Well, tomorrow is the big day.
I live in a college town, so Halloween is a big deal. I also work in a residence hall, where student behavior would lead you to believe that Halloween is actually the greatest week-long celebration of the year and that anyone who chooses not to participate hates fun and has no social skills.
According to a Campus Media Group survey in 2010, 69.4 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds planned on dressing up for Halloween and 55.4 percent were either throwing or attending a Halloween party—numbers that I’m sure have either held steady or risen.
WVU Students Miranda Smalley and Eric Reynolds
at their Halloween party Saturday, October 26.
While social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been buzzing with costume picture posts, Halloween recipes and status updates about parties, pumpkin carvings and can-you-believe-that-girl-wore-the-same-costume-as-me rants, religious blogs have been rehashing the ever popular debate on whether or not religious people should celebrate Halloween or allow their children to go trick-or-treating.
Halloween traces its roots back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced sow-in), a New Year celebration that marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. Because this time of year was often associated with death due to the cold, the Celts believed that the lines between the realms of the living and the dead were blurred on this night and ghosts returned to earth. While it has taken many forms throughout history and in different cultures, the meaning of Halloween has always been highly debated by religious officials.
“Darkness is darkness and evil is evil, no matter how fun and innocent it appears,” the blog post says.
The blog implies that children are innocent and that parents are charged with the duty of protecting them from darkness and “forces bent on their destruction.”
While the post acknowledges that the American version of Halloween is spawned from the Catholic holiday of All Hallows Eve (the night before all Saints Day), which celebrates the lives of recently departed souls, the blogger advises that since this practice cannot be found in the Bible it should not be commemorated.
Religious Blogger Travis Allen, the directing manager of the blog Grace to You, took a different perspective. While he noted that he respects Christians who choose not to acknowledge the holiday, he also said that Halloween is not an evil day that must be avoided.
Allen said that Christians should not respond to Halloween superstitiously because they are enlightened by the Word of God and know that evil spirits are “no more active and sinister on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year.” He suggested that Christians celebrate Halloween at whatever level the feel convicted to do so and that it is a great opportunity to show the world that you can be a Christian and still have fun without getting caught up in the “evil” part of the holiday.
For what it’s worth (and I know it’s not much), in my opinion, Halloween is what you make it. It can be a fun time to get together with friends, dress up in silly costumes, carve pumpkins and drink apple cider. It can be mistreated by teenagers who want to cause trouble and knock over a couple mailboxes. And if you go looking for evil, you will no doubt find it somewhere.
Come back tomorrow for a look at how practitioners of Islam address Halloween.