Spooky Sunday
Christians balance Halloween and faith

Cindy MacDougall
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 29/99) - Unlike some other Canadian towns and cities, Yellowknife has left Halloween night on Sunday, Oct. 31 instead of Saturday. And Christians in town say it doesn't make a difference on what day the spooky celebration falls.

"We're not concerned about it being on a Sunday," said Rev. Lynn Patterson of Glad Tidings Fellowship.

She said Halloween is a "celebration of darkness" no matter what day of the week it is.

"Halloween is a celebration that originally honoured the devil, so we choose not to celebrate it," she said. "We're having a Halleluia party for the kids instead, with a country and western theme."

"We celebrate Jesus, not the devil, so we're giving the children an alternative."

Karen Pryznyk, a member of Calvary Community Church's council, said Christians have to balance the fun of Halloween with their beliefs and concerns.

"Some Christians may choose to ignore the holiday," she said. "Others may choose to set guidelines around costumes and behaviour, avoiding occult-themed costumes."

She said her children are grown, but if the city had changed Halloween to Saturday, she would have sent her children out to trick or treat on the suggested day. Mayor David Lovell said there was some "casual talk" about changing Halloween to Saturday in Yellowknife, but it never came to a vote on the matter.

" Halloween on Sunday ... it's really not a church festival," he said. "But the other thought was, when would you rather have the children wandering around, Saturday or Sunday night?"

Lovell said the children will be in bed "by nine or 10 anyway."

Father Pat Murphy of St. Patrick's Church said Catholics have a slightly different spin on the significance of Halloween in Christian life. In fact, Murphy said, Oct. 31 is a church festival.

"The goblins and tricks and treats are not incorporated in the liturgy (teachings) at all," he said. "What we pay attention to is the Feast of All Saints on Nov. 1. Halloween actually means 'the holy day before.'"

The Feast of All Saints celebration will be commemorated with a special service.