“Happy Halloween!” Isn’t this an ironic greeting on a day filled with ghosts and goblins and  meant to conjure up our most horrible fears and anxieties? As you know, Halloween began as “All Hallows Eve”, the night before All Saints Day, when the church celebrates the lives of those who are now in Heaven with God. It was supposed on that All Hallows Eve that the souls of the damned rose from the grave, and being denied entrance to Heaven, roamed the earth as ghosts, goblins, witches and other agents of the Devil to bring fear into the hearts of the living. So people began dressing in such costumes to scare people and threaten them with devilish “tricks” if they were not given “treats.”

 

So if you are so unfortunate as to live on Forest Avenue in Frankfort, where you must host seven or eight hundred Trick-or-treaters on Halloween, just remember that these darling children in their clever costumes represent the evil souls of those not allowed in Heaven and be sparing in your treats. I recall as a child wearing my pirate costume and saying “trick or treat” at the door of an elderly neighbor. He came and said, “A pirate, eh? You deserve only one soda cracker, matey, but I’ll give you two.”

 

Halloween is the product of our historic faith, but it is also a lesson in faith. How does a Christian deal with fear, terror and unthinkable horrors, so common in the world today?  Most people escape into their own happier world by watching football games, the World Series, or enjoying the innocence of costumed children on Halloween. But faith is always addressing fear. At Jesus’ birth, the angels said to the shepherds, “Fear not….” At the tomb of Jesus, the angel’s first words to Mary were, “Do not be afraid.”  The 23rd Psalm includes the phrase, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”

 

Fear is a basic emotion, encouraging us to run away from an enemy or wild animal. It gives us energy. But let us use that energy for good, and let faith truly matter in our lives, knowing God stands with us, even as we face our worst nightmares. It is only by faith that we can say: “Happy Halloween!”

 

Rev. Ned Edwards, Author