A formal letter to the Halloween "Light Party" Organisers
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
Every year, on the 31th October, all the Churches in my hometown synergise together and put on an event called the “Light Party”. Yes, this event has been occurring for some ten years and is on the same day as Halloween. Why is this festivity on Halloween? Well, I’m told that “it’s the positive alternative to Halloween”... and “it’s a way to keep the kids safe by keeping them off the streets away from harm’s way!!”
However, after this expensive local Selwyn Park carnival, I usually encounter new families within the week, where I ask the kids what they liked about the “Light Party”, and every year it’s always the same: “Halloween was amazing!!! Food, fun, games, rides, face painting… I get to dress up as a Witch (contrasted to Johnny: I get to be a Vampire!!!) Oh boy, I can’t wait to do Halloween again next year!!! Gosh, I LOVE HALLOWEEN!!!”
And so there is the problem: in the families and children’s eyes, the Church has just funded an awesome day of Halloween. In fact they don’t even know that the Church funded the event at all!!! It was just another part of the Halloween celebration… and if you want to know my response: “What the…!!!???”
Additionally, I have spoken to a few Pastors over the years about the focus of this “Light Party” event… where I’m recently informed that there is to be NO mention of Jesus, because mentioning “Jesus” could be considered “offensive”!!! Now, I’m not sure about you, but not only does this reinforce “Halloween”… yet again… but it sounds very strange indeed that a Church wants to remove anything to do with Jesus.
What is Halloween?:
“Halloween”, aka “Hallo Eve”, aka “All Saints Eve”, is the “Eve” (the "Evening") before “Hallo Day”. In other words, this celebration is held on the “Ween” (another term for “Eve”) before “Hallo Day” (also known as “All Saints Day”).
In historical terms, this annual tradition was to celebrate the “darkness” before the “light”… recognizing that there are goblins, demons and evil spirits in the world… potential entities that could destroy the harvest crops that the people depended upon for living. This ‘festivity’ would then continue into the next day (where the name would then change to “Hallo Day”) to show that despite the evils in the world, God brings goodness and light. “Hallo” (which means “Holy”) would be celebrated by the community in a different way.
Sadly, it would appear that we have forgotten to celebrate “Hallo Day”.
I am proposing an alternative to the alternative.
(1) Educate the community with what “Hallo-ween” means. This could mean putting a notice in the local newspaper encouraging parents to be more responsible with their children so as to protect them from “harm’s way” (seeing as this seems to be a reason from the Light Party Organisers). And then let the community celebrate this "Eve" tradition in whatever way they want… because it doesn’t look like it’s going to change.
(2) The Church subsequently funds (and celebrates) “Hallo Day”: doing all good things within the community… those good deeds with the neighbours… being the “light” within the town… and ending the day with the “Light Party" celebration… advertising Church life with food, feasting and entertainment, and even good teachings. A day that does not have to be PC (politically correct), but a day that celebrates the “Light”. Obviously everyone will know that this day is a Church Day celebrating “All Saints Day”, and can attend accordingly if they so wish.
Overall this should highlight the contrast between the two days, educating what is “darkness” and “light”… and should eliminate any perception that the Church supports all things evil.
With this mind, it is my hope that we will one day hear the words “Oh wow, I had a lot of fun… what a great day… I can’t wait until we do that again next year… Gosh, I LOVE HALLO DAY!!”