Every year on All Hallow's Eve it seems there is some very well intentioned soul recommending that parents keep their children from participating in the festivities that have come to symbolize the secular aspect of Halloween. It has its origin in a pagan Holiday, it does not glorify God, it is harmful spiritually, are all common statements often heard. Here are some reasons why I do not share those concerns.
It is true that Halloween's roots lie in an ancient pagan festival for the dead. For the Celts and other ancient people of the British Isles November 1st was the feast of Samhain, the coming of winter, and on this day, they believed, the spirits of the dead were free to roam the world. Bonfires were lit, masks were worn in an attempt to keep away the souls of the dead and all evil. With the spread of Christianity into these lands the emphasis was changed and in 841 AD the feast of All Saints or a commemoration of the faithful departed was established on that date.
Considering that many beloved celebrations of Christendom are held on days when pagan holidays were originally celebrated, the objection to Halloweens pagan origins seems minor! Christmas celebration in December has replaced the Saturnalia and Feast of the Conquering Sun. A fourty day period of preparation for the resurrection of the God Tamuz preceeded the Christian Lent, and Easter carries within it the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring. Our Christian forefathers saw Christ as victorious over all powers of darkness and his worship as replacing other celebrations. All days belong to God and Christians rejoice.
While it is possible that All Hallow's Eve as any other feast can be used for evil purposes, our culture celebrates it as an innocent night of make belief, costumes, children's fantasy and fun. Besides the religious celebrations which commemorate the faithful Departed and remind us of the Communion of the Saints, we who believe in the light of the world can also use it to celebrate the Light.
"Hallow" means holy and the word Halloween refers to the night before the feast of all holies, or All Saints Day. On this day we joyfully remember that Christ made a way for the spirits in captivity, that he dispelled the powers of darkness and made mockery of them in the cross, that he is above all powers and principalities. We do not have to fear as the pagans did but we can rejoice that Christ is indeed victorious over all evil and darkness. We remember also that for men it is appointed that they encounter death and beyond that, the power of resurrection. We recall those whom we love and see no longer because they have preceded us to the presence of God.
In the middle of all that heavy mystery and hard realities we recall this season, a little fun does not hurt! We dress up not in fear but in innocent celebration, we exchange sweets and goodies, we allow fantasy and wonder to enter into our lives which are burdened by work, stress, sin and sometimes even religion . We Emphasize all things good, joyful and pure. Let your children know that they are "children of the light" called to walk in the light and not be afraid!
"...In love, there is no fear, perfect love casts out all fear..."