American pastor Phil Wyman has labelled Halloween “the most Christian festival”. Speaking at a conference organised by Church Mission Society, he said: “Contrary to the reluctance of most people to open their doors and welcome strangers, Halloween is a unique time when doors are thrown open, people welcome strangers and there is a willingness to talk about spiritual things like good and evil, heaven and hell, angels and demons, and embark on conversations of meaning that can be tied to the gospel.”
While Christians in the UK have traditionally shunned Halloween, its estimated £430m gets spent here on Halloween products.
Wyman, author of The Reformation of Halloween: Rethinking Christianity’s response to Halloween, continued, “At Halloween when people put on masks, this interesting transformation takes place: we ironically feel more free to be ourselves when in costume. Other holidays are often celebrated behind closed doors with people we know and love really well, but on Halloween, we go out into the neighbourhood, we speak to strangers, offer hospitality and have fun and it’s also a real family holiday.”
His comments come as the Church of England’s National Children and Youth Adviser encourages Christians to do ‘trick or treating’ with a difference this year.Mary Hawes says we shouldn’t ignore Halloween but instead children should dress up as saints or hand out treats and Bible verses.Speaking on Premier’s News Hour, she said: “If we know this is part of our community activities – have some treats ready to give to people, maybe a Bible verse alongside it to show we’re not killjoys all the time – too often people are repelled by the Church for that reason.”