Home > Culture, Mallinak > Is Halloween a Guilty Pleasure?

Is Halloween a Guilty Pleasure?

October 22, 2009

Every year at about this time, I find myself re-amazed at the amount of money and effort people in Utah put into decorating for Halloween. But this year especially, I am beyond re-amazed. In a bad economy, as people lose their shirts and undershirts to the stock market, as businesses fold, and as unemployment rates spike, Halloween Stores are popping up all over town, filling every vacant store they can find.

Is there really that much demand for Styrofoam gravestones and inflatable monsters? As I drive around, I find that yes in fact, there is that much demand for it. Utah has several cultural oddities, but Utah’s fetish with all things Halloween just might be the most glaring obsession of all. What gives with that?

As Christians, we must remember that men become what they worship. People who worship a god that has eyes but see not, that have ears but hear not, that have mouths but speak not, become just like that — sightless eyes, speechless mouths, just like their gods of stone (see Psalm 115 and 135). Only in this case, we are confronted with a god who is the brother of Satan, and who demands from his worshippers, not groveling at the feet of a stone god, but rather a strict adherence to a very rigid set of “traditional values.”

In their system, righteousness comes by the law. And, since righteousness by the law is an impossibility (Galatians 2:16; Acts 13:38-39), it can never produce redemption or rest. The only thing that “traditional values” can possibly produce is guilt (Romans 3:20; James 2:10). What we have then, among the practitioners of the local religion, is a religion that is laden with guilt. One pastor rightly compared it to the Salt Lake — an enormous dead sea of guilt. It is their “traditional values,” their commitment to righteousness by the law that generates this Salt Lake of guilt. Their “values” produce such a weight, such a burden of standards that the load of guilt crushes them.

So, what do we make of Halloween in Utah? Why is it celebrated so furiously? Besides the fact that they are celebrating their lord’s next-of-kin, we can also say that this is their way of dealing with their guilt. I suppose that we could make the same comparison to slavery — men find odd ways to put a positive spin on their condition. Even in slavery, men still found a way to be happy. A man who is enslaved by guilt soon finds a way to enjoy it, even to make it seem like this is the way it is supposed to be.

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  1. October 26, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    It is the same here, I don’t know if it is a Catholic thing or not, I do know that it is celebrated along with the “Day of the Dead”, I believe that is what Nov 1 is. I get wished a Happy Holiday for it all the time at work from the Hispanic population.

    I think Halloween is more of celebration of evil, then anything. It is often easier to live with evil then goodness. Your not expected to be good for Halloween, but you are for Christmas, thus many rival in the comfort of their sin.

    I on the other hand choose to rival in the comfort of Reece’s pumpkins, and any other form of chocolate.

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