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Faith Matters: Have we been tricked by the treats?

Brent Christian
Hot Sulphur Springs Community Church

Halloween is upon us once again with all the traditions we have become accustomed.

For some, this spooky holiday is nothing more than silly costumes, candy, and a time to “have some fun” ” though I must say that the theme of death that serves as a backdrop for Halloween is an odd way to have “fun.”

For others, who embrace the Celtic festival Samhain (from which our version of Halloween has descended), more is involved. Rowan Moonstone, a self-titled witch, points out that “many followers of various pagan religions, such as Druids and Wiccans, observe this day as a religious festival, a night to practice various forms of divination concerning future events.”



If you are part of the 64.5 percent of Americans who will spend tonigth celebrating Halloween, I simply ask why?

Tracy Mullin, President of the National Retail Federation, explains that “consumers – who have been anxious and uncertain for the past several months – may be looking at Halloween as an opportunity to forget the stresses of daily life and just have a little fun.” Fun at the cost of an estimated spending of $5.77 billion in America alone. That’s right, Halloween is now the second highest money making holiday in our country a distant second behind the $450 billion spent at Christmas



(www.adventconspiracy.org), but nonetheless still second. In fact, an entire Web site is dedicated to making your Halloween more enjoyable, containing 101 Halloween tips, costumes that are “in” and “out”, special effects and prop ideas, and, of course, endless party ideas.

Perhaps we could say that some of us are a bit obsessed with Oct. 31. In the midst of a declining economy that has caused some of us to tighten up our budgets,

Halloween spending continues the steady upward climb. I guess Halloween spending doesn’t qualify for some of us as an unnecessary expense. A $5.77 billion expense?

This is all the more tragic for those of us who claim to follow Jesus and understand that everything we have has been given to us by God to use in a way that honors him. Everything we have belongs to him and is entrusted to us, as stewards of God’s gracious gifts (Psalm 24:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8-9). I don’t think that it takes too much creative thought to come up with some better ways to use the money God has entrusted us with.

Let me suggest just one way the $5.77 billion spent on Halloween could actually be re-directed in a way that celebrates life instead of death. 1.1 billion people in the world lack clean water. As a result of bad water, 1.8 million children die every year from chronic diarrhea. That’s 4,900 children every day. It has been estimated that $10 billion would provide clean water to everyone in need (www.water.cc). Instead of filling our children with sugar and being tricked into thinking that we have to spend $5.77 billion to have fun, perhaps we could train our kids to see the value in giving and experience the joy of giving. Instead of longing all year to get excessive amounts of candy perhaps our kids would begin to long all year to give to others in greater need than themselves. And perhaps in the long term, this would actually better prepare our kids (and us!) to become responsible adults not consumed by instant gratification.

Of course this is only one suggestion.

I’m sure if we really thought about it, we could come up with a whole list of needs both in Grand County and beyond. The bottom line is “it’s all in fun” is no longer convincing to me in light of all the needs surrounding us, in light of all the ways $5.77 billion could be used for the good of others and not consumed like a candy bar. So how are you going to spend Oct. 31 next year?


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