Reflections for 10/29/2023
Holiday & Holy Days
When the end of October rolls around, it always feels like it is our “good Christian duty” to focus on the holy days of All Saints and All Souls and avoid discussing Halloween especially when at church. And I get it – it’s dark, it’s spooky, it’s mischievous. Halloween is made up of many things that feel like the opposite of Christ.
But there is a holiness to Halloween. It is, after all, the eve of two big celebrations that honor the holiness within our humanity – both as saints and as average souls. So even amongst the ghosts and goblins, the love of Christ shines through.
Where you might ask? Look no further than trick-or-treating. How many times in the year do we welcome strangers and their children up to our doors to share treats and friendly hellos? If you’re like me, Halloween is the only time. Annually we dip into our pockets to fund these goodies. No one asks us to do it. It is just a simple act of kindness done in the spirit of fun and community.
The tradition itself started in the early 1900s. Back then, Halloween in America was very different from what we know today. Kids and teens would dress up and roam streets vandalizing and outright harming members of their towns and in the small town of Hiawatha, Kansas, things were getting out of control. So in 1914, Mrs. Elizabeth Krebs came up with an idea. She hosted a Halloween Frolic for the children of her town. All were invited to dress up and attend the party instead of taking to the streets on October 31st. She held a costume contest with awards and each child who attended was given a treat to enjoy before they left. No one really thought this was going to work, but to their surprise it did and it began two of the most popular American Halloween traditions – trick-or-treating and Halloween parties. But more importantly, it changed Mrs. Krebs’ town for the better.
Her Halloween event is an enduring example of how one small act of kindness can transform those around you. One step toward being more like Christ can be the push someone else needs to show Christ in themselves. And it radiates through all that we do. No matter if it’s Easter or if it is Halloween.
So put out your pumpkins. Turn on your scary movies. But don’t forget to add that act of kindness – be it candy you share or company you ask over. You never know just how far that act of love will go. By the way, the Halloween Frolic Mrs. Krebs started – is still held annually in Hiawatha to this day.
– Erin Perkins