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Websites offer Hallowe’en alternatives

25 October 2013

by Paul Wilkinson


Showing heart: Hope, a young girl living in Uganda, with one of World Vision's "lanterns of hope" 

Showing heart: Hope, a young girl living in Uganda, with one of World Vision's "lanterns of hope" 

AS MANY children in the UK prepare their costumes for a night of trick-or-treating, a number of Christians are speaking out about the dangers of regarding Hallowe'en as an innocuous social event.

J. John, of the charity the Philo Trust, has published a pamphlet on the Trust website, philotrust.com, suggesting that Hallowe'en is not as harmless as many people think. He writes that Hallowe'en is: "An event that glorifies the dark, creepy, and scary side of life. Children and adults dress up as figures that are 'evil'. . . This is hardly harmless." On this one day, he says, we "glorify everything that is evil and unpleasant".

In York diocese, the children's and youth-work adviser, the Revd Nigel Chapman, has drawn together a list of websites to provide ideas for an alternative Hallowe'en event. They can be found at http://eepurl.com/GfFqr.

In Ireland, one Roman Catholic diocese has accused traders of insulting Christians if they sell "Jesus costumes" for Hallowe'en fancy-dress parties. Although most high-street shops have refused to stock a particular €39.99 costume, which includes a long robe, a a false beard, and a crown of thorns, several street markets and websites are selling them.

Fr Tom Deenihan, of the diocese of Cork & Ross, said: "It is truly regrettable and sad that, for commercial purposes, the death of Christ and the feast of All Saints should be used to ridicule the Passion of Christ and reduce its depiction to a horror costume."

The aid charity World Vision is asking people to make the day a time to remember children who are living in fear, by carving a heart on their pumpkins instead of a ghoulish face.

It wants people to turn the evening into a Night of Hope. Its UK chief executive, Justin Byworth, said: "As a Christian and a dad, I know how difficult it can be to find a suitable way to get your family involved with Hallowe'en.

"By asking people to carve a heart into their pumpkins, we'll not only provide an alternative for hundreds of Christians, but also create an opportunity to show how much we care about children living in fear every single day."

Question of the week: Should churches do more to discourage Hallowe'en celebrations?

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