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Halloween is not the devil’s birthday

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Several years ago, a woman at our church told our oldest son, Ryley, that it was bad to celebrate Halloween because it is the devil’s birthday.

Quickly:

1. It is not the devil’s birthday.
2. It is not the devil’s birthday.
3. It is not the devil’s birthday.

We strongly assured him our family wouldn’t celebrate such a thing, and Halloween was not an evil day. I was furious that an adult would tell a lie like that to a little boy, especially at church. I really don’t care if she doesn’t observe Halloween, but she had no right to stomp all over one of our wholesome family traditions.

It is true that in recent years, Halloween has been highjacked by adults as an excuse to dress like prostitutes and party like it’s A.D. 59 in Rome. Images of death and horror are replacing good clean apple-bobbing fun. Why?

Because we are letting it happen. 

I think when families give up on Halloween, we shouldn’t be surprised to see something ugly fill the void. When most of us were kids, we still roamed our neighborhoods on October 31st. Huge packs of flashlight-waving kids went door-to-door together. Neighbors actually saw each other, thanked each other, and marveled at all the Bionic Women and Six Million Dollar Men there were that year. We returned home exhausted. After dumping our sugary loot on the dining room table, we got to pick one piece to eat before bed. What a night!

Now? Not.

It’s malls, church basements, school gyms. It’s still community, but the adventure, the darkness, the walking in the snap of October night, the thrill, the approach to the house, the ringing of the bell, the anticipation, the opening, the neighbor smiling, the bowl, the unison of Trick-or-Treat, the little ones following with small shouts a second or two behind, the laughter, the thank you, the walking back down the steps, the admiration of the jack-o-lanterns, the comparisons, the decisions regarding left or right, north or south, the tired walk back home, the inspection, the trades, the falling into bed, the costumes in a heap on the floor, the talk of next year, I’m gonna be a cowboy.

All that? Gone, in the name of being safe from a threat which really isn’t there. Unless you let it move in.

Not on our street. We are taking Halloween back.

 

 

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Comments
  • comment avatar john October 25, 2011

    Halloween, (not the devils birthday)
    I understand what your saying in regard to
    “the good clean fun” you enjoyed as a child on this day.
    Unfortunately, we no longer live in such a nice world.
    The worship of devils,witchcraft, VAMPIRES, and all types of darkness is attempting to steal the souls of our children, like NEVER before!
    Why not teach our kids “the Truth” about this day?
    That Is and has Always been about celebrating Evil.
    It is the most (publicly) celebrated day, for witches, pagans, occultists,those who worship the devil.
    Google

    Let’s teach our children to take a stand For Christ! Not darkness.
    the theif comes to steal kill and destroy,

    • comment avatar Daria October 25, 2011

      You do realize that Easter is based upon the pagan rites of spring – bunnies and eggs for fertility? It was a celebration of life and hoping for a fruitful and plentiful growing season. You must know (as a vocal advocate of Christ) that the church has based a lot of their “religious” holidays around pagan celebrations? If you are going to say that Halloween is evil, then what about Easter when zombies are celebrated (the dead rising after 3 days).

      In fall, there has been a harvest festival and celebration for 1,000’s of years. Halloween is no more evil than Easter.

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson October 25, 2011

    I agree with you! For us, Halloween is good, clean fun and we absolutely love it. For all the others who bring the grotesque/sleazy side of it? Such a shame!

  • comment avatar JoAnn October 25, 2011

    Growing up, we were never allowed to celebrate Halloween, due to similar beliefs held by your Church Lady. We were never told it was the devil’s birthday, per se, but it actually symbolized something much worse than that. (I’ll spare you the details.)

    We were never allowed to trick-or-treat, but we could participate in the “Costume Party” at school, as long as we were something that didn’t even HINT of evilness. But, Beggars’ Night was never something we were allowed to participate in, period, ever, and even expressing a curiosity about it indicated that the dark-side was winning.

    *sigh*

    Then, I grew up and moved away, and realized it was okay to hold different beliefs than my family regarding this holiday. I trick-or-treated with my friends for the very first time when I went to college. I had a blast!

    My husband was raised with the more mainstream view of Halloween, and that’s the route we’ve gone with our daughter. We hand out candy here, and we often get quite a few trick-or-treaters, depending on the weather. I’ve taken our daughter out, and we’re going with the “good, clean, fun” way of seeing it, rather than the way I was raised.

    It took a long time for me to actually enjoy Halloween, because walking the tightrope between my relatives and my husband’s relatives is difficult. My husband’s parents WANT photos of Claire in outfits and trick-or-treating, and my parents are appalled to even think we’re allowing such a thing.

    In the end, it’s our house and our rules, and we’re choosing to raise our daughter the way we see fit. On the 31st, our porch light will be on…

    🙂

  • comment avatar jon October 25, 2011

    ignorant christians spreading fear, what’s new?

    The history of halloween is originally pagan, as are most aspects of christianity. Dressing up in costumes and wearing masks were ways to ward off evil spirits, not worshipping the devil as ignorant people have indicated in their posts.

  • comment avatar Susan October 25, 2011

    I have always hated the sleezy and scary part of Halloween. It wasn’t until I had children that I realized there is a cute and fun part of Halloween and that is what we focus on. My 10 year old is now telling me she doesn’t like Halloween, and I know it is all of the gory, scary stuff that she doesn’t enjoy. It’s hard when you walk into a store and are greeted by creepy, evil-looking decorations. I’m focusing on the cute, the fun and innocent parts of Halloween. We will look the other way when it comes to the rest.

  • comment avatar John Smith October 25, 2011

    to John– I can use google and prove any point i wish to make. That is no argument. You are correct in that Halloween coincides with some Pagan rituals, but so does Christmas. Halloween-Originally All Hallows Eve is the day to revere the dead, not worship. All the secular and non-secular holidays have been so commercialized that none of them retain the original intent. I am a christian, so please don’t accuse me of not being one.

    If you look at the recorded history (Google does not qualify) you will see that the early Church made most of the holidays on what was Pagan Ritual days, to help the conversion of the pagans to Christianity.

    Each day is what you make of it. It is the job of the parents to teach their children what they believe and not believe. But please teach your children on true facts not what you read on the Internet. If you want the truth go the library and do research. there are many texts on the history of Christianity and how they replaced many pagan ritual days with their own holidays.

    For example Christmas was chosen to replace the Winter Solstice ritual. and by the way it is a day of worshiping the dead. Yes its Jesus Christ but for non Christians its just as bad as the way you described Halloween.

    Please be intelligent and truly do some research before spouting off what you believe with out any shred of evidence. Did i say Google is not reference material?

    Thanks

  • comment avatar edj October 25, 2011

    We lived overseas for years and celebrated our first american halloween (for my kids that is) when the twins were 10 and Elliot 12. We walked around our suburban neighbourhood, met our neighbours, made new friends. The kids and I were AMAZED that all these strangers were so generous and kind. Last year, home again for the first time 3 years later, I really enjoyed being the one passing out the treats and meeting people, admiring costumes, etc. I agree. Halloween is what we make it.
    For the record, growing up I was not allowed to participate either, but I enjoy the freedom I have now.

  • comment avatar Lori Lavender Luz October 25, 2011

    “I think when families give up on Halloween, we shouldn’t be surprised to see something ugly fill the void.”

    So true!

    My family will do its part to take back Halloween.

  • comment avatar Suzanne Bastien October 25, 2011

    I am stunned by some of the replies to your post Gretchen. Actually, shocked because of the close minded and uninformed people that still exist with the plethora of information that is out there.

    John Smith is absolutely correct in what many of the religions have borrowed from one another to facilitate their “path” to be followed by their congregations.

    Halloween isn’t a religious holiday to those that don’t follow it as one. It’s a fun tradition, it has nothing to do with devil worship (neither does paganism or “witches”), anyone who believes that is only regurgitating things they’ve been taught without researching it themselves.

    As a side note, it’s called Samhain for those that do follow that day as a holiday, which is the New Year for people who walk that path. It’s to give respects to those that have passed on and to hide from those that mean us harm. Nothing to do with the devil.

    I commend you for not allowing your children to be taught falsely by a lady that had no right to tell your son anything like that.

    • comment avatar Tonya October 28, 2012

      Just because one’s belief system (right or wrong in your mind) has one determined to oppose/celebrate a holiday doesn’t mean that individual is close-minded. I get increasingly annoyed with people when enjoying a liberty that another denounces, calling that individual close-minded, regardless of the knowledge or time the other has spent considering the subject. Please, we may all have valid points and differing views without any of us being “close-minded.” Or perhaps others may call you close-minded for blatantly not respecting their side of the story.

  • comment avatar Daria October 25, 2011

    I got so inflamed with the first comment that I replied before reading the other responses – so sorry for reiterating what was already said.

    My kids like Halloween. I like Halloween. I love the connection with our neighbors and that Jim (in his 80’s) buys special full sized candy bars for our kids because he likes them so much. I like that we meet new neighbors and everyone is happy. I like fostering the creativity to make your own costume. And I LOVE the cute, cute treats that people make with Halloween themes.

    Good – clean fun is exactly what I embrace about Halloween.

  • comment avatar Laura aka LaLaGirl October 25, 2011

    I loooove Halloween. And I’m a Christian. And once upon a time, I followed a more pagan religion, and I am always surprised to hear Christians talk about Halloween, Wicca, paganism, and witchcraft as being demonic or satanic. Wiccans don’t worship the devil – they don’t even BELIEVE in the devil! Do a little ACTUAL research.

    • comment avatar Daria October 25, 2011

      Amen! 🙂

  • comment avatar Catherine October 26, 2011

    What a thought provoking post. I grew up celebrating Halloween and my daughter does now. It is a creative holiday That allows her to “be” something or someone else for a day and really what cooler thing is there for a four year old.

  • comment avatar lexi October 14, 2016

    thinking back about my childhood and celebrating Hallows eve before all saints day was fun, strangers being generous, and the parties were fun, trick or treating was fun. Today people make so much out of it. Are we to take away everything that’s fun for children? they enjoy dressing up, and going door to door collecting candy and letting their neighbors see them in their costumes. Some adults make it creepy and distateful for some children. I am a Christian and I call it a fall celebration for everyone, I would like to add that I wish everyone a fun and safe holiday.

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