Friday, October 31, 2008

happy haunting

For years, our family did not celebrate Halloween.

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.)



momto5minnies said...

Interesting read ... I'll have to go over to your link.


Giovanni said...

I can't believe you and your family fell into this secular trap! You are surely doomed!!! I will say many prayers for your family and your soul!

Cathy Adamkiewicz said...

Thanks, son. :)

Soul Pockets said...

To be honest I never knew some Catholics did not celebrate Halloween until I started homeschooling. I thought only Protestants cared about that stuff. It seems like it is a touchy subject and here I am clueless and ready to party with the dead.

"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."

I love this quote and I am so going to use it.

Happy Halloween!!!

Jacqueline said...

Ha! I loved reading this.... I have jumped from catholic blog to blog and came upon yours. You're a blessing.... it must be the Lord speaking to me through you as I am wrestling with sending some of mine out to school, especially the wonderful, wet-noodle 16 yr. old!!
And yes I did the avoidance of evil holloween for years too.... too extreme, now we emphasize that it is a Catholic feast ....I though my five year old was going to go out as a roman soldier aka St. Martin.... but he went with a vest and tie and said he was a lawyer! Now that's scary!! hee hee
God bless you and yours, it sounds as if we have had similar pregnancy struggles and sufferings, we have 5 in heaven and 7 still left to us to work on! If you check out my blog we have a simmilar motto...mine..." living an ordinary life, extraordinarily well.." weird, eh?...the blog sisterhood!

Mary Lou said...

I agree with you Cathy. When I too first started homeschooling I also got caught up in all the 'Evil' halloween stuff. The first year we didn't have to worry about trick or treating because we were literally on our way to Forida for a vacation. The next year we went to a saints party and were bored out of our skulls. And I couldn't help thinking, "What is so wrong with dressing up as something especially non-scary and getting fee candy?" The answer is nothing. No where in my Catholic Faith did it say we couldn't go Trick or Treating.

As far as Halloween being an evil holiday, so too could be Christmas for real satanists. They probably go all out on Jesus' birthday. I figured if one wants it to be evil they will make it so. People just need to lighten up and be reasonable. After all, God did give human beings Reason, for a reason.

Cassie said...

"It's about death is scary but we can rock it because Jesus went there first."

LOVE it!!!

Laura said...

Can't Halloween just be fun?
If any holiday should give us back our hope in's Halloween.
Kids are able to roam from house to house...neighborhood to neighborhood in silly costumes (more silly than bloody) and adults stay inside to greet them when they come to the door and to give them a treat.
Isn't this great that in spite of all the thing that make our world scary- we have can have a night like this.
I love it.
No, I don't like gore or blood and school is CRAZY on Halloween day.
However, I love that our kids can still do this.

Kim H. said...

You're post SO ROCKED! I loved it. I feel as if I've know lots of people like that and I never quite got why they were so consumed with what they interpreted as the evil part of Halloween.

And I love Laura's comment.
I'm so glad I found you! Wonderful women out there connecting and being real. I love it - what a blessing you are!

Cathy Adamkiewicz said...

Thanks, Kim! I'm so glad I met you too! That's when this blogging business is really cool.

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

LOVE this post! (Kim H. linked to it on her blog and as a Catholic Mom I had to come over and read...)

Jeanne said...

Cathy, I had a similar experience, but did not hold out nearly as long as you did before allowing Trick or Treating, only a couple of years. We do the best we can, and thank God for change as we go along. I wonder what I will change int he future :) Jeanne