HALLOWEEN: Because It’s Fun!

HALLOWEEN: Because It’s Fun! October 18, 2004

I have a 10-year old daughter who was home schooled up to fourth grade. I’ve no idea if that’s the determining factor, but it’s not her I’m worried about. Though she’s now in public school, a desire to participate in Halloween has not been shared, at least not with her dad.

My son, 6, would dive into the pagan & secular festival with all his might. Then again, he lives each moment like that. Missing one, annually, might not be such a big deal. We’ll soon find out.

The baby, 2, hasn’t yet a clue.

Growing up Baptist, I always participated in Halloween. I don’t remember hearing any anti-Halloween voices back then. In fact, our church … ready for this? … had a haunted house in the basement one year! Complete with all the scary gags you can imagine (ghosts, vampires, walking dead, blood & guts). They even had us gather and wait upstairs in the sanctuary until, over the loud speaker, a spooky voice terrified us about what awaited us downstairs. Again, this was in church, I say!

I never liked Halloween. It was just something you did. Getting home late, I was only allowed to eat SOME of the candy. My dad would always pick over it — for my safety of course — assuring there was much less candy in the morning.

My mom has pictures of various outfits I wore through the years. I don’t really have any trick-or-treat memories. Except there was one lady who gave dimes. Her house was a favorite stop. And to be honest, we all tried to go there more than once. (She would come out with a big bowl full of change and allow you to grab as many dimes as one hand could manage.)

By the time I was in college I was pretty much anti-Halloween. I don’t know what spawned this stance, I just never felt right about the feast.

So why this year’s confliction? I guess I now understand why God-fearing “normal” people allow their children to participate in such, forgive me, damned nonsense. It’s cute. You look down at their cute — they won’t be young forever — faces and think … Ahh, they’d have so much fun. Yes, I have thought that, I confess.

The real kicker was when I was in seminary. Here we were reading the lives of the saints and struggling toward an understanding of the Resurrection when, BAM, Halloween hit. There was a staff secretary who entered the pagan feast with mad desire. Soon the trees around the campus were full of makeshift ghosts. Ghosts! I remember walking with one of my pals, also an anti-Samhein dude, and asking: “What are we teaching our kids about the Resurrection with all these ghosts hanging from the trees?” Neither of us had kids of our own back then. Several of us grew to really hate the end of October.

Years later, after I’d become pretty well “twisted” about the whole thing, I was working in a Goodwill store. (This was back when we were just starting an Orthodox Mission in the area.) The season came and we were asked to decorate the store for Halloween. I begged off, giving religious reasons to my supervisor. Fine, I didn’t have to help. The store was gussied up, nonetheless. One of my coworkers came and asked me what I had against Halloween. I asked, “Why do we celebrate Christmas?” “Because of the birth of Christ,” she said. “How ’bout Easter?” “Because of the Resurrection,” she replied. I went on to ask about the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. But when I asked, “Why do we celebrate Halloween?” — she had no answer. It was obvious she’d never even considered the question. She ended up by saying, “Because it’s fun.”

Because it’s fun.

That’s the reason most seemingly God-fearing folks go in for such a Godless festival. If you think about it, that’s the scariest part of all.

For what it’s worth, you’ll find below a letter to school administrators for parents who wish their children to abstain from pagan festivities & a history of the feast we now call Halloween.

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