My very inquisitive 6 year old asked me why people dress up on Halloween. I was stumped. I am usually a reasonably informed mom with a quick story about all the cool things in history that have formed our current day celebrations. But not this time. So in my true seeker spirit, I went in search of some answers. I was intrigued to read the “Origins of Halloween” article and get a full picture of the many influences that created our current tradition.
His question got me thinking about the recent trend of schools and faith groups who stopped celebrating the holiday in favor of fall festivals and other seemingly meaningless observances. Recently at my church, they decided that they would host a Fall Festival for the kids to dissuade them from going out to celebrate traditional Halloween with trick-or-treating.
I LOVED Halloween as a child. It was one of the most anticipated days of the year…the opportunity to get dressed up as anything I wanted — to be something else for a day or night and then to go out and have people give you candy all night long. I mean seriously: Does it get any better than that? I never questioned as a child or a teen the meaning of the holiday — or even how it came about. It was simply a wonderful time to be transformed and to pretend…one of the true glories of being a child.
I worry that as parents, we take everything more seriously today, that we focus on all the negative influences in the hopes to control our child’s experience in the world. Can you introduce a holiday — like Halloween — to your children, have them understand the many influences, and enjoy it within the context of what you do believe? I know I am certainly going to try. I want my children to enjoy the fun part, the creative part, the exciting part all while understanding that our beliefs and the beliefs of others co-exist in our very complicated world.