Thursday, October 27, 2005

The real issues with Halloween

Catez Stevens shares an interesting persepctive on Halloween, which only in very recent years has begun to be recognized in her native New Zealand:
My main objection to Halloween is that it is a cultural imposition driven by financial profit. It's also focused on kids getting something. We have no tradition with this event - and for the kids here it is all about what they will get, as is very evident when they knock at the door. Except that my door has a "No trick or treating here. Please do not disturb" sign on it. Because if I'm going to spend money on kids I don't know it will be kids who have nothing to eat, not kids who already have plenty. Businesses want me to spend. I'm not playing along, no matter how hard they try to market it as some new aspect of our culture.
Catez makes a point more North Americans need to recognize: for Christians the biggest problem with Halloween is not the veneer of ghosts and goblins, but the underlying themes of greed and consumerism.

That said, my wife and I still plan on taking our boys trick-or-treating this year. Theoretical considerations aside, it's one of the best ways we've found for meeting neighbors we wouldn't otherwise talk to. Frank Trexler, by the way, has posted many more ideas for building community.

6 Comments:

Blogger contratimes said...

I understand the rationale for the Christian roots for Halloween (All Soul's Eve, etc). I just loathe Halloween in its entirety. Truly, I try not to be a killjoy. It does smack of commercial exploitation; it seems utterly absurd and superfluous.

I am, indeed, a fuddy-duddy. But the money spent does drum up the economy, and the candy purchased for the event pays for jobs, healthcare, and property taxes, all of which support the lives we all like leading.

What to do?

BG

8:21 PM, October 27, 2005  
Blogger Catez said...

Milton that may be the case for you but we have no tradition of Haloween here - and there are plenty of ways to talk to our neighbours. We don't need Halloween as an excuse.

Personally I've been involved in street bbq's, or inviting the neighbours over for a bbq annually, and of course inviting a few at other times for dinner. It does require risking a "no" in response to an invitation. You do as you see appropriate in your culture - but I don't buy that Halloween is necessary in mine, or that it's one of the few ways one can meet the neighbours. I know my neighbours and have never celebrated Halloween.

Main point - my post is not about America. It's about my own country and the cultural imposition of something purely commercially driven.

9:53 PM, October 27, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Good questions, Bill. I agree with you on Halloween. Aside from meeting neighbors (and as Catez points out, there are better ways to do that), I don't like Halloween, either. Same thing for Christmas as celebrated in the U.S., although I don't get to meet neighbors then. Peace.

6:45 AM, October 28, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for your insightful post and your comments, Catez. Peace.

6:46 AM, October 28, 2005  
Blogger Catez said...

Hi Milton,
I commented in a rush as my computer monitor was making cracking noises (like lightning does) - and sure enough just after I commented it really cracked and then died. Now commenting with a new monitor. All of that is to explain the abrupt end to my first comment!

Peace to you too, and thanks for mentioning the post.

9:00 AM, October 28, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

No problem. Glad you got a new monitor, Catez.

2:55 PM, October 28, 2005  

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