Saturday, October 30, 2010

Defending Halloween

" night a year the world seems to become re-enchanted. Halloween night feels different. That night is spooky and menacing. For one night a year we go back in time and become medieval again. That's what makes Halloween so interesting. It's the last vestige of the Dark Ages. Smack in the middle of our disenchanted modernity." --Richard Beck

This past week, Richard Beck has written a series of posts on the healthy aspects (candy aside!) of Halloween:

It’s October. And that means I face the yearly question from students: “How should Christians respond to Halloween?” There’s an interesting conversation to be had about Halloween. A place to explore the intersection of faith and culture. To add my voice to that conversation I’d like to offer some psychological observations in defense of Halloween.

Psychologically, I think Halloween performs two important functions. First, Halloween allows us to collectively process our eventual death and mortality. The graveyards, corpses, blood, skeletons, and coffins of Halloween allow us, on a yearly basis, to confront our physicality and work through our largely repressed fear of death. In this, Halloween serves an important existential function. Second, Halloween allows us to work through our fears of the uncanny, the things that go bump in the night. This is the second major theme of Halloween, which manifests itself in Halloween’s evening and monster motifs, the bats, owls, ghosts and goblins. The world is a scary place at times, a strange and mysterious place, and we tend to fill its dark corners with “monsters.”

Read the series here. And while you're there, check out his fascinating series on The Theology of Monsters (one of my favorites).

Our family's traditions: carving pumpkins, eating popcorn and drinking cider, and roasting pumpkin seeds.

     Jacque and Pierre

 Jack doing the popcorn on the nose trick

However you celebrate this time of year, I hope you enjoy time with family and friends!

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