Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Halloween & Smut

Halloween decorations have invaded stores for a while now and it made me think about the changes that have happened over the last 30 years or so. When I was a kid [cue the 'old man' comments], Halloween was fun, not too macabre and not filled with sex or the occult. That isn't the case today.

Halloween has been taken over by the grotesque and by commercialized sex. What a shame! It is part and parcel of a culture that is stewing in a porn-injected understanding of sexuality and the human person. In many ways, other people are only pieces of meat for public display in modern culture.

Catholics should not participate in these sides of Halloween. Now, I am not saying that we should reject Halloween all-together, rather I am suggesting that we need to start to think about it now in order to plan on how we might redeem the good in it.

But, first, let us look at the bad, by way of introducing a few costumes.

I remember dressing up as a kid as a robot, superman, cowboy, etc. I also remember some ghosts, princesses, etc. But, I certainly don't remember the tawdry outfits that we have today.

WOMEN STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES. Who do you think designs all these "sexy" and "adult" costumes? It certainly isn't your neighborhood feminist, religious sister, or anyone else who respects women. It is someone who wants to use your beauty to incite lust in others. This not only is scandalous and sinful, but it is just downright nefarious.

MEN AREN'T OFF THE HOOK EITHER. You don't need to wear anything offensive or sexy either. The most offensive costumes I have seen were for men. Men do not need to parade themselves as objects of sex or evil either.

Think of it this way - what being would want men and women displaying themselves for others in bars, streets, and parties?
Hint - it ain't anybody in Heaven...

As you can probably tell, this really upsets me, because it is filtering into our kids lives and culture. Even small children's costumes have been sexualized (but as a father of four girls, you won't find any of them dressing up like tiny strippers, which they DO have).

So, what is a Catholic to do? There are some who say that Catholics should not partake in anything that has to do with Halloween, because of it's association with evil, the devil, and the occult. While we certainly shouldn't have anything to do with those things, we need not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are some good things about Halloween as expressed in these Catholic articles, which can be redeemed:
I make the following suggestions if you are going to participate in Halloween:
  • Wear an modest and appropriate costume if you dress up. Nothing "sexy" and nothing having to do with the occult. Make it fun or creative.
  • Learn the truth behind Halloween and share it with others.
  • Don't forget to celebrate All Souls and All Saints with even more gusto.
  • Be temperate at any celebration you attend.
  • If you have kids, teach them about the Catholic roots of the days surrounding Halloween, dress them appropriately as well, keep them safe, and don't expose them to the occult practices that surround Halloween.
  • Avoid the grotesque, terror, and horror of Halloween.
  • Pray for the souls in Purgatory and with the Saints in Heaven.
  • Don't let kids trick-or-treat without adults, late, or in unknown/dangerous places.
  • Don't watch horror movies or dabble in "games" that have occult origins, such as Tarot cards or the Ouija board.
  • Have fun, be creative and don't let the culture define your Halloween.


Shapes said...

So what about dressing up as a witch, which has always been associated with Halloween?

Marcel said...

I guess it all depends on what you are trying to portray. I know some Catholics who would put an all-out ban on witches. But, for me personally - I would be more moderate about it.

If the costume is playful and fun - think of a group dressing up like characters from Oz and you have someone as the Wicked Witch of the West, you would be ok. But, some are just over-the-top or too "sexy" for me.

Paul said...

I live in a small town in the Midwest. I have seen Halloween decorations (e.g., in people's front yards) becoming more common and sometimes more grotesque over the years. But I haven't seen this aspect of "commercialized sex" associated with Halloween at all. What do you mean specifically about "commercialized sex" being associated with Halloween? Is it just immodest costumes, or something else?

Faith said...

The classic one when I was growing up was putting a sheet over your head, cutting two eye holes and going as a ghost! I don't mind cartoony/fairytale occult. My daughter have gone as the Wicked Witch of the West and one as one of the professors at Hogwarts. My son was Harry Potter a couple years in a row (he looks kind of like Daniel Radcliffe!). I don't mind gruesome if done cleverly. One year my oldest son when he was getting to be too old to really go trick or treating had just seen MacBeth for the first time and was completely enamored with Shakespeare. He went as MacBeth, sporting a bloody dagger. but he recited famous lines from the play to earn his candy! I know people who cleverly dressed up as the headless horseman on Halloween and then went to an All Saints party the next day in the same outfit but played John the Baptist!

Marcel said...

Paul - it: s hard to buy a modest costume for women in most stores now.

allforleyna said...

Paul, when I was going through a store here in Denver, I couldn't believe that one of the female costumes is a wet's a fake visual obviously, but just as the article says, it's nefarious. And as I walked past it, I hear a mother pick up it by making a comment to her teen daughter, "how about if I wear this one" and her daughter says "I don't think so mom". Mom then responds "why not, they aren't mine." What a world we live in!

matthew Deptula said...

good points and hopefully more awareness will result. I go to Mount St Mary's University in Maryland and the Campus Ministry folks put on an event down the hill at St Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine. It is a hosted walk through the cemetery. At various points, the groups are greeted by college students dressed up as Saints who give a 2-3min lesson on living a life of virtue and pursuing heaven... it's still a night time walk through a cemetery, so it has a certain character to it, but they do an AMAZING job about it. Kids of all ages (7 to 70) go through it... they basically "baptized" the haunted house (as a friend put it)... check it out