween sweets’ – looking suspiciously similar to the ones they sell at Christmas. On checking my email I discovered double nectar points on Halloween and Christmas present ideas. Is Halloween becoming as big as Christmas? Do we need to fear the rise of the pagans? Perhaps its just one of the many results of living in a rapidly becoming post-Christian (with a small ‘c’) country and that’s something Christians need to deal with and not start waving placards about witches everywhere . I suspect if has less to do with the popularity of witchcraft and more to do with the idolatry of the dollar (sorry seemed to fit well there). It seems that Halloween is just another marketing opportunity to get people to consume and spend, something else to compete with the neighbours over their Halloween party, costumes and decorations. Then those Halloween products are swiftly repackaged and rebranded for consumermas. And we’re being sucked in…

Late Addition…
Father Ted - down with this sort of thingFamily services in church are the ones I sometimes try to avoid, but are usually pretty good. This morning was dealing with the whole subject of Halloween and was really good. In playing up the consumer line I may have inadvertently been suggesting that all the witchcraft stuff isn’t a big deal. It is. Halloween is not harmless fun on either the consumer or the spiritual level, and we must be creative in our response as early christians tried to be in positioning all Saints Day over the pagan Samhain festival. Enough wikipedia links. A thoughtful and positive Christian response to Halloween would be helpful. More than the ‘down with this sort of thing’ approach., whilst not being watery and assuming there is nothing sinister at play. A guy in church told us how his kids don’t do ‘trick or treating’ but do ‘give a treat’ and give treats to the houses they visit. I thought that was pretty creative. I’m happy to welcome them, a wispa will do fine…


11 thoughts on “Halloween – the rise of the witches or just another marketing ploy?”

  1. Indeed, this year it’s been a nightmare. Last year at nursery I managed to dupe Daisy that Cinderella was a perfect character for Halloween. She told me yesterday that I was silly last year, it HAS to be scary. She thought we should just ‘pop into Tescos’, and buy a scary pumpkin she’d spied the other day.

    I fumbled through a ‘Jesus defeated scary things’ speech, it made no sense to her, I was embarrassing myself.

    I gave in and bought fake plastic scary teeth, they were 19p.

  2. It doesn’t stop at sweets… I nearly bought Halloween soup today. but I promise it was just because ‘Pumpkin and Pepper’ flavour sounded grrrrreat!

  3. Glad I was able to stir a rant in you moore!! Its been great reading your blog. Finally know who debbie is! Looking forward to reading some written genius!

  4. Eu amo o Halloween e minha data preferida!!
    Eu adoro me fantasiar, assisti o filme de terror e etc…
    Muito bom

  5. Hhm, from my perspective (as a lifelong Halloween enthusiast) Halloween has long been on the wane, I don’t think you have much to worry about.

    By the way, technically, Halloween is not a “pagan” holiday, as it was derived from European Gaelic traditions rather than Mediterranean Romanesque traditions.

    Christianity, being a derivative of Judaism, began in the middle-east. It’s a very different climate than that of Western Europe, and so it is less based on the agricultural seasonal celebrations than western religions.

    At any rate, Halloween is a great holiday, it’s a shame that corporate fear-mongering has led parents to shelter their children from a holiday that was, for a time, about the empowerment of the young.

    To celebrate Halloween is to hold a light against the dark.

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