So, here’s the deal: I’m a Christian and I am ecstatic over Halloween. I love everything about it: the pumpkins, the costumes, watching Hocus Pocus, and making Halloween themed treats with my friends. Halloween is nothing but harmless fun and an excuse to wear a goofy outfit. Period.
However, over the course of my life, I have heard complaints from Christian parents who would rather die than let their kids go trick-or-treating. Why? Because they wholeheartedly believe Halloween is the work of the Devil.
I personally believe that this is one of the most idiotic things I have ever heard. Halloween was a staple part of my childhood, and it is sad to think some people of faith consider the holiday celebration of paganism, therefore “sinful” to participate in.
Yes, Halloween originated from a thousand year old Celtic festival called Samhain, when Celts believed that October 31st was the one day the line between life and death would be nonexistent.
Fast forward a few hundred years later, and Samhain began to be influenced by what you may ask? Christianity no doubt! Around 609 AD, the Pope blended the tradition of All Saints Day, which honored Christian martyrs, with Samhain. Both festivals were celebrated in similar ways with bonfires, feasts, and costumes. Because of the mixing of traditions, the possibility of the Catholic church wanting to replace Samhain with a more “Christian” festival is not surprising.
One could say that Christians did in fact take over Halloween.
Over time, Halloween has been directed more toward young children. When I think of Halloween, I immediately think of candy, costumes, and movie nights. Demons and dark forces are the last things that come to my mind, unlike some people I know, who refuse to let their children participate in harmless trick-or-treating.
Besides, I don’t think Jesus would have objected to allowing children to walk around the neighborhood block with their friends and ask for candy.
Regardless of the Celtic backstory, children dressed up as princesses and superheroes do not care about the backstory; they care about what kind of candy they are going to get. That is all. I went to a K-12 Christian school, and I had a few friends who were not allowed to celebrate Halloween, or even watch a Halloween related comedy.
“It’s the Day of the Devil,” they would say.
“Halloween invites demons to come and possess you,” they would sometimes add.
I would come home and tell my mom this and she would laugh over how ridiculous those concerns were. Dressing up doesn’t invite demon possession, and children should not be concerned about something like that.
One time, during high school, my Bible teacher was talking about how awful it is for parents to allow children to dress as ghosts and devils for Halloween; he wouldn’t let any of his kids celebrate Halloween regardless of what they dressed up as. So to prove a point, and also be a tad petty, I dressed up as the Devil.
“What? I like red,” I defended myself. Yes, I got a couple judgment stares when fellow classmates told the teachers what I wore, but oh well. I wasn’t going to let their illogical thinking deter me from embracing one of the most exciting nights of the year.
Halloween is about making memories with family and friends. Just because there was pagan background to the holiday does not mean it means the same thing today. Seriously, ever heard how the world changes with the times? That is exactly what happened to Halloween. The holiday went from a remembrance of the dead and supernatural world, to dressing up kids and pets in costumes so they could go around the neighborhood for candy.
It does not mean the same thing anymore; so much time has passed, and not a lot of people know that Halloween was part of Celtic culture. Not many care. Children definitely don’t care, all they will care about is getting a sugar high.
Also, Halloween is one of the few days out of the year that communities actually come together. Neighbors come out and talk to each other about how they are going to handle the annual trick-or-treaters, some will ask each other on decorating advice, and some will ask for opinions on their costumes. I ask Christian parents: what is so unholy about that?
Let kids be kids. There is nothing wrong with kids dressing up and going through haunted houses. I think if people would just try to understand that what Halloween signified a thousand years ago is not what it signifies now. No one should be left out of Halloween festivities due to illogical and superstitious fears.