Death and sex for kids—Halloween is scarier than ever. Given the trends, there is little wonder why many Catholics hold Halloween as more trick than treat nowadays.
One of the wildest perversions of the Christian calendar is that the holy day before All Saints Day, All Hallows’ Eve, is now an unholy day of fear and lust. Halloween is not about fear. It is about fearlessness and freedom: freedom from the fearful chains of death in the victory of Christ. Halloween is not about lust. It is about love: love for one another as fellow travelers to the grave and in the One who made the grave lead to eternal life.
The demons, however, know what they are doing. Fearlessness and love have become fear and lust leaving Halloween as a sickening and shocking affair of innocents pantomiming as succubi and serial killers: an adult carnival of death and sex for kids that is practically impossible to shut out, and therefore in absolute need of active restoration.
The Satanic Strategy
Though Halloween is a day to celebrate freedom from the forces of evil, those same forces have strategically claimed it as their own. Halloween is a potentially edifying and joyous holiday, and that is precisely why it has been targeted. Traditional ghosts and goblins are too suggestive of a realm that defies the material ideals of a self-obsessed world that has abandoned Christ. With this loss, society is reverting back to the vulnerable darkness of pre-Christian eras, giving the devil renewed sway.
Practically gone are innocent depictions of supernatural beings that inspire laughter and smiles. Instead, the images of Halloween are fraught with a disquieting ugliness, genuine horror, and pornography. As the culture moves further and further from Christ, the One Source of life, so it becomes more out of tune and permeated with the powers that Christ overcame—with death. Halloween is one of the storm centers, offering now an exaltation of evil rather than a derision of it.
The secular (or even satanic) Halloween agenda is bent on the disfigurement of folklore traditions, turning the mysterious into the mutilated. This deformity and destruction focuses on purely physical nature—both the scary and the seductive—leaving out any hint of the spiritual and devaluing those physical things that participate closely in the sacred. This is a reason for the concentration on slasher violence, sadism, and sex: the fascinations of fallen nature. Conventional ghouls and their implications are rapidly becoming extinct, which might comfort parents who are dubious of ghostly inclusion in their Halloween observances. Better ghosts and goblins than zombies and go-go girls.
Blood and Sluts
Halloween is all about fun and games, but that does not mean it is safe. Wearing a costume is very meaningful and even powerful for children, allowing them to assume a role, an alter ego. Dressing up is an affective experience not to be taken too lightly because dress-up can make an impression on the young who are the most impressionable. One of the problems with Halloween is that it is an adult event pawned off for children, delving into themes that are mature and beyond the ken and contexts of childhood.
Miniskirts. Bare midriffs.Corselets. Six-year-old chambermaids. The costume trend for little girls at Halloween is almost wholly centered on slinkiness and sexuality. Practically gone is the innocence of princesses and pumpkins. Now there are Goths, Monster High, and a prostitute version of every character imaginable from witches to nuns. All is risqué, salacious, and suggestive. The cultural sexualization of our little girls is no secret, but at Halloween it takes on an openness that is bizarre. For many, Halloween is a time to self-express without limits, and perhaps the sexy styles that are pushed and paraded are the collective unconscious end of the sexual agenda of the times. It is naïve to think that it is all innocent fun. The overt sensuality of girls’ costumes devalues sex and degrades femininity, encouraging women to be true objects of horror: pieces of meat on display in a butcher shop.
Then there are the boys’ costumes. Leatherface. Jason. Freddy. Michael Myers. Six-year-old ax murderers. Little boys’ interests are concentrated on gore, violence, torture, and psychosis: a theme bolstered by many video games and movies. Like the devaluation of sexuality with the girls’ costumes, boys’ costumes trivialize morality and human dignity—the very cultural attitude that excuses atrocities from porn to abortion. Halloween is now another player in a secular scheme to shift from the suggestions of life after death, religion, or the soul. Instead, crude, vulgar, and corporal nature is stressed, distracting people with pounding pulses rather at the expense of experiencing profound truth in a playful, yet powerful, medium. Images of violence always require emotional numbing, actually creating symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress. A regular dose of graphic violence renders people less sensitive, eventually forming a people who are emotionally numb and men who are truly monsters.
The Sacred Solution
Like any Christian festival or custom, the value of Halloween lies in its pedagogical influence. The supernatural themes of Halloween should renew the idea of eternal life, that death is stripped of his sting. Fear should not be celebrated. It should be mocked, made playful and foolish. Halloween is an invitation to recognize the Good King’s jest in the smile of the skeleton, recognizing life after death as opposed to simply the living dead.
Since the festivities of Halloween are so established, Christians bear a duty to defend their children and their Faith from the corruption rampant in current vogues, and replace base ugliness with the mysterious flavor and flair of the spiritual. The emphasis should lie not on fear, but on mystery, magic, mirth, and the miraculous. Believers do not fear death; and so should fight those powers that declare death ultimately fearful. It is not wrong or necessarily harmful to experience and enjoy the catharsis of fear or the thrills of the unknown, but, like all emotions, excess leads to desensitization.
Of course, there is the prevalent problem of Catholic kids encountering those miniature, blood-spattered murderers and fairy-tale folk in fishnet stockings. Beware. Children have no framework to process such jarring attacks on innocence, and should be shielded. To counteract such displays and their subconscious ideology, families should approach Halloween from a merry, mystical point of view, with laughter and liturgical levity; and thus make their observations a wholesome holiday rather than an unwholesome revel in the macabre.
Editor’s note: The above image is a scene from the 1966 animated television movie “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”