Confronting the Darkness in a Year Full of Death
Halloween has always been a tricky day for conservative Protestants. It has long been seen as a celebration of the dark—joking about bloody gore, the living dead. But this year, death and darkness doesn’t seem quite so amusing. October 31 comes as more than 1.1 million people around the world have died of COVID-19. Nearly 20 percent of those deaths have occurred in the US, a country where COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise.
As parents are making last minute decisions about what to do about trick or treating, as churches cancel their harvest festivals and trunk or treat events, and parties are moved to zoom and even schools forego their annual costume parades, we wondered: Is this weird Halloween in a very weird year the opportunity for better Christian thinking and discipleship? Can rethinking this season where we oddly engage death and darkness help us deal with death and darkness the rest of this covid season, and the rest of our lives? If so, where do we look? Back to Halloween’s connections to All Saint’s Day? Or to other ways that the church has formed its spiritual disciplines around death?
CT columnist, a priest in the Anglican Church in North America, and author of the forthcoming book, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work, or Watch, or Weep, Tish Harrison Warren joined global media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss what our celebrations of Halloween say about our beliefs about death, how we might confront our own darkness, and how prayer provides a place for us to wrestle with the night.
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The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola
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