Posted by: L. E. Barnes | October 15, 2010

Halloween Time

It’s that time of year again. TV channels are running horror movies every night. Stores are selling costumes, candy, and macabre “decorations.” And folks are putting up plastic skeletons, “ghosts” made from bedsheets, fake spider webs, and other things in their yards that at any other time of year would probably have their neighbors calling the police on them! Yes, ’tis the season of Halloween. Here’s a capsule account of this weird holiday’s history:

Christians are divided on the issue of whether it’s acceptable to celebrate Halloween. Some Christians feel that trick-or-treating, putting up scary decorations, or doing anything else connected to Halloween is a sin because of the holiday’s pagan roots. On the other hand, other Christians see it as harmless fun. The charismatic evangelical churches I grew up attending tended to fit in the former category. My sister and I did go trick-or-treating a time or two when we were small children, and a few times our family handed out candy to kids that came to our door (at least once the candy we gave out had a Christian tract included with it!). Eventually, however, my parents decided not to do anything to celebrate Halloween, feeling that to do so would be honoring paganism. It seems that Catholics, on the other hand, don’t seem to have any compunctions about Halloween–at least as a general rule, so far as I can tell. My parish, for instance, holds a Halloween party each year. (Perhaps this is because of the Catholic Church’s establishing the feast of All Souls’ Day–or All Hallows–in the first place?)

How do you feel about it? And does your church celebrate Halloween in any way?

And I’ll close with a little YouTube Halloween humor. Check out this jack-o-lantern carving itself:

Let that be a lesson to all of us: If you want to make a jack-o-lantern out of yourself, take your liberty, but don’t try to carve someone else!



  1. […] Halloween Time […]

  2. “the holiday’s pagan roots”

    Like the one that follows the first full moon after the Spring Equinox.

    Or maybe the one that used to be on the Winter Solstice.

    Absent the sex-trash that infests “adult” Halloween, I think it’s fine for the kids.

    • I tend to agree with you. I’m not anti-Halloween, though I respect the decision of those who decide to refrain from observing it. That is between them and God, after all– just as other Christians’ participating in Halloween festivities is between them and God. In other words, imho, we should not be dogmatic and judgmental about it.

  3. My issue, aside for the trashy adult costumes, is why you would want your child to dress as a prostitute or a murderer or a devil? “Bring up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Yes, I’m sure I read that somewhere once. Our children do trick-or-treat, but our son has so far been a knight, a cowboy, Batman, or this year he wants to go as Percy Jackson. Our daughter has usually been a princess.

    • I think your raise a good point. If you’re going to let your children trick-or-treat, it’s probably better to keep the costumes to something innocent, not something that would make Stephen King nervous! 😉

  4. To me, Halloween makes evil and darkness into a joke and there is nothing funny about evil or darkness. So, as far as I’m concerned, there is nothing harmless about Halloween, or anything else that glorifies evil and darkness, for that matter.

    I agree with what Magister Christianus says. And St. Paul also counsels us “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8

    There’s nothing true, pure or lovely about Halloween, that’s for sure.

    • I see it as a way of taking our childhood fears of the dark or “things that go bump in the night” and laughing at them rather than letting them scare us. Laughing at our fears is often a great way to overcome them after all. But at the same time I understand some Christians not wanting to have anything to do with the holiday, and I respect their decision.

  5. There’s a tendency now among a lot of Catholics I know to have the kids dress in costumes of their favorite saints to strengthen the ties with All Saints Day. Parishes are having parties for the kids to keep them off the dangerous streets, so I see a change because of our current cultural situation. It is no longer safe to roam the streets “trick or treating” as we did when I was a kid.

    I like Magister’s encouraging dressing up as someone noble and skipping the demon costumes. At some level the child will be thinking about what the character stands for. I see nothing wrong in that, particularly if it becomes a so-called “teachable moment”.

    • True, Halloween can be used as a teachable moment, as you said, to instruct Catholic kids about All Saints’ Day. Having them dress as saints, instead of monsters or demons, would be very Catholic indeed!

  6. We do Halloween, and I think it’s fine as long as we are dressing kids like animals, superheroes and princesses. I do detest most of the secular traditions associated with this “holiday.” This is about the time of year when we sit down to watch TV and I say, “Wow! Time to put on a movie, it’s getting close to Halloween again!”

    • That’s probably better than letting the kids dress as something sinister or hideous. And it’s definitely a great time for movies! I spent some time over the last few days watching movies online through Netflix. 🙂

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