Neen-to-know basis: Hallowneen edition

Views 52 | Time to read: 4 minutes | Uploaded: 11 - 7 - 2018 | By: Nina Fox

Dear Neen,

I’ve always been afraid of the Halloween season. Not just because of the ghosts, goblins, and ghouls, but rather, because of the encroaching spiritual guilt. I know Halloween is no longer regarded as a Pagan holiday by most Evangelicals, but my sheltered upbringing makes participating in something so ethically grey difficult, even to this day. Now that I’ve moved away from home, I’ve made new friends who love Jesus but still adorn costumes and worship sat-- I mean eat candy and watch movies. How can I get into the Halloween spirit without my friends thinking something is up, and without feeling discolored by sin?

Spiritually Spooked

Dear Spiritually Spooked,

I can’t stress enough that you came to the right person for advice. Spiritual Guilt is my good friend, but like with most good friends, we all need our space sometimes. It can be hard to separate yourself from things you know are no longer relevant in society, while simultaneously respecting who you are and who you’d like to be. Halloween can be one of the most fun holidays if you give it a chance! Let’s explore some ways to get spooky without getting spooked.

First thing’s first: your costume. This is really the first opportunity to fall off the path of righteousness. Don’t be persuaded! You’ll want to avoid a lot of things, like something appropriative, something too scary or gory, any media references (those people are always at least a little shady), or worst of all, something… sexy. Many people may think that Jesus or Mary are safe costumes, but those people would actually be wrong. That turns your costume into a living idol, which (depending on your denomination) is a huge no-no. Some safe costumes include Martin Luther, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, Blaise Pascal, Dr. Gayle Beebe, or Mother Theresa. Alternatively, cut a bunch of holes in a sheet, cover yourself with it, and you’re the hole-y ghost! This may very well be the only safe pun.

Next, you’ll want to think about the activities you take part in. Thankfully, Halloween is on a Wednesday this year, and the dreaded Halloweekend has already passed, so there’s no opportunity for social sin in addition to all this ethical ambiguity. If we were allowed to live off-campus, a fool-proof idea would be to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters. Since we can’t, you have a few options. You could put up posters in your dorm with your room number on it, saying you’ll be giving out candy. This could be a bit pricey, so you could either a) deal with it since you go to Westmont and it’s fairly likely that you come from money, b) split the candy up with Bible verses that you write on little slips of paper, or c) cut every piece of candy into smaller pieces. If you don’t want to encourage people to come knock on your door, you can also get together with your friends, eat some snacks, and watch a Halloween-themed movie. The key to picking a good Halloween movie is to first imagine watching it with your parents. If you feel anything other than great about that, pass. Make sure not to go for anything too scary, either. A good gauge is anything as scary as Nightmare Before Christmas or worse, avoid. Even Charlie Brown gets a little too spooky for me sometimes.

The final trick to being religiously sound on the spookiest day of the year is to remain faithful. The last thing you want to do is completely cut ties with everything you were raised to be. This looks different for everyone, but here are a few of my suggestions. Keep your Bible on your person all day and hold it for comfort when you get scared. You can even try reading it, too! You could also call your parents or home pastor periodically throughout the day. I’ve heard they give good advice sometimes. Finally, and most importantly, watch your candy intake. The worst way to be a spiritual disappointment is by being a glutton and eating too many sugary sweets.


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