When I used to hang out on Christian forums and blogs, I would always encounter people that were “anti-Halloween.” Growing up, I remember seeing the same thing. Local churches would have “harvest parties” or stage “hell houses,” and certain kids wouldn’t show up at trick-or-treat, all in the name of avoiding the taint of Halloween.
I can see why some Christians don’t like Halloween. Some costumes are risque or downright violent. Some people do use Halloween as a time to do bad things around the community, such as vandalism. And some of the themes of Halloween, such as witches and evil spirits, are not things to be taken lightly as Christians.
However, let’s be honest. For most Christians celebrating the holiday, it is just a time of fun. It is a time to dress up, get some candy, and enjoy the crisp fall weather. It is also time to get spooked a little, without any real consequences from it. I have heard it said it is a “gateway” to evil, but I have never met a kid that wanted to be a witch after dressing up as one for Halloween (who would want to look like an evil hag anyway??). Kids that are raised properly will clearly know the line between pretending and reality.
Also, as Catholics, we know that Halloween is simply the eve of All Saints Day. It is really a time to celebrate the great saints that have blessed the Church. Even though pagan customs are now associated with the holiday (such as Jack O Lanterns, wearing masks, etc), I know of no Christian that gives any of these practices pagan meanings. Many of the online “Halloween haters” always talk about Christians that celebrate Halloween being pagans. Like I said, I know of no Christian who celebrates Halloween that is a pagan.
I also find it funny that some Christians accuse Catholics of taking a pagan feast and Christianizing it. Maybe we did do that. Nonetheless, by switching out Halloween for “harvest festivals” or “hell houses” they are doing the exact same thing. They are taking aspects of the “pagan” holiday (such as masks, scary scenes, etc) and transforming them in a way that they believe to be Christian. That is kind of what Catholics did when we scheduled All Saints Day (although I think evidence suggests the date was not chosen to coincide with the pagan Samhain, at least not purposefully).
Either way, I like Halloween. I think the real Halloween, connected to All Saints, is much richer than the secular holiday. If you want to totally avoid the secular stuff, this is a great day to teach kids about the saints, and give them a chance to dress up as one of God’s holy ones. Nonetheless, trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, and wearing costumes probably aren’t going to damn your soul, and may make the autumn a little more fun and let the Halloween haters hate.
We have collected some Halloween prayers you may be interested in.