As I See It: The Church & Halloween By Rev. Stephen Camp


What’s all the fuss? Halloween is coming. Ghost and goblins abound. Kids are overwhelmed with candy and treats. But some in the church object, say it is a pagan or evil day of celebration. What’s all the fuss about?

Don’t they remember that Halloween is better known in the church as the eve of All Saints Day? All Saints Day began in the 7th century, a day to honor those who have died and in some understanding, in route to heaven. It primarily started out as a Catholic ritual but has moved through the church and particularly the Protestant church with differing variations. Don’t they remember that Halloween is really All Hallows Eve, or a day leading to the day when we remember the saints? Those who have gone on to their reward and remembered, and celebrated on this day.

Halloween is a day that has been commercialized to be sure, but it is a day in many parts of the church, to also remember those who have gone on to glory and in the presence of God eternally. Like the Christmas tree that many have in their homes during that season, and has little meaning other to remind us of the birth of Jesus. Halloween is a time that reminds us of those who have gone before us, saints who will not be forgotten or dismissed by time. Rather than fight the day we know as Halloween, maybe the church should give time to remembering the saints each year through our rituals and celebrations.

The real challenge of Halloween these days is to make sure that the candy our children receive is well inspected and deemed safe before any of it is consumed by our children. Unfortunately, Halloween has gotten a terribly bad rap given the news reports that surface almost every year, about injury and people doing evil things.

Maybe we could make the day in our community, in addition to the fun, make it seriously and intentionally a day to honor those who are deceased and have given in positive ways in our community. Maybe this is a day to remember our community leaders who have given so much to us and enabled our progress and now are resting eternally. Maybe it is a day to visit and remember the graves of those loved ones who have transitioned and tend to their resting place, clean off their headstones and burial sites, and thereby tending to our own fond memory of their life among us.  Over time people will ask you what’s the fuss about? You will be able to tell them that you are making Halloween a day worth fussing and remembering those who have gone on before you. That can’t be a bad thing.

Rev. Stephen W. Camp is a Hartford native and the senior pastor at Faith Congregational Church, UCC 2030 on Main Street, in Hartford, CT.
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