Halloween Costumes: Tropes for the 7 Deadly Sins

I’ve always wondered where the monsters of legend got their origin. Who thought up vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies, animated skeletons, princesses, and ghost? They had to have some fun coming up with the ideas and definitely the costumes. I don’t know a lot of the history, so I’ll put in some speculation, and more importantly I want to use these costumes or ideas as representations of the seven deadly sins – mostly for Halloween and general amusement.

There are even places in scripture where there are witches, ghosts, zombies, animated skeletons, and princesses. You could make a case that vampires drinking blood may have come out of a misunderstanding of Eucharistic practice combined with tribes of peoples that did drink blood and eat flesh, and werewolves could easily be something originating from what every good teacher and ER nurse knows already, the full moon changes our behaviors!

Pride – Witch
This is the idea that a witch is someone who chooses their own power over the power of God. Human self sufficiency in all things, and human will put before all other things. Of course there are stories that feature witches that help people, and let’s face it some of those stories are pretty good. The witch of darkness and cruelty and selfishness born of pride, that’s the which we are talking about. Let’s face it, we too can fall into desiring our own way regardless of the consequences.

Lust – Vampire
The vampire’s taste in women comes out again in books like Twilight (although somewhat modified). If you aren’t a fan of Mrs. Meyers than Ann Rice also puts together some compelling stories of lust and the pleasures of the flesh. There are multiple ways to view lust. Here are two that come to mind: 1) is allowing your carnal desires to overwhelm your reason and functioning; 2) allowing practices in your life that originate in the belief that other human beings exist only for your pleasure. The first I think is more common in instances, but the later is the more deadly – when ever we find ourselves treating people as means to our own end we have found ourselves in the grip of lust.

Wrath – Werewolf
What can be seen as a more bestial representation of our anger our rage our indignation but a werewolf? It is a transformation that abandons reason and peace. In the depths of torment the werewolf takes on the nature of a wild animal. Most of us recognize the animal nature of cruelty and anger on a base level, but when reason takes over the werewolf is far more cruel and cunning than a simple animal. Wrath is not just the animal nature – animals aren’t really cruel or vindictive. They fight for what they need, but we take it too far. Our capacity to reason has opened up new avenues for cruelty and anger and rage. The werewolf brings this out by being the combination of man and beast.

Sloth – Zombie
The zombie could be an antithesis of sloth, a reanimated corpse certainly moves around other wise it would just be a festering pile on the ground. Yet for me zombies are ruled only by instinct and nothing higher, it is an utter satisfaction with the status quo and going through the motions that allows you to just continue functioning. Too many of us fall into the trap of living without passion or drive – utterly disconnect from community or God.

Gluttony – Skeleton
Gluttony seemed a funny label to put on a skeleton. But I find the skeleton the one who is off balance, the drives control them. As with all of these sins, you can look at it merely as someone who has allowed their appetite to take over their reason and pushed them out of balance, or you can look at it as something rational where there has been a breakdown in how their minds process their relationship with food. Overeating or under eating are both part of this gluttony – this never ending desire for more without any regard to the God that provides.

Greed – Princess
It’s an easy jab to make at a princess who can always want more power or money or popularity. Greed parallels gluttony nicely in it being a desire for more, but it isn’t just more. The greedy wants more at the expense of others. They do not mind hurting others or denying others their needs for the sake of their own interests. Greed warps peoples minds to want what they cannot use and don’t need while others go without, and there’s inherent cruelty in this. Greed seeks security by human means and flourishes where there is a lack of trust.

Jealousy – Ghost
The ghost wants life, it sees what the living posses and wants it for itself. We all go through periods where we are envious or advertisement agencies would have fallen on their faces. It’s such a prevalent part of our culture that we forget the ghost of advertisement’s effect on how we view ourselves and those around us, and people will do whatever they can to fake having to impress and draw the praise of others.

The fun part of this is just realizing that all of the different costumes and creatures could play on all of the different sins. But sin itself is a break down in our relationships with one another and with God. These sins when they take their course are destructive practices that truly sow seeds of death and strife in our hearts. Be wary, and have a happy halloween practicing hospitality, friendship, and trust to ward off any spirits trying to lure you away from God.


About Sean Smith

Husband, Father, Pastor, Swimmer, Writer, Reader, and attempted Adventurer!
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