Friday, October 31, 2008
When I first began homeschooling I was heavily influenced by the other families I met who were teaching their kids at home. One of them, a family I still love dearly, insisted that Halloween was a satanic holiday that should be avoided.
They did not pass out candy and did not allow their children to trick-or-treat. The children were allowed to dress up, but only as canonized saints. They shared videos produced by evangelical churches that "exposed" the roots of Halloween, and told us (and their children) that kids who went door-to-door begging for candy were at risk for abduction by satanists and witches who were looking for victims to sacrifice.
I was easily frightened, and tired of the gore of secular Halloween celebrations, so I told the family we would not be taking part any more.
For years we did not trick-or-treat or pass out candy. We attended and hosted several "All Saints' Day" events and avoided ghosts, witches, skeletons and even jack-o-lanterns (you do realize that they were designed to attract and host demons, right?)
Bobbing for apples was off limits, too, because that had roots in ancient worship of the Roman goddess Pomona (the goddess of fruit trees -- truly dangerous stuff.)
I don't intend to make fun of folks who don't want to celebrate Halloween. Remember, that was me for many years. But a few years ago, I started wondering if I had it right.
I came across an article (wish I could remember where) that pointed out the Catholic roots of the day. I did some research and started feeling I had been acting, well, very protestant. (Today I found this nice site that has some facts on the holiday.)
I started to get annoyed with All Saints' Day parties where the kids HAD to dress as canonized saints when I realized that the feast day is intended to honor all the folks in Heaven who don't have feasts of their own.
My older children remember the days when Halloween was a dirty word. They now love taking the little ones trick-or-treating and enjoy dressing up in scary costumes. (There is a bit of a backlash here: AJ is going to be some sort of a vampire this year, and his props include a giant bottle of fake blood.)
I've realized that Halloween is really about looking death in the eye and winking. It's about whistling in the graveyard. It's about we're all going to end up skeletons someday so party on. It's about death is scary but we can rock it because Jesus went there first.
So today we'll celebrate Halloween, and enjoy the innocent fun of this Catholic tradition. Tomorrow we'll talk about all those cool souls in Heaven and on Sunday we'll pray for those awaiting release from Purgatory. Halloween is the first feast in an awesome Catholic trilogy of feasts, and we'll be living it up.
While we still can...(Insert demonic laugh.)