Bring on the blood, bring on the gore, Halloween doesn’t scare me anymore

It only took me 35 years to dress up for that evil, pagan holiday called Halloween. I was the proverbial Alice, lost in (Fundamentalist) Wonderland. I used to think Christians celebrating Halloween was comparable to Jews celebrating Hitler’s birthday. That mindset dies hard, baby.

This year something felt totally different. I wasn’t afraid. At all. Of ANYTHING.

Not even the gory, bloody ghosts and ghouls. My 13 year old daughter dressed up as a zombie ballerina and I was all: that’s so cool!


Because I’m no longer afraid of death.

Death is real, yes. But what is also becoming evermore real for me is that love conquered death. In my heart, the love of God is breaking like a morning sunrise. The brighter the sunshine of His love, the less I fear the valley of the shadow of death.

This year, in fact, I actually laughed and chortled and giggled with sheer delight at the haunted houses, the creepy villains, the grim reapers. I laugh because I know why the darkness rages: it’s been defeated. 

All the darkness can do is roar. That’s it. It’s powerless. O death, where is thy victory? O grave, where is thy sting?

What does the word “Halloween” mean? It means the night before All Saints’ Day. Who cares if Halloween has a “pagan” origin? In Christ, all things are made new. This is what Christians do: they flip the script. They take what was meant as a celebration of darkness and turn it into a victory dance.

All celebrations of darkness are shattered by the victory of Christ’s love.

There is nothing left to fear.

Last night, that became a reality for me.

I could look straight into the eyes of ghosts and goblins and witches and I wasn’t afraid. I feasted on candy and remembered the sweetness of love. I pranced up and down the streets with our kids and acted out this remembrance: yes, death is real but love is MORE real.

There is no fear in love for perfect love casts out fear.

This morning I went to Mass and celebrated All Saints’ Day. For the first time in my life I finally understood the full power of Christianity and it was because I fully embraced Halloween. Yes, death is real. Yes, there is pain and suffering. Yes, there are powers of darkness. Yes, there is evil.

But there is something stronger than death. And it is the love of Christ.

Today, like no other day in my life I am finally living in the knowledge that NOTHING–NOTHING can separate me from the love of God in Christ.

I am not afraid.

  • Grace

    But we need a picture of the zombie ballerina!

  • Kelly Sauer

    “All the darkness can do is roar. That’s it.”

    yep, this made me cry. augh… I love this. entirely.

  • Laurel Garver

    So true! Because Christ overcame death, we can laugh at spooky things rather than cowering or trying to appease them. (I posted a very similar thing yesterday (-: ).

  • Jenna Farelyn

    LOVE this. Thank you for writing it and publishing, some truth and wonderful thoughts expressed here!!

  • Beth Woolsey

    Absolutely, 100% YES. I LOVE this post, Elizabeth.

    As I grow older, I find myself thinking that it’s such a shame that Christians remove themselves from the ONLY holiday every year where it’s socially ENCOURAGED to knock on neighbors’ doors. Halloween is the most open to embracing community, hanging out with strangers, tromping the streets of the village. Why would we lock ourselves in our churches on Halloween??

    I so identify with the Halloween-discomfort of years gone by, and I cheer with you at the victory of life and live. Beautifully written. Thanks.

  • priest’s wife

    I totally agree (even though my kids don’t dress up scary…)

  • Barb

    I can appreciate your post…you are right…Christ defeated death…and I do not fear death…but…the whole zombie thing bothers me. For those who don’t know Christ, death is a serious thing indeed because it leads to the second death…an eternity in Hell…not a joking matter and certainly nothing to celebrate. I feel that dressing up like a zombie (even though most look at it as just something for fun), to me it glorifies the very death that Jesus suffered and died for so we as believers don’t have to face an eternity in Hell. Just some thoughts…other that that, I really don’t have a problem with Halloween. We passed out little gospel tracts with the trick or treat candy. My husband works with a wiccan and has had opportunities to share truth with him. Out time may be running out to share the good news, so I feel that we must make the most of every opportunity. Ok, off my soapbox now…:)

  • Jenn

    YES! I wanted to write something along these lines yesterday, but didn’t find the time … and you said it so much better than I would have anyway. Thanks for this :).

  • Calee

    My daughter sang with her Kindergarten class at mass today: “Nothin’, Nothin’, Absolutely nothin’…can take Your love away.” A perfect message for All Saints’ Day. Glad you had fun last night!

  • colleen

    YES and YES! :)

  • Anonymous

    I *love* this post. I wasn’t allowed to celebrate as a kid, either. Husband and I didn’t allow our kids to celebrate for the first few years. We love it now, though. :) My husband and oldest son went as zombies last night. Doing the makeup and gory flesh wounds was a great bonding experience for them. Love have certainly overcome death! Beautiful words, Elizabeth!

  • Mrs. C

    I’ve always loooooooooved halloween and still do! My husband rolls his eyes at me and tells me I love Halloween because I’m an extrovert, haha. But I have my personal limits. We went to a party recently and there was a dead mother holding a dead baby in the front yard scene while creepy lullaby music played. I almost didn’t make it into the party. It was pretty tough because I held my own dead baby son just over a year ago. Will I see him again? Yes. Is he beautiful and amazing and waiting in heaven? Yes. At the same time…I think I’m going to keep my personal celebrations fun and light. That being said, I know you’re speaking for yourself AND, I don’t expect everyone in the world to celebrate in such a way that they have to be worried about making me sad. I am actually super happy that you’re finding joy in Halloween and the only reason I’m saying anything at all is because I’m a huge dork and wanted to say all this in case someone else might visit and find out they aren’t the only ones who burst into tears at a stupid macabre display and then felt really ridiculous.

    • Lana

      this is how I feel. I live in Asia, and while I’m not haunted by witches and ghosts, my friends are, and I feel that dressing up as them as wrong for their sake.

  • Tiffany

    Love love love this! I went through a period of time (post marriage, pre-children) where I didn’t think we’d read the evil Harry Potter or participate in that obvious invitation to the occult that was Halloween. LOL. Yeah, abandoned both those ideas before my first daughter’s first Halloween and so so thankful that we did. Perfect Love casts out fear. Thank you for sharing your journey, and might I add you look adorable as Alice. :)

  • Katharine McKinney

    Thanks for articulating something I have been trying to explain to people for years and years!

  • Kara @ The Chuppies

    “…it is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day”

    These posts…and the freedom through His love that you’re finding…make me so so happy (and thankful).

  • herewegokids

    Elizabeth, this is SO…..yes. I also find I have an actual, physical NEED to do things like light candles for my departed loved ones while I pray for them….oh, wait, the Church tells me I CAN! Yippee!!!! :)

  • Kim Van Brunt

    Oh my, I’ve just now come back to this post and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I’ve always thought that Dia de los Muertos held some powerful truth that I couldn’t get at because I didn’t understand it. But I think this is it. We don’t have to fear death. It rages because it’s already been defeated. Brilliant.

  • Lana

    I live in SE Asia Witches are real here, people are haunted by ghosts, and skulls are the result of genocide. I do not agree with dressing up as characters that are evil and haunt other people around the world. But dressing up as bugs and princess is fine with me.