I just a did a quick search on the origins of Halloween and found some interesting information.
The modern holiday of Halloween has its origins in the ancient Gaelic festival known as Samhain. The Festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture…
Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The Ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.
The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, where the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them. [SOURCE]
Personally, I found this very disturbing.
In my younger years we dressed up in costumes, went trick-or-treating, had “harvest parties”, bobbed for apples and went on hayrides which oftentimes consisted of bonfires, but we never looked at it as participating in a pagan ritual.
Having grown up in a Christian home, I went to church on a regular basis. All of the churches I attended over the years would always attempt to provide some “Christian” alternative to Halloween, but basically all of the activities mentioned above were somehow incorporated.
Here I am now with children of my own and I want them to have annual traditions but its important to me that they not be closely tied to the wickedness of the “holiday”.
Witches, no matter how you dress them up, are wicked. Calling upon evil spirits or the deceased is also wicked. The fact that it’s glorified (and I use that term loosely) on Halloween and becoming more and more prevalent in our culture through the “art” of television & film, does not make it any less evil.
I find myself in a tough spot.
I don’t want to condone our culture’s fascination with evil on this day, but I don’t want to forbid my children from engaging in fun activities that often take place at this time.
For example, I enjoy playing “dress up” and would love for my kids to do so as well. I see nothing wrong with wearing costumes in general, provided the costumes don’t represent anything of an evil or sinful nature.
A few weeks ago, we picked up a few costumes for my little ones since they are so readily available this time of year. Harmless ones…Elmo, a Lion, & a Princess/Bridal Gown. I’m planning on allowing them to wear their costumes all day on Wednesday. We’re not going trick-or-treating (we live out in the middle of the country anyway), but why not get dressed up and show off their costumes at home and to close friends & family?
I’m in favor of treats but candy is a HUGE no-no in our house. I would much rather have bananas or strawberries dipped in chocolate or an ice cream sundae than gobs and gobs of Lolipops, Smartees & Candy Corn. We’ve made a huge attempt to limit the amount of sugar we allow into our children’s lives, and I get so frustrated when people think they’re doing a GOOD thing by encouraging our little ones to splurge on this stuff at this time of year.
Fall is my favorite time of year.
I enjoy hayrides, bonfires and bobbing for apples…not because of any evil significance, but because I enjoy the crisp coolness of the outdoors and the fun in playing games. The LORD made the harvest time, and I see it as a time to celebrate.
I hope to incorporate all of the above activities (& more) into our family life…not just at Halloween, but throughout the whole fall season. How about you?
What are some fall family traditions you have done together?