The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.
As has been mentioned, Halloween is the modern incarnation of All Hallows (Saints) Eve. It definitely began as a Christian holiday, in order to
overshadow a pagan holiday that occurred about the same time. If you can catch it, The History Channel has a wonderful documentary on this.
But that's really neither here nor there as far as your personal struggle is concerned. The question is not what Halloween was
, but what
. As I am sure most people on here can attest, Halloween is a myriad of things, some good, some bad, some fun, some scary.
Trick-or-treating began as a pagan ritual to ward off evil spirits. Is it that today? Not really, although the roots and symbology are still there.
The demonic images that are associated with it trace their roots back to that original pagan festival that Halloween was intended to replace. The
pumpkins are actually a leftover form the days when the festival celebrated the fall harvest, hardly anything demonic or evil. The links to horror
movies (one of the few things I like
about Halloween; I'm a horror movie buff) actually have more to do with modern attempts to promote the
media rather than the old festivals, either Christian or pagan.
I try to look at Halloween in its modern context. By tradition, I am to light jack-o-lanterns in my yard, send my kids out dressed in costume to beg
for candy, and maybe attend a party in costume myself. None of these things interest me. Pumpkins, IMO, are only good for pumpkin pie, which I am not
terribly fond of. Making a jack-o-lantern just seems like an exercise in uselessness; the darn thing will rot and char and soon amke a massive mess in
my yard that I will then have to clean up, and it gives me no real pleasure in the process of either making it or displaying it.
Sending my kids out to beg for candy is where I begin to have reservations. It's not that I don't want them to have candy; it's more that I want
them to understand that begging is something that they should not do. Even worse, the actual origin of trick-or-treating allowed for tricks to be
committed agains those who did not give out the treats, hence the name. That sounds a little like extortion to me. "Give me your candy or I'll
roll your yard!
" That's not what I want my children to learn.
My 'solution' was to limit Halloween activities for them. They went trick-or-treating, but only to people my wife and I knew very well. Most of the
visits were more involved than the traditional ones; instead of knocking on the door, getting the candy, and leaving, they stopped by for a visit. I
forbad costumes that had 'evil' themes, like demons, ghosts, etc. in favor of historical characters (pirates, royalty, etc.), angels, etc. They got
the candy, but it was more of a gift from a known family member rather than an extorted prize. They got to dress up without sacrificing the values and
life lessons I wanted them to learn. And not once was either of them in trouble for rolling a yard or egging a car.
Plus, while my wife took them trick-or-treating, I got to sit home and watch a few choice horror flicks.
In short, I guess you could say I did to Halloween what secular society has done to Christmas... I took the spiritual aspect of it away.
They are older now, and neither of them wants to go trick-or-treating. My daughter is a very strong Christian and considers Halloween a useless
holiday (except for the free candy), and my son just doesn't give a hoot about it (about like me). I still use the holiday to watch my horror flicks,
and they still talk about when they were younger and how much fun they had visiting relatives. We all look at the costumes and cringe whenever someone
gets hurt during Halloween activities. Halloween is not gone form our lives, it just isn't that important. It's another aspect of the world we're
But it's not what we're of
As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.