Halloween provides evangelicals with an occasion to position themselves on the cultural landscape in more or less oppositional ways. To use Christian Smith‘s terms, Halloween becomes for some evangelicals a symbolic boundary: by not celebrating it, they assert and maintain a distinctive identity. Other evangelicals, however, make a point of not turning Halloween into a symbolic boundary, or at least of patrolling the boundary less rigorously, thereby signaling a less separatist, more accommodating stance toward the larger American culture. In other words (I’m about to complicate the metaphor horribly, so hang on), by not treating Halloween as a symbolic boundary between themselves and the larger culture, the moderate, pro-Halloween evangelicals draw a different symbolic boundary, one that separates them from the “fundamentalists” who don’t celebrate Halloween.
The following links represent a spectrum from separatist to accommodating.
- Should Christians participate in Halloween? (ChristianAnswers.Net): A pretty emphatic “no.” A separatist stance.
- Where did Halloween come from? Can a Christian celebrate it? (CARM): “Yes and no.” Separatist lite.
- Hallowing Halloween (Christianity Today): “Go for it,” basically–but with a brief polite nod (obligatory?) to Christians with scruples.