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Readers Respond: How Do You Celebrate Halloween?

Responses: 20

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Every year, a debate rages among Christians: Is Halloween a satanic holiday or merely a secular one? Should Christian children dress up like ghosts and goblins? Is it good for children to be scared? I've discussed the Christian origins of Halloween, and the anti-Catholic origins of the attack on the holiday, in Should Catholics Celebrate Halloween?

Do you and your family celebrate Halloween? Why, or why not? And if you do, how do you celebrate it? Share your stories below!

Great Article, and I Agree With Advice

This article is a great resource for the origins of Halloween. I do agree with the author about expanding beyond dressing as saints. If you want to dress as a saint, that is great—it is a celebration of All Saints Day, after all! But the Church is rich with symbolism. We don't have to be so literal. A skeleton fits the theme of death and saints (who are in Heaven). We even have bone relics of saints, so this goes right with the theme. An animal can symbolize St. Francis, a dove the Holy Spirit. Ghosts represent the souls in Purgatory who will be saints. Even Snow White is a literary symbol of sainthood. Read the story with your child, point out the truth of good and evil in the fairy tale and the symbolism of sainthood in the main character. This can't be done with every single cartoon character, but you would be surprised at the numerous characters that have very applicable literary symbolism. Celebrate the depth of the Church and sainthood. Discuss the reality of evil.
—Guest LT

Celebration of Halloween

For the last 15 years we've been involved almost every year with Christian ministries those nights. This year though, we'll be able to participate in Trick-or-Treat. I'll be including tracts both on the Holy Evening and on Thanksgiving along with candy. I might dress up as the IRS and make the children or their parents fill out fake 1099 forms in triplicate just for the scary part. :D
—AdinoEznite

Party

I attend my Uncle's (also my Godfather) annual Halloween party. We carve pumpkins, bob for apples, make carmel apples and have pizza for dinner! It is a nice family event.
—Guest Stephanie

Native Eskimo Halloween Trick or Treat

In the early 70's, I was working in a remote Alaskan village. My children were but 5 and 4 years old. We took them out for the Trick or Treat that evening. They came home with a little candy, but what was really great was the amount of frozen fish, two frozen rabbits (still in the fur) and two Ptarmigan still feathered. Over the next month I thawed them, I skinned them, cooked them, and we ate them. Quite an experience for my girls.
—Guest John Sullivan

Conflicting History

Everywhere you look on the web there is a Christian telling us that Halloween is evil, totally contradicting the information that you've given. I wish there was a way to get your article to come up when people do a search.
—Guest Marilyn

Halloween

I also know about the Irish tradition of celebrating Halloween. When we were children we always understood that the next day was All Saints because the nuns in my Parochial school would take us to confession on Oct 31st. Then when we went home we would put on our costumes and go out trick or treating for about 2 hours and come home. And that was it. There was no evil connatation back in the 50's. Then I did the same with my children in the 70's. But other Christians and of course the media brought all of this other meaning into it. Other Christian religions do not celebrate All Saints either. Thank you Mary
—Guest mary johnson

Halloween

It is important to remember we are mortal, will die and pass into the next life. This is fearful, but a reality. Halloween keeps this at the fore. There is nothing new about this fear - http://www3.sympatico.ca/tapholov/pages/bones.html
—Guest Christopher Rhone

Early Christian Superstition

Hmmm, interesting. Re: all the spooky stuff, sounds to me as if the early Christians were being superstitious, not something I want my kids to emulate. And as for glorifying the darkness, been there/done that before my conversion. I'll take the "at best" All Saints Day party. ;-)
—Guest Donna

Evil Is Real

Evil is real. I was taught by a very wise priest that the children should not dress up in scary costumes or as animals. Keep things light. Fear is not of God.
—GrandmaBr

Regarding Halloween

Just a good time to have some innocent fun, dressing up in crazy costumes. Nothing unchristian about it.
—Guest 8ball

More Paganish Than Christian

Halloween in India has not found much popularity and is known to be predominantly an American culture. Thanks for the eye-opener . . . now I know the roots. I have been listening a lot about Halloween through my cousins in the US and through our clients who look forward to a holidaying weekend. Nevertheless, all of it is more of culture that led to beliefs growing through some sort of revolt mechanism against the existing norms. To me it seems to be more related to Celtic or paganish beliefs and very little of it anymore remains Christian. It just gives one an opportunity to revel before the period of Advent, which is more filled with anxiety and looking forward to something good coming . . . something akin to the revelry of Mardi Gras before the Lent period.
—Guest Matt Dev

An Eye Opener

It is an eye-opener for me! Being a Catholic from an adult age, lived in a country where Christianity is not the main religion and my mother is a firm Buddhist believer, there was no Halloween celebration in my household. Nevertheless my mother celebrates the "All Souls Day" during the 5th month of the Chinese calendar. In the late afternoon, she will put out some food, light joss-sticks and candles, burn some papers painted in silver/gold that represented as money on the street outside our house to appease the roaming souls. She believes that this will protect her family from harm generated by these roaming souls. Now coming back to present time, I have moved to a country where Christianity is the main religion. The Halloween celebration only exists when our neighbouring kids come around for “treats or tricks” collection. So in another word, maybe I do celebrate Halloween but not in the big way that others have. Time to stock up on some more lollies!
—jjmgkhoo

Dressing as Saints Honors God, Not Gore!

It is a teaching of our Catholic Faith that saints are what we aspire to be with the correct training and modeling. This I believe can be achieved by creating alternative activities that celebrate God's victory over evil. And the children will enjoy dressing up in costumes that represent not only goodness, but also will reaffirm in them that they belong to the side of good, and to the side of God by honoring the role models of the Christian Faith. (And will also have fun eating, receiving candy.) I think that both adults and children have much to gain from these two distinct, but beautiful celebrations. The adults will feel a way of reconnecting in their spirit with their deceased loved ones by honoring their memory, and by lifting them up in prayer in a collective way through our Home Church Family which is taught by our Catholic Faith that this is a "charitable thing to do" for the souls. BUT I don't agree with your approach "at best" it is an attempt to Christianize.
—Guest gabriela

Halloween American?????

Its origins are Irish. When I was young we always had a party with fortune telling themes? Ghost stories would be told and people would dress up and visit neighbours, turnips were hollowed out with candles inside and put in windows (never heard of pumpkins), drink was consumed,and tricks were played, bonfires were lit, a special cake called a barm brack was made, with a ring for marriage, a stick for a violent spouse, a sixpence for wealth, and rag for poverty, and a pea and a bean, for something else, tricks would be played, and grudges would be repaid, gates would be unhinged, cattle and horses would appear in other people's fields. Fruit and nuts, dates and figs were eaten, and a coconut would be ceremoniously broken in the scullery. We still have the bonfires, the tricks, the barm bracks and the parties, but we're more sophisticated now. We hire costumes, and the innocence is gone. This was always considered an Irish tradition and didn't occur elsewhere, until America claimed it.
—Guest honoria

Catholic Schools Should Do Better!

Scott, I was always dismayed when I had kids in the Catholic school system that they made a big deal out of the Eve of All Saints without so much as a mention of All Saints Day. To me it's like celebrating Christmas Eve but ignoring Christmas.
—Guest Sir Reginald
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