What Happened to Halloween?

In actuality, evil may be a bit of an overstatement. I don’t suppose I’ve run into anyone who thinks that Halloween is completely evil and that those who trick-or-treat or attend a Halloween party are engaging in some sort of sugar-induced Satan worshiping. What I have seen in the years since I last trick-or-treated, somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty years or so ago, is a dramatic increase in the number of families who don’t take part in any Halloween festivities at all. I’ve heard several explanations from these families, some in person and some that I may have seen on the news or read about in the paper, as to why this is the case. Though there are many, they all seem to share a common theme that goes back to that particular family’s religious beliefs.

Make no mistake, if that is your conviction then you are doing the right thing by standing firm in that conviction. In a society where conviction of any sort seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur, that is a refreshing change. So, kudos to you! My question is simply this: What has changed so much over the years that has made Halloween taboo for so many?

As a child, Halloween was a day I looked forward to with great anticipation every year. I started the process of choosing a costume several weeks, if not months, in advance! I remember being Superman(I loved that cape), some sort of monster with a green head, a mummy, a vampire, and a cowboy among many others. The churches I grew up in, in which my old-school, conservative, traditional, Bible preaching, teaching, and believing father was the pastor, even had Halloween parties for the children of the church. The kids(and lots of the adults) would dress up in the costume of their choice and there would be games, a costume contest, and lots of goodies. In one church, our Samford University educated minister of music and youth actually had the youth group sponsor a haunted house to help raise money! It was SCARY! Granted, this was 1979 and maybe he just hadn’t yet been enlightened yet.

Out of all of my friends that I grew up with and spent many a Halloween trolling for candy and seeing who could put together the scariest costume, I can’t think of a single one who became a devil worshiper or joined a cult. I’m not saying that it hasn’t happened. I’m just saying I don’t know about it if it has.

As I said before, if that’s your conviction then I think that’s great and you will get no argument from me telling me that you are wrong. I am just curious to hear from some of you who might feel differently than me about Halloween. Maybe you can fill me in on something I’ve missed. I don’t want to wake up one day and find that I’ve shaved my head and joined the Moonies because I celebrated Halloween. Help me out.

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4 thoughts on “What Happened to Halloween?

  1. I love Halloween! Never seen anything evil in it. Just love the anticipation, hopefully cool weather, dressing the kids up in funny costumes, and walking up to friendly neighbors and to say "trick or treat"! Nope, haven't shaved my head and started saying weird things!I think we take ourselves a little too serious sometimes.

  2. There is a general backlash against popular culture within devout Christian families now. That is the difference. In 1979, there was no Britney Spears dancing around half-naked and being worshipped by adoring teens. Not that I mind Britney (or whomever is the current equivalent) dancing around half-naked at all. But I wouldn't let my daughter watch it. There is a sort of revulsion to all things pagan and popular now because of the pervasive media culture, and Halloween is easily associated with that pagan culture by Christians. America is ancient Rome on the decline, only much faster this time. Personally, I love Halloween. Now my wife and I pick out the costume for our toddler, and we went trick-or-treated with gusto. I would rather teach my children how to deal with modern culture than to run from it. But I understand the pyschology of others. People should take heart that even in ancient Rome, there were still very devout Christians. The popular culture didn't rule them; neither does it have to rule our families.

  3. I saw something far different than you! The hoards of parents that drive to every neighborhood they can get to, so their kids can go home with enough candy to feed an army. Driving through neighborhoods instead of walking with their children! It was madness. I get more irritated with it every year!

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