Smell my feet.
Give me something good to eat!
If you don’t, I don’t care.
I’ll pull down…
You know the rest.
Kids all across the nation will dress like fairies and Harry Potter, walk door-to-door in the dark, and pray to receive enough candy to last them the rest of the year. Parents will set strict curfews and stock up on Hershey bars and Sprees to pass out to all the children scrambling to their door. Employees will drag their spouses to poorly decorated parties and college girls will bring out the ripped tights and cut-up tee-shirts. October 31st: a 24-hour period (or longer) full of costumes, candy, pumpkins, and all things spooky. Tonight is the night, folks. Are you ready to be spooked?
If you cannot tell, I am not the biggest fan of Halloween. As a kid, I loved all the free candy, but always thought it was weird for my parents to make me wait until the end of the night when they had fingered through it all before letting me eat any of the sweet treats I earned. Were they looking for spiders? Or rocks? Who knows! Once I got to high school, I admit that I judged those people that still dressed up. Thinking back on it, I never should have put an age restriction on the holiday festivities. Still, the idea does not fancy me.
Despite my unpopular opinion against Halloween, it is appropriate to dive deeper into where this holiday came from and what it means to be a Christian that celebrates it. Across the big waters, some used to refer October 31st as Samhain. This was a celebration of a new year in Celtic Ireland about 2,000 years ago. People dressed in costumes and masks to cast away evil spirits while ancestors were honored and invited to come home. Food was prepared on a bonfire for both the living and the dead.
The Irish people celebrating Samhain brought their traditions to America during the 1840’s and a few of the rituals are still practiced, many with a modern twist. The way in which Halloween is celebrated has dramatically transformed, but the basics of celebrating death in a fun and entertaining way has stayed true throughout the years. Today, October 31st is the second largest holiday celebrated and continues to be celebrated through the wearing of costumes. Of course, new traditions such as trick-or-treating and the carving of pumpkins have been added as well.
A long time ago, the church set aside a day to remember those that have gone before us and called it All Saints Day. The evening before this day was named All Hallows Eve, which eventually turned into what we call Halloween. When Christianity was traveling across Europe, All Saints Day was placed on October 31st to challenge the Samhain holiday. So the question arises, is celebrating Halloween conventional for Christians? Freshman Alex Fry says, “My mom never let us celebrate Halloween because she said it was the devils holiday. If we did anything for it, we would pass out candy with bible verses on it.” Many Christians, aside from the Fry family, celebrate Halloween and have no clue that it’s origins are not pure and righteous. Is this act wrong?
Ephesians 5:11 reads, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” The celebration of Samhain would most definitely be a work of darkness. But, because of the many changes that have taken place when it comes to the way the holiday is celebrated, I believe that participating in the customs of Halloween is not wrong of Christians. Although, keep in mind that it would be very right of us to remember the deceased on All Saints Day. Either way, it is vital as Jesus lovers and human beings to recognize where we came from and how we got here. Cue Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Media by Shelbi Fisher.