Growing up Baptist, I was taught that Christians shouldn’t celebrate Halloween. When I was a bit older, I was told it was a satanic holiday, though nobody truly explained to me why.
Years later, my church started giving pamphlets out with the history of Halloween. It said that the clerics hundreds of years ago would go door to door demanding tribute on Oct. 31. If the people didn’t give into their request, they would put a curse on the house and the family.
Though my church does not celebrate the holiday, it offers an alternative called the Harvest Festival. But I always wondered why that wasn’t considered the same thing as celebrating Halloween.
Such a simple question plagued me my whole life. I watched my friends’ reaction when I told them my religion wouldn’t let me do the things they did on this particular holiday.
Growing up in a home where the rule is “do what my Mom says or don’t sit for a week” wasn’t easy, especially when I wanted to have fun with my friends.
Since I’m allergic to chocolate, it seemed like, not having to collect it was an easy trade-off, but that’s not what I got from Halloween. Instead, I got to spend time with my friends outside of school.
As a child and only seeing my “best-friends-for-life” for about half an hour of play, it never seemed like enough time. Being outside for hours on end while collecting candy from strangers on Halloween night would feel closer to an eternity for me; still my Mom wouldn’t let me.
As an adult, I should have the right to choose whether or not I want to celebrate Halloween, but the question still remains, “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?”
For example, my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law don’t condone trick or treating. However, they agreed that it might be all right to accompany a child. My sister-in-law, who is in a child’s life, says she will go trick or treating with that child this year.
It seems like children make all the difference. Even my Jehovah’s Witness friend will not take holidays away from her children, though she grew up in a home and attended a church that didn’t believe in celebrating holidays.
As an adult with a family, my friend has decided that maybe her church’s way isn’t exactly right for her. She’s giving her sons one of the things she missed growing up and that’s being able to celebrate holidays.
That still leaves a question in my heart of what is right for me. I don’t have children, so does that mean I should refrain from Halloween?
I have volunteered at my church’s Harvest Festival when I was younger, and it made me happy to see all the children enjoying themselves and not wanting to be out trick or treating.
As I get older, it seems easier to not want to celebrate Halloween with my friends. Instead, I invite them to my church for some fun, food, games and conversation. Still, they invite me to their celebrations, whether it is a party or going door-to-door collecting free candy.
I still want to go with my friends wherever they go, and I still wish I wasn’t kept from trick or treating as a child, but I have a new outlook on it. I can see why my church thought it was wrong, but that was hundreds of years ago, sort of like using the “N” word now.
Last year I went trick or treating with my boyfriend, and two years ago I went to a Halloween party. But because I see the argument from both sides, I still ask the question: Should I, as a Christian, celebrate Halloween?
And every year the answer I get is pray on it. And I do.