Unlike Valentine’s Day, which I can’t stand, I love Halloween. It’s not that I enjoy the ghouls, ghosts, goblins, and gore. I simply relish the opportunity to dress up and the excuse to buy and consume tons of candy without guilt. In preparation for this perfectly mild Halloween evening, I purchased five large bags of sugary candy to share with kids. I put on my cat ears and drew on some whiskers and went out with the kids to trick-or-treat on a couple streets while hubby took the first shift of candy distribution. There’s s something about going through this ritual with my boys the way my parents went through it with me that makes me feel good. Halloween is a family night in our house. It’s the only holiday when we don’t have to share our boys with relatives, and that in itself makes it special to me.
Our boys attend a Christian school where there are no costumes allowed on Halloween. Each of my sons have several classmates who are not permitted to trick-or-treat at all. In fact, Joe was telling me that one classmate stays home and hands out candy to other kids who come to their house. I’ve always been baffled by those who don’t participate in Halloween. I understand that their disdain for Halloween stems from a religious belief that this is the devil’s holiday. (Joe actually gave me this entire lecture today on why he believes this cannot be a holiday celebrating, as one friend told him, the “devil’s birthday” because Lucifer was created as an angel and not ever born in the traditional sense at all, so how could Halloween be a holiday celebrating a birth that never actually occurred? I don’t know. He lost me about two seconds into that explanation.) But, I was raised in a fairly strict Catholic household, and my parents had no reservations about Halloween. Until my boys began at this school, I really had no idea that there were so many Christians who do not allow any sort of Halloween activity in their household.
Curious about the reasons why some people choose not to celebrate what, to me, seems like such an innocuous and fun occasion, I did some research tonight. The Christian Broadcasting Network article I read claimed that Halloween is linked too closely to Wicca, the official religion of witchcraft, and “those who celebrate Halloween either are unaware of its roots, or are intentionally promoting a world where evil is lauded and viewed as an ultimate power.” Huh. I guess you have to toss me into the category of those who aren’t totally aware of Halloween’s roots because I do not believe I am intentionally promoting evil and its power in the world by letting my kids dress up as superheroes and Star Wars characters and take candy from our kind neighbors. As I read more and more, I began to better understand where these families are coming from with regard to their stance on Halloween. They truly believe that Halloween gives power to Satan. They want no part of that. I get it. The devil is scary business.
I would never tell someone they should allow their children to trick-or-treat. But, I have to say that by keeping your kids from enjoying some fun and candy with friends on the basis that Halloween is a holiday that promotes Satan’s power in the world, you seem to be giving the devil even more power than he deserves. I’m not a practicing Wiccan, so Halloween isn’t a religious holiday for me. It’s just a chance for me to draw on some whiskers and follow my kids through the neighborhood to ensure they are being polite as they collect what will be dessert every night in our household until Valentine’s Day. I choose not to examine too carefully its origins because whatever Halloween once was is not what it is now. In today’s society, in our culture, it’s not devil worship, it’s sugar worship. Plain and simple. And, any day when someone willingly hands me a free bag of Skittles is all right in my book. Devil be damned.
I am a Christian mom married to a Catholic dad and raising two boys Catholic. My oldest attends Catholic grade school and last Friday they donned Halloween costumes, paraded out of school, through downtown Kent, trick-or-treated at the businesses along the route and returned to school for their Halloween parties. Catholics believe that Halloween is actually a Christian holiday. There are many different explanations, but this one most closely resembles our belief: http://catholicism.about.com/od/thecatholicfamily/p/Halloween.htm
Great post! Thanks!
Thanks for the comment, Tracy. I just find it interesting how differently people can view this holiday. Like I said, though, I prefer Halloween to Valentine’s Day…so I may not have “normal” views. 😉
Can I get an “AMEN!” 🙂 Sugar and costumes and FUN is what it is all about to me! And may I add that I love that you pointed out that Halloween is in fact one holiday where we DO NOT have to share time with our kids! I loved Halloween before…but now that you pointed it out I LOVE IT EVEN MORE! Rich and I had such a fun time with the kids last night!
You know…until I was writing last night it hadn’t really occurred to me that it was our only holiday alone with our kids either, but as soon as that reality hit me it moved from being one of my favorite holidays to my favorite holiday. 🙂
As a child, the hand-made costume was revered as unique art. Someone with a “store-bought” costume was viewed as some poor sap that didn’t have the people or imagination to make a “real” costume. It worked with my kids ’til the 90’s, when their culture of conspicuous consumption convinced them that “home made” was poor-cousin wear for those that couldn’t afford the “real thing”.
There are a few interpretations of history and the source of American Halloween. It’s ironic that Christians would be opposed to the holiday as it was largely “invented” by the Christian church (to be historically accurate, it was probably the large and far-reaching Catholic church).
Folks in the British Isles already had a celebration, and it was similar to Dios de Muerto in Spanish cultures (Day of the Dead). The church already had All Saints Day on November first, and they named the evening before “All Saints Evening” or “Hallows Eve” to try to roll local beliefs closer to the Christian calendar.
I believe “trick or treat” visits to front doors was an English tradition which was mostly about drunken harrassment than any kind of devil worship.
Between the two: Halloween is loosely associated with some kind of reverence or remembrance of the dead, sort of a memorial day for the recently-deceased. Solemn but respectful. Valentine’s day is about a guy that was arrested and thrown in prison and sent letters to people. Romantic? Related to romance? Candy? Flowers? No. No. No, and no. What the ?
Anyway, good story and great job on the costume (and the Momming).
BTW, I always dress for Halloween, and have NEVER worn a “store-bought” costume!
My Mom would be proud.
I’ve decided that we’re all doing homemade costumes next year. Wait until my family figures out I’m including them in the creation and fabrication process. 😉