I remember the outcry years ago when Prince Harry was photographed wearing a Nazi uniform for a fancy-dress party. As he was still quite young, the general consensus was that ignorance could be his only excuse. It seemed he just wasn't aware of how evil the ideology really was and how much suffering it had inflicted on real human beings within living memory.
The excuse makes sense. If he'd personally known anyone - friends or family members perhaps - who were gassed, tortured, beaten, starved or forced to dig their own grave before being brutally murdered, it seems clear the idea of wearing a swastika for a laugh would have made him want to puke. The evil would have been real to him then. And he would never dare to treat it so lightly, let alone celebrate it ever again. To help him out with that, Prince Charles ordered him to go on a sobering visit to Auschwitz.
The same principle applies to Halloween. Here is a festival of darkness and death - a celebration of horror, violence and fear. It originated with the horrifying pagan practices of Celtic druids and remains one of the highest holy days in witchcraft and Satanism. The predominance of costumes are demons, devils, witches, ghosts, skeletons and anything else that engenders fear. And like Prince Harry all those years ago, we can only treat those evils lightly and revel in them when they don't seem real to us.
But of course they are real. Satan is real. Demons are real. Witchcraft is real. Fear is real. Death is real. And the moment we come into contact with these things, I guarantee it will sober us up.
But shouldn't we be aware of this already? Christians simply don't have an excuse. Don't we already know that the fall of man through Satan is the root of all the pain, tragedy, sickness, violence and death in the world? Don't we know more than anyone that it was these evils that meant our Saviour was forced to come to the world, be tortured and killed to save us from their power? So how can we go on celebrating them? As Spurgeon said, surely we must 'see evil in a new light when we note the agonies they brought upon our Lord' at Calvary. Just the idea of dressing up as a witch or demon should make us want to puke. As it has also been said, 'asking a Christian to celebrate Halloween is like asking a Holocaust survivor to celebrate Hitler's birthday.'
There are varying arguments about how Christians should approach Halloween and they are widely debated every year. Are superhero costumes okay? Should we ignore the day completely or use the chance to engage with our neighbours? Can we sanctify it in some way? There are a lot of great questions and I hope to explore them in a series someday soon. That's not what this blog is about though. This blog is simply a call to check our hearts regarding evil. The bottom line is that there may be too many of us who will never be able to speak out against evil, simply because deep down, we are still entertained by it.