OPINION


10-31-2011 

Mike Renzulli
Who's Afraid of Halloween?  
 
Halloween is an outgrowth of the Celtic pagan holiday Samhain in which the ancient Celts commemorated the end of the summer harvest by holding huge feasts to celebrate the season's end.
 
Roman Catholic Popes Gregory III & IV adopted this tradition by replacing Samhain with All Saints Day. The holiday would also come to be known as All Hallows Eve.
 
Even though Christians adopted many holidays of ancient pagan religions, one thing that did not change about them was that they were all commemorated (in one way or another) with festive events celebrating the abundance people in each culture had accumulated thanks to their hard work.
 
Now there are some Christians, and even members of Jewish sects, who highlight their anti-capitalist sentiments by demeaning the nature of Halloween just like they ridicule the decorations and commercialism seen during Christmas time.
 
The fact that people go out and buy food (usually candy) and give it out voluntarily to children who come to people's doorstep asking for it, one would think is something Halloween critics would ultimately endorse since it is another form of charitable giving.
 
After the exchange, Trick-or-Treaters express their thanks for your generosity and go their merry way knowing they will enjoy yet another sweet treat when they get home.
 
In addition to giving candy to Trick-or-Treaters, I regularly buy bags of candy and give it to the people at my job. I get satisfaction knowing that I spread good will by doing this.
 
Sure there is the mischief that happens during Halloween with the egg throwing, pranks kids play and the vandalism committed on people and property. These activities are usually directed to those who don't give candy or just out of plain facetiousness. The violent and property damaging pranks played on others during this holiday are the exception and not the rule.
 
Halloween is one more reminder of the wealth and abundance we enjoy and the gifts we give to people for the satisfaction of doing so while decorating our homes, work cubicles, and sometimes dressing up in costumes are done in good fun and in a non-sacrificial way.
 
But since Halloween involves giving treats, participating in other forms of entertainment, such as visiting haunted houses or even viewing horror flicks, and not sacrifice religionists hypocritically degrade it. While I am no fan of horror stories, some religionists continue their hypocritical nonsense by scaring their flock into not celebrating Halloween alleging it is a covenant with death and hell.
 
Yet many symbolically eat the body and drink the blood of their savior during Sunday mass and hallow or laud the sacrifice of Jesus by reading aloud accounts of his horrific torture and death during church services. Christians also commemorate Jesus's life and work with many paintings and art forms of his bloodied, pain-stricken body nailed to a cross in their temples of worship.
 
Lets not forget the many tales of clergy, saints and missionaries who were tortured, persecuted or killed for their beliefs or for the act of prostelyzing where they openly begged people in public to repent and convert to their religion. I find it highly hypocritical that a religious hero's sacrificial lives, who often end violently, are held as a high moral standard for people to follow. But when it comes to having fun on holidays, like Halloween, many religionists frown upon it.

Don't get me wrong, parents can raise their kids the way they want and if people choose not to participate in holidays, like Halloween, for religious or personal reasons that is up to them. But I think to declare Halloween as being evil or satanic because of it's, admittedly, pagan origins or for kids dressing up as things like ghosts, gouls, witches or even for the act of watching horror films is silly.
 
And to deny kids the ability to go out Trick-or-Treating or ostracize people for celebrating Halloween based on the notion that it goes against religious faith or their diety's word is irrational and wrong.
 
Halloween is a great and harmless manner to kick off the holiday season. I could not think of a better way for people to enjoy it than with candy, costumes, friends, family and having fun.