28th October 2023



As we near Halloween, many Episcopalians no doubt recall this well known versicle and response from a vintage Anglican litany for children.

Why I don't agree with Halloween

Let me explain why I don't agree with Halloween:
First, Halloween deceives us about evil.

It creates a cartoon vision of evil as trivial, harmless fun that no one could possibly see as a threat.
Yet all evil is serious and any messing with supernatural evil particularly so. To fool around with evil is a fool's game.

Second, Halloween distracts us about evil.
It presents evil in terms of the obvious and the spectacular; things that proclaim their identity with fangs and claws, cackles and cloaks.

Yet evil is at its most seductive when it is silent and subtle.
The most dangerous evils are not clumsy figures in skeleton outfits knocking on your door; they are infinitely better disguised.
In the real world the most deadly evil doesn't turn up with nocturnal cries of 'Trick or treat!'

Instead it tiptoes around unannounced in broad daylight.
It is there in the sudden opportunity to lie, gossip, slander or steal.
The problem with the road to hell is that it never states its destination.

By focusing on the recognisable and the grotesque, Halloween obscures the fact that most evil wears a charming face.

Finally, Halloween denies the defeat of evil.
In Halloween, supernatural evil is presented as unchallenged and victorious.

Yet as a Christian I believe that that's only half of the story and the darkest half too.
The reality is that evil has been defeated at the cross and that one day the crucified King, Jesus Christ, will return and abolish even the memory of it forever.
That, not Halloween, is the story that I want to celebrate.

Reverend Canon

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