In Praise of Halloween

In response to those Christian voices who decry and denounce the celebration of Halloween, my friend Rev. Marie Mainard O’Connell (minister and unapologetic celebrant) penned this ode a few years ago. She has graciously allowed me to post it here.

I think it should be read aloud in the town square (if we still had such things) every year.

In defense and praise of Halloween!
Rally the hordes of children in masks! Man the doors with matriarchs armed by treats! Ignite the porchlights and set aside your drudgery –all Hallows Eve approaches!

And to the claim of satanic witchcraft and skullduggery—be ashamed! To the fears of the unknown neighbor, gain courage! Upon this one night children and goodwill take the streets to make known that there is still generosity and childlike wonder, joy in the asking and giving of hospitality, great good and even the Gospel to be shared in the breaking of chocolate and nougat cream, for Halloween approaches!

To my dear colleagues in ministry, preaching of fear and dismay, for Trunk or Treat parking lots that steal neighborhood walkers away, to those humbugs who douse lamps and pretend sleep or absence—awake! Now stirs in our consciousness a day where we may love our neighbors as ourselves through the gift of candy and greeting, of traditions and fun, to throw wide the door to Trick or Treaters large and small with welcome fit for Christ himself—dressed as a peasant fisherman, or perhaps a dinosaur.

For this is Halloween! Acknowledgement of mystery, of surprise and divinity, to honor the dead and admit mortality—Halloween! May those walking be blessed with safety, may those opening doors meet pleasure, may those with tricks be pricked with conscience and may all who deride stay silent!


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