Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Real Meaning of Halloween

I'm probably already considered a heretic in some circles, so I've decided it's time to come out of the closet entirely and seal my fate as a lost soul. What's my grave theological flaw, you ask? What heretical position have I embraced, risking my eternal destiny? In a nutshell: I don't think Halloween is evil. In fact, I rather enjoy it.

Here's the thing: when small children dress up as princesses or Power Rangers or Apple iPhones or whatever the cool costumes are this year, then run through the neighborhood asking for candy, they aren't engaging in some sort of satanic ritual. They're just looking for candy, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Now, I'm not a big fan of the grotesque, bloody, oozing-eyeball kind of mask for people of any age. Further, I really think kids costumes should be kid friendly (what a concept!). I don't want my daughters dressing up as demons or anything like that (they're Pocahontas and Madeline this year), but I also think it's perfectly fine for them to celebrate Halloween. We carve pumpkins, dress up, and eat too much candy. It's fun for everyone.

I've become used to churches having "fall harvest parties," complete with costumes, bobbing for apples and lots of candy, but it sort of bugs me the way they shun the name "Halloween." (God forbid we celebrate All Hallow's Eve - the Eve of All Saint's Day!) Around here, they call it "Beggar's Night," - which for my neighborhood, will be on Tuesday, Oct 30th! I can't believe it. It's just sad.

You can read the whole history of Halloween over at Wikipedia, but the history isn't really the point. Yes, Halloween has origins in an old pagan celebration, but that doesn't mean it is an old pagan celebration. It's a modern celebration, so the real issue (in my mind) is this: what are the kids doing today? And the answer is: they're dressing up in costumes and eating candy.

I don't have a problem with that.


Deb said...

What will you do on the 31st?!?! I have to agree ~ I love Halloween too. It's always been one of my favorites!

revolution said...

i'm a fan of grotesque and bloody - for adults of course.

The Dan Ward said...

Fair enough, but just don't come over and scare my 4-year-old...

Gabe said...

I completely agree. Check out my blog for future entries on how we "celebrated" Halloween, complete with how my neighbors and us decked out our little cul-de-sac. We definitely have had fun this year with the whole thing.

P.S. I do miss the old New England Halloween "ideal" with bobbing for apples and the whole "Sleepy Hallow" type festival. I have fond memories of going to events like this when I was a kid and hope to oneday be able to do the same for my kids.