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.