Halloween has its roots in the ancient Druid belief that one day out of the year the curtain between the earthly world and the world of ghouls and goblins was opened. With much of the myths of the world now laid to waste and forgotten, Halloween persists. Why is Halloween still so popular and why do people celebrate it with so much pomp and circumstance? Our fascination with fantasy begs an answer. Could it be a clue about the cosmic symphony of life? Or is just simply evil and should be looked at with contempt by Christians?
Many Christian regard Halloween as an evil holiday. If not evil, then too dark to celebrate. If not too dark to celebrate, then certainly not profitable for a Christian life. While the roots of the holiday can certainly be seen as a dark ancient myth, the modern Western celebration is mostly removed from its dark myth. The modern celebration of Halloween is more like a day of make-belief, one during which people assume alternate identities. Some may consider Halloween inappropriate for a Christian and so ignore it altogether. Others may celebrate it or at least acknowledge it. Whatever one’s inclination is, it’s interesting to simply acknowledge that Halloween still holds the attention of the Western world. Why is this so?
There are probably many cultural reasons why Halloween is still so prominent in the West. However, one can’t help but wonder whether one of the reasons is not due to humanity’s infatuation with ‘the story.’ What I mean by ‘the story’ is that internal feeling of reality being an orderly account of occurrences instead of a set of unrelated and completely coincidental events. Is reality a symphony – a harmonious narrative with the main theme, a plot, twists and turns, the imminent crescendo and a sublime conclusion? Or is reality a cacophony – a completely random set of events with no narrative, no theme, no ultimate purpose with a tragic conclusion?
There are good reasons to believe that Halloween points to life as a symphony and not a cacophony. These reasons are mostly intuitive. Considering the fact that we tend to see correlations in our lives, it’s easy then to see why those correlations and our intrinsic tendency to build narratives ourselves can point to this world which holds us as agents, may be the kind of world that itself is a coherent narrative. The alternative, of course, would be a meaningless world that gave rise to creatures who seek meaning and purpose – creatures imbued with abilities far superior to the world that created them.
There is an insatiable desire in us to seek wonder. At the same time, there is among many an eerie feeling that we are out of place in this world, that this is not really our home. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis famously said,
If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.
Maybe our fascination with the make-belief world of Halloween is an interesting clue. Maybe it demonstrates our deep-seated desire for the world to come, our final destination and our true home?
Arthur is an author, a former agnostic, and current ambassador of Jesus of Nazareth who loves to share the best of reasons for God's ultimate reality. His love and passion are helping skeptics and Christians grow in their faith and knowledge of God through accessible materials.
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