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5 Reasons to Celebrate or Not to Celebrate Halloween

Learn about the roots of Halloween, its traditions, and consider both the benefits and setbacks it can make for your family.

With so many families cutting back on expenses in these economic times, some families have considered toning down holiday celebrations. Take Halloween for example. After costumes, candies, and parties even a responsible parent cringes about the bill that follows. However, have you ever considered holiday spending as an investment? Holiday traditions, such as Trick-or-Treating, yield great returns on their principle because they build up family bonds and make positive lasting memories. Here are 5 Halloween Traditions and the reason you shouldn’t skip or skimp on them this year.

  1. Making costumes: Thinking up and creating a costume with your child makes for a wild adventure! They learn that after getting an idea, you have to consider all the variables and make plan before starting a project. It’s a great way to teach wise decision making.
  2. Cooking food and attending parties: Time to pass down those recipes from your great-grandmother! This is also a wonderful place to practice manners with guests.
  3. Carving a pumpkin as a family: Use this event to emphasize the importance of teamwork and compromise.
  4. Trick-or-Treating: A perfect opportunity to reinforce safety. “Never talk to strangers.” “Don’t travel alone.” “Look both ways before crossing the street.” ... and so on.
  5. Telling scary stories: Teaching children to treasure a good story, or having them use their creative minds to create one is another great step in development.

Even with all the intellectual and relational benefits of this Holiday and its traditions, a growing number of Americans choose not to celebrate All Hollow’s Eve. A (very) brief look into the history of Halloween’s origin, and how it has adapted and developed over time, might shed some light on their decision.

Reasons to Celebrate Halloween
Originating from a Celtic festival over 2000 years ago, October 31 was believed to be the night when Saman (Lord over Death) would take the people who passed away that year into the afterlife. Those still alive would dress up in ghastly costumes to blend in with their deceased ancestors and would prepare food to please and subdue the ghost’s desire to cause calamity for the living. Roman accounts site that the Druids even practiced human sacrifice on this night, but there is some speculation on whether that is accurate or not.

We do know, however, that after Constantine declared Christianity legal in A.D. 313, the Church encouraged their own observances on October the 31st, but the motivation was ghastly different. Congregation members would make visits from home to home praying for the dead and carrying a turnip lantern illustrating souls stuck in purgatory. Interestingly, those in the Victorian Era saw Halloween as a night of passion and romance. Instead of feeding spirits, they fed a multitude of guests as they tried to outdo their neighbor’s Hallow’s Eve party.

In the Twentieth Century, North Americans carried on this ‘happier’ view of Halloween. All sorts of civic groups endorsed it as a holiday for anyone, a good pitch to the melting pot that is America. The phrase “Trick-or-Treat” came about during the depression, when troublemakers would be bribed with candy to leave aside their property destroying ways.

Be it practical reason, spiritual observance, or moral conviction, here are 5 Reasons Not to Celebrate Halloween.

  1. Letting a child dress up and act like a goblin, demon, vampire, or ghost for a night may not be consistent with kind of attitudes and actions you’re trying to teach them the rest of the year, such as kindness and compassion.
  2. The origin of costumes for Halloween came from a celebration where ghosts and demons were believed to wreak havoc on the earth.
  3. The term “Trick-or-Treat” was bribe to keep youth from causing trouble. A lack of sweets meant probable damage to one’s property.
  4. The “Pagan” and “Christian” rituals for this night are very similar. When seen from an unknowing eye, it may be hard to tell the two apart.
  5. Your dentist will make more money.


Rayko October 13th, 2010 8:46 am ET
this site is very good.

Julie October 13th, 2010 9:37 am ET
THANK YOU for posting this - it's refreshing to actually see someone address the possibility of NOT recognizing October 31st. I have a 3 year old and now that she's more aware of what's going on - I struggle with Halloween - I don't feel comfortable even acknowledging the date. Merchandising for this day gets bigger every year..and just seems so "dark" to me..makes it kind of hard to ignore.

Smithee October 13th, 2010 11:01 am ET
I am a fan of Halloween, but just because it's a chance to go a bit wild and have some fun. While I know where the origins of the holiday are, I am not religious and don't have strong feelings about that side of it either way. It's a much more theatrical now, more about becoming something or someone else for a day.

me October 13th, 2010 11:09 am ET
A lot of these are reasons for me to celebrate Halloween. Number 4 is the best reason for me, because I'm Pagan. It's fascinating to see how this is the one holiday that went from Pagan to Christian during the year that actual gets attention, rather than Yule/Christmas (Common symbols for Yule were holly, feasts, Yule trees, and gifts) or Ostara/Easter (Ostara's symbols were rabbits and eggs),etc.

norma October 13th, 2010 11:50 am ET
all year round we tell children not to take candy from people we dont know . than its ok on halloween? i think there some wrong with that

Emily October 13th, 2010 11:51 am ET
I do not celebrate Halloween at all. My children still do not understand this. As a devout Christian, I believe celebrating this evil holiday is just like turning my back on what I believe. I am glad to see that other people do not celebrate this holiday.

Miss Tamela Ruth Payne October 13th, 2010 3:13 pm ET
I use to celebrate Halloween, but decided not to anymore, because whether people want to admit it or not, people were killed and sacrified to appease Satan. People are still hurt on Halloween to appease Satan. It is not an innocent holiday, people are hurt, instead I keep the lights out, I do not want strangers coming to my house, you do know who that person is, they are wearing a costume. Instead I pray for the safety of the children, parents, and people on that Halloween night, because I know that people can get hurt on that night. This is not a playful holiday, people do get hurt.

cathy October 13th, 2010 4:43 pm ET
Nothing unreligeous about this explanation of Halloween. Halloween, celebrated each year on October 31, is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity and life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. Halloween has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts. The Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day and the Roman festival of Feralia all influenced the modern holiday of Halloween. In the 19th century, Halloween began to lose its religious connotation, becoming a more secular community-based children's holiday. Although the superstitions and beliefs surrounding Halloween may have evolved over the years, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people can still look forward to parades, costumes and sweet treats to usher in the winter season.
Halloween and Thanksgiving are my favorite times of the year.

shay October 13th, 2010 5:41 pm ET
bring on the dark , talk to the dead and give me some candy.

Daniel W Money October 13th, 2010 6:03 pm ET
Whatever the holiday's origins, what we call "Halloween" today is a positive experience for children and adults. It is a chance to express yourself in a way that is not permitted the rest of the year. Face some fears and admit some fantasies. Meet your neighbors and score some treats.

Kim October 13th, 2010 9:48 pm ET
Thank you for explaining how the Christian faith co-opted this sacred Pagan holiday. As a Pagan, I know that this spirituality honors the earth and all her inhabitants so I doubt the Druids practiced human sacrifice. I believe that was yet another intentional falsehood put forth by Christian leaders in their desperate attempt to convert people. Christmas is another day they stole. If only the Christians knew the origins of their religion.

Candy October 14th, 2010 3:42 am ET
I love the way supposedly knowing religious folk consider Halloween an evil holiday. If they really studied religion like they profess to they would know that most of the Halloween rituals are based on Christian based believes and Pagan based believes none that include anything to do with satan. Evil is created by evil people who act on it. i.e. a gun doesn't shoot it's self the person holding the gun makes the decision of what to do with that gun....

Jennifer October 14th, 2010 11:29 am ET
Halloween is a satanic holiday whether anyone wants to own up to it or not! no matter where it originated from, or was meant to be... it has became a day for satanic worship, and human, and animal sacrifice. and just cuz it had some origins in the catholic religion doesnt make it a christian holiday. catholic beliefs and beginnings havent always been something to be proud of anymore than pagan beliefs have! We should all worship GOD, not statues, or the earth!!! Fall is a beautiful time to celebrate and have festivals, but you can do all that without having Halloween. As a Christian, there are a lot of pagan things that I dont celebrate like other Christians do. We dont believe in Santa, or the Easter Bunny, and we celebrate Christmas by singing Happy Birthday to our Lord and Savior Jesus, and Easter by celebrating the tomb being empty, and Jesus being alive!!! We dont do the pagan parts of those holidays either... giving is better than receiving... charity work for others is more important than anything.

Elizabeth October 14th, 2010 12:12 am ET
@Candy hahaha ikr.... its so funny to watch them say how its so "dark" and "evil" hmmm maybe ill just sit back eating my candy watching them all run around preaching how halloween is evil! xD
wow seriouisly... have a vodka and loosen up! dont be such prudes lol
so bring on the darkness and candy!!!

Jenny October 14th, 2010 1:22 pm ET
Santanic Holiday bahahaha this is a holiday focused mainly on Kids these days! Whatever happened a million years ago is HISTORY! my kids think of dressing up into a super heros and being around family to trick or treat! They would never think anything dark or morbid about the holiday UNLESS I told them it was.

Lois Meyer October 16th, 2010 3:46 am ET
I celebrate Fall do not participate in Halloween Devil's night. Besides its way way to expensive to buy the candy to pass out in this economy. My hubby doesn't even get 40 hrs. So we just keep off the lights and shut the blinds and don't turn on the porch lights. I think it teaches kids to go beggine which I am not fond of this at all. Just my 2 cetns. I do not like to celebrate Satan's night.

Tami October 16th, 2010 3:10 pm ET
I just read some of the comments posted re: Halloween. To "Norma" It's not right to let your children take candy from strangers, that's why you ONLY take them to homes of people you know. (Church, neighbors, co-workers) This is the one and only night that if your dream is to be a poice person, you can dress like one, or a space ranger, fairy, knight, or whatever your HEART desires. Why does EVERYTHING have to be so fire and brim stone? If you CHOOSE not to particapate, good for you, but don't try to ruin it for everyone around. I reciently lost my job, but my porch light will be on and I'll be giving out either candy or some kind of treat. (store bought). I hope that other people out there haven't lost the feeling of what it was to be a KID. Trick or Treat!!

Anonymous October 20th, 2010 6:55 am ET
Let the kids dress up in their favorite costumes, go to homes of people you know to trick or trick and let the kids be kids. If you really believe that there is a Satan, then he get you, whether you believe in Halloween or not. Lighten Up.

kgrimes37 October 20th, 2010 9:32 am ET
Right on Tami!!!

V October 20th, 2010 2:55 pm ET
I disagree with number 1 of why not to celebrate halloween. When i was a child i never dressed as anything "scary" or anything like that. the worst thing i dressed up as was a witch. There are many fun and cute costumes that still promote good values. For us halloween was a chance to be creative, my costumes were always the talk of the town! it dosnt matter what the origins of the holiday were, the kids dont care about that. All they know is that its fun, they want to go with their friends around the neighborhood and trickortreat! By the way, what "rituals" are we talking about here? carving pumpkins? ooooh, that promotes sticking knives in peoples faces!??! right.
Get over it, halloween is just fun for the kids, nothing more. dont look into it too deeply, just enjoy it!!

Amanda October 21st, 2010 0:34 am ET
I love Halloween, always have and always will it is my wedding anniversary and my husband and celebrate it to have fun and stay kids at heart. We have a 4yr old and a 2 yr old and I make their costumes and they love them. I don't believe in The Devil but I believe in devils...as personal sins we all have to face and over come. I don't like Christmas and I only celebrate it with my children because they should learn about ALL holidays even the ones that are not as well liked as others. I love Thanksgiving and find it is over looked with the flash and glamor of Christmas. Thanksgiving is a family holiday more so then Christmas and the money money money gifts gifts gifts. I rather make a huge meal and feed my family and my friends then go shopping for gifts that wont make the person happy for more then a day or two if that lucky, Halloween is a fun Holiday with a lot of people saying it is EVIL...and BAD...well excuse me...it can only get that way because YOU personally allow to get that way. Don't deny something when you that people fight it, share it, teach it, explain it and find something to go with and try. Don't bash it unless YOU can explain in reasons why it is bad.

Johnna October 23rd, 2010 2:26 pm ET
I understand that in this fine country of ours that everyone is entitled to an opinion but please chill out people. Its just a fun holiday that needs to not have any focus on religion. So as I am about to ride my broom I bid you all a Happy Halloween and many more.

Sandie October 24th, 2010 8:07 pm ET
I used to wrestle with this one, but then I have to consider that my mom took us kids trick or treating for years and we never had a bad experience. And yes, we knocked on mostly strangers' doors and neighbors' doors.

Halloween is actually Hallow's Eve, and probably does come down to us from the Celtic tradition. It would make sense since Nov. 1 is All Saint's Day, which most church denominations celebrate as a way of remembering those who had passed away during the the past year.

If the 'Lord of Death' takes the souls of those who had passed during the previous 12 months on Hallow's Eve, that would make perfect sense.

On a more paranormal or whimsical note, however you see it, this could also explain why some people believe in ghosts. Maybe the deceased's spirit wanders until All Hallow's Eve, when all the souls are gathered to take to the afterlife.

And then the next day, those people are remembered formally.

Perhaps dressing up as a fantasy person or even a scary monster is just a way of continuing our ancestors' festivals where they dressed up to mingle when the 'spirits' were about and being gathered. Maybe some of the spirits didn't want to leave earth....

Who knows? I have, however, come to the conclusion that Halloween is just one night a year. And if you teach your children spiritual and moral values consistently, then one night of dressing up and asking for a treat or they get a trick - in my day it was either toilet papering the trees/bushes or soaping the windows. Both tricks were rather harmless.

Sadly, Halloween has been so commercialized, as has every other American holiday, that the real reasons behind their celebrations are scarcely remembered, if at all.

And then there are the religious fundamentalists that see evil in everything. They're the scariest of all.

Be Blessed October 25th, 2010 4:44 pm ET
i personally don't believe in letting my kids run around dressed up begging for candy, for both religious and personal reasons. BUT my kids don't ask to be beggers, either. That's because we've implemented a "fall bonfire" every year. On Halloween we bundle up in sweaters and hats, have 40 or so guests of all ages, and enjoy a good time. We have a cider press where people can make their own, a huge bonfire, and lot of food to roast in the fire :) When children and parents go trick-or-treating near our home, they're invited to come and enjoy some wholesome company :) and most do! Later on in the evening when the fire starts to die down, we play old black and white movies with a projector on the side of our home (we provide blankets, couches, and chairs to relax on). Either way you all do it, be safe :)

heather October 25th, 2010 5:04 pm ET
i really like this.. it is so hard to choose not to let my kids do the whole trick or treat thing.. most ppl look at u like your crazy and make it out to be a religious thing but for us its not.. me and my hubby both agree that it totally goes against everything we have tried to teach our kids! we try so hard to teach them to not talk to strangers and never take candy from strangers that it could be very dangerous but then turn around and tell them its ok on this one night to go to a total strangers house and take candy from them then say oh wait dont eat it yet we got to check it first..lol.. seems crazy to me!! in the same token its hard to make them sit at home while they know everyone else is out having a good time getting candy so we try to make it special for them.. we make them up goody bags from us (my whole family makes them bags also) and we make a bunch of finger foods and watch movies, play games and have a big family night.. we also let them choose if they want to dress up or not.. this way we dont have to worry about the freaks that may be out there, we dont have to check the candy cause we know what they are getting is safe and they dont feel left out.. most of all we have great family time and have made a wonderful tradition with our kids that i think they will remember forever! i just thought id share what we do so maybe it would give some ideas to other parents that choose to stay at home and not participate in trick or treat either and maybe shed some light on the issue of it not being a religious thing just because you choose not to participate.. :)

Bailee October 25th, 2010 5:15 pm ET
I'm pretty sure those of you who commented on here saying you are against halloween, didn't even read the damn article. Not ONE time did it ever say it was Satan's holiday. Ignorant people make it out to be that way when really it is about freeing the dead into the afterlife, not killing people and doing bad things idiots. Tami is right on, and so is Anonymous. If you Jesusfreaky people don't like the holiday, oh well! We don't want your two cents so just take that shit somewhere else. I for one will be celebrating and yall can just sit at home and be ignorant. Oh and one more thing, I'm not celebrating on Saturday, I am celebrating on Sunday. I don't give a crap what yall think Sunday is but for me, its just another day in the week.

Tracy October 26th, 2010 1:44 pm ET
I hav e to say I Love Halloween... It only comes once a year. Just like christmas,. Halloween is a time when we can pretend to be someone we arent.. How can we take halloween away from our kids, our parents didnt take it from us.To me Christmas is a Holiday that is over commercilised. people forget the reason christmas is celebrated.... HALALOween is to fun..!! I love it!!!!!

CJ October 30th, 2010 6:17 pm ET
Wow! I linked to this site from Deal Seeking Mom, thinking I would get some great ideas for freebies/deals. I couldn't be more disappointed. The above comments are rude and degrading of people who have a right to voice their opinion. I'm willing to give up any deals this blog offers. It just isn't worth it!

Sheri October 13th, 2011 2:27 am ET
I am a Christian and a Jesus follower but I absolutely DO celebrate Halloween! I have wonderful, fun memories of this night when I was a kid and now have the same with mine. I choose to make this night fun for my kids (and me!) and nothing more - not religious or otherwise. That said, I totally respect other peoples opinions and feelings about it all but I think it's terrible that other fellow Christians are so judgemental about those of us that choose to celebrate Halloween? Just because a person celebrates this holiday doesn't make them a Devil worshiper... It's all what you make it and I choose to make it lighthearted and fun :D Have a Happy Halloween everyone!

Sarah October 13th, 2011 4:57 pm ET
I DO NOT celebrate this holiday

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