The Dominion Post 15 October 2008
Ghosts and ghouls are getting the boot at a growing number of anti-Halloween celebrations – including some supported with public money. The festival of all things dark and monstrous has grown in popularity in New Zealand in the past 20 years, but so have religious reactions against it. Hundreds of church-driven events aimed at keeping children off the “trick or treat” track will take place on October 31.
But more liberal church leaders say the anti-Halloween brigade is taking things too seriously, and alternative events should not get ratepayer support. Organisers of church events say Halloween is unsafe for children, encourages them to ask for treats they have not earned and uses horrific images, while alternatives are fun and open to all. Kevin Gwynn, an elder at Whitby Lakeside Baptist Church, said his church’s “Party by the Lake”, which receives $2500 from Porirua City Council, attracted thousands of people every year. “While we do have a philosophical objection to Halloween, that’s just an excuse to have the event.” ..But Auckland Anglican archdeacon Glynn Cardy said he thought Halloween was just a bit of fun. “I don’t believe in the whole goodies and baddies and goblins universe. They’re probably taking it a bit literally.”