What Are Your Kids Being for Halloween?

Death and sex for kids—Halloween is scarier than ever. Given the trends, there is little wonder why many Catholics hold Halloween as more trick than treat nowadays.

One of the wildest perversions of the Christian calendar is that the holy day before All Saints Day, All Hallows’ Eve, is now an unholy day of fear and lust. Halloween is not about fear. It is about fearlessness and freedom: freedom from the fearful chains of death in the victory of Christ. Halloween is not about lust. It is about love: love for one another as fellow travelers to the grave and in the One who made the grave lead to eternal life.

The demons, however, know what they are doing. Fearlessness and love have become fear and lust leaving Halloween as a sickening and shocking affair of innocents pantomiming as succubi and serial killers: an adult carnival of death and sex for kids that is practically impossible to shut out, and therefore in absolute need of active restoration.

The Satanic Strategy
Though Halloween is a day to celebrate freedom from the forces of evil, those same forces have strategically claimed it as their own. Halloween is a potentially edifying and joyous holiday, and that is precisely why it has been targeted. Traditional ghosts and goblins are too suggestive of a realm that defies the material ideals of a self-obsessed world that has abandoned Christ. With this loss, society is reverting back to the vulnerable darkness of pre-Christian eras, giving the devil renewed sway.

Practically gone are innocent depictions of supernatural beings that inspire laughter and smiles. Instead, the images of Halloween are fraught with a disquieting ugliness, genuine horror, and pornography. As the culture moves further and further from Christ, the One Source of life, so it becomes more out of tune and permeated with the powers that Christ overcame—with death. Halloween is one of the storm centers, offering now an exaltation of evil rather than a derision of it.

The secular (or even satanic) Halloween agenda is bent on the disfigurement of folklore traditions, turning the mysterious into the mutilated. This deformity and destruction focuses on purely physical nature—both the scary and the seductive—leaving out any hint of the spiritual and devaluing those physical things that participate closely in the sacred. This is a reason for the concentration on slasher violence, sadism, and sex: the fascinations of fallen nature. Conventional ghouls and their implications are rapidly becoming extinct, which might comfort parents who are dubious of ghostly inclusion in their Halloween observances. Better ghosts and goblins than zombies and go-go girls.

Blood and Sluts
Halloween is all about fun and games, but that does not mean it is safe. Wearing a costume is very meaningful and even powerful for children, allowing them to assume a role, an alter ego. Dressing up is an affective experience not to be taken too lightly because dress-up can make an impression on the young who are the most impressionable. One of the problems with Halloween is that it is an adult event pawned off for children, delving into themes that are mature and beyond the ken and contexts of childhood.

Miniskirts. Bare midriffs.Corselets. Six-year-old chambermaids. The costume trend for little girls at Halloween is almost wholly centered on slinkiness and sexuality. Practically gone is the innocence of princesses and pumpkins. Now there are Goths, Monster High, and a prostitute version of every character imaginable from witches to nuns. All is risqué, salacious, and suggestive. The cultural sexualization of our little girls is no secret, but at Halloween it takes on an openness that is bizarre. For many, Halloween is a time to self-express without limits, and perhaps the sexy styles that are pushed and paraded are the collective unconscious end of the sexual agenda of the times. It is naïve to think that it is all innocent fun. The overt sensuality of girls’ costumes devalues sex and degrades femininity, encouraging women to be true objects of horror: pieces of meat on display in a butcher shop.

Then there are the boys’ costumes. Leatherface. Jason. Freddy. Michael Myers. Six-year-old ax murderers. Little boys’ interests are concentrated on gore, violence, torture, and psychosis: a theme bolstered by many video games and movies. Like the devaluation of sexuality with the girls’ costumes, boys’ costumes trivialize morality and human dignity—the very cultural attitude that excuses atrocities from porn to abortion. Halloween is now another player in a secular scheme to shift from the suggestions of life after death, religion, or the soul. Instead, crude, vulgar, and corporal nature is stressed, distracting people with pounding pulses rather at the expense of experiencing profound truth in a playful, yet powerful, medium. Images of violence always require emotional numbing, actually creating symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress. A regular dose of graphic violence renders people less sensitive, eventually forming a people who are emotionally numb and men who are truly monsters.

The Sacred Solution
Like any Christian festival or custom, the value of Halloween lies in its pedagogical influence. The supernatural themes of Halloween should renew the idea of eternal life, that death is stripped of his sting. Fear should not be celebrated. It should be mocked, made playful and foolish. Halloween is an invitation to recognize the Good King’s jest in the smile of the skeleton, recognizing life after death as opposed to simply the living dead.

Since the festivities of Halloween are so established, Christians bear a duty to defend their children and their Faith from the corruption rampant in current vogues, and replace base ugliness with the mysterious flavor and flair of the spiritual. The emphasis should lie not on fear, but on mystery, magic, mirth, and the miraculous. Believers do not fear death; and so should fight those powers that declare death ultimately fearful. It is not wrong or necessarily harmful to experience and enjoy the catharsis of fear or the thrills of the unknown, but, like all emotions, excess leads to desensitization.

Of course, there is the prevalent problem of Catholic kids encountering those miniature, blood-spattered murderers and fairy-tale folk in fishnet stockings. Beware. Children have no framework to process such jarring attacks on innocence, and should be shielded. To counteract such displays and their subconscious ideology, families should approach Halloween from a merry, mystical point of view, with laughter and liturgical levity; and thus make their observations a wholesome holiday rather than an unwholesome revel in the macabre.

Editor’s note: The above image is a scene from the 1966 animated television movie “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

Sean Fitzpatrick

By

Sean Fitzpatrick is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the Headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy. He lives in Scranton, PA with his wife and family of four.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    I know a place in the Western Isles of Scotland, where corn dollies are still, occasionally, hung from trees, usually near a spring or pool. I suspect, too, that the saucers of milk they put out at night are not always for the cat.

    On a winter’s evening, one can still hear old tales told in village pubs of the fairies or “Little People”; tales of bewitchings, changelings and murrain in the flocks. And I have heard such tales interrupted, by those who consider any mention of “na Sithein” as unchancy.

    On Hallowe’en, Hallow fires are still lit and“samhnag” or lighted lanterns, often hollowed-out neeps (turnips) put in windows and over the doors of byres and granaries. No one ventures out.

    • mitch64

      Now THAT sounds like fun…(though it would be more fun if you could venture out to the local pub for one or two to chase the spirits away.)

  • My son wants to be Dr Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory in a different costume, the comic book character Flash.

    While I am not looking forward to an evening of Zoom Zoom running, this is at least relatively normal and gore free.

    • Olga Zurova

      You let your son (I don’t know his age) watch that filthy show? Geez.

      • I watch it with him and use it as an opportunity to discuss the disconnect between American sexuality and Catholic sexuality. We watch 19 kids and Counting for the same reason.

    • Koufax

      Yes, Theodore, even though that is gore free, that show is very bad! I used to watch it however I stopped watching after the number of sexual references and inapp. jokes. Nowadays, it seems like nothing on TV is safe (besides EWTN).

      • I watch it with him, and take the opportunity of the sexual references to discuss the difference between American culture and Catholic culture. I have never held to the idea that preservation of innocence requires ignorance. And with him being special needs and in public school, he’s at risk sexually to begin with, so better that I talk to him about the issues *before* he runs into them on the playground (in the fourth grade, this paid off- a boy with gender confusion issues started hitting on him, but he knew from me that “boys do not marry boys”).

        It says something about his emotional intelligence and my lectures that his favorite character on the show- is the celibate.

        • DE-173

          Sheldon Cooper isn’t celibate, he’s neurotic. He finds sex dirty and messy, something to be avoided, because it doesn’t meet with his idea of robotic hygiene. He approves of any sexual practice, so long as it doesn’t interfere with his roomate agreement or bowel movements. The character countenanced and encouraged his roomate’s one night dalliance with an much older widow based on the utiliatrian grounds that it would secure a large donation.

          No child should be watching that show, with or without parents.

          I increasingly grow more disgusted with the premise of a foul-mouthed comic playing an apostate Catholic (Bernadette, note the surname “Rostenkowski”, anti-Polish prejudice is an acceptable form of bigotry in Hollyweird). The character slept with her boyfriend after three dates, moved in prior to marriage, and “married” in a cermony that was devoid of any cleric and hates children.

          • Fred

            In all honesty I haven’t actually terminated my
            cable contract yet, but I have effectively by not watching in months anything
            but 1-2 channels, and rarely at that. I need to take the next step to
            terminate and save myself the money. I’ll miss them a little, but I more
            enjoy my free time doing other things – like learning about farming. I cannot
            believe the filth that passes for programming these days. Might want to
            do the same. Then when people ask you can say, Sheldon who?

            • Rose

              I have not had a television for over 30 years. I cannot imagine anyone with children having a TV in the home. What for? Do you subscribe to Playboy magazine? 11 minutes of TV equates to one issue. Try life without TV and see how many other wonderful things there are to do. Like read. For the rare important show, like, oh, a papal conclave, you can go to a neighbor’s, which makes it a party.

              • Fred

                No doubt you are better off for it. I confess, I haven’t yet but my wife and I have been saying it’s time for awhile now. I only watch maybe 2-3 channels and I wonder why I pay for the rest, knowing that it supports the filth that is on the other channels. It’s hard to do without the internet so we’re figuring out the best way forward. I agree with you though, the less TV I watch the better I feel – and that includes even programs I enjoy. It’s a colossal time waster that keeps you from friends, making friends, and church.

    • Jude

      Just sitting here, in shock, that you are letting a child watch that show. Tell you what, if you would watch that show with your grandmother, your priest, and the Blessed Virgin sitting on the couch next to you, then by all means go ahead. In the meantime, what you are doing is exposing your child to filth.

      • Yes I would, if my Grandmother was still with us. As an Aspie myself, I share many traits with Sheldon and Leonard- including, thanks to my elders trying to protect me from “filth”, falling deeply into that filth myself when I left for college. I am hoping to help my child to avoid the fate of falling into sexual sin himself, by making sure he knows that there is a natural downside to it and church teaching is correct. It’s a different approach than has traditionally been taken, but let’s face facts- the traditional “protect the children from filth” has resulted in contraception, abortion, divorce, and homosexuality- all the evils we were trying to protect children from.

        Innocence should not require ignorance, but rather wisdom.

        • Jude

          I would posit that these things gained ground when we stopped protecting children from filth and started expecting them to protect themselves.

          • He’s still going to be confronted with it eventually. If you protect a kid by ignorance, then when faced with a homosexual in the locker room or a slut at school, he’s going to react with his hormones not his faith.

  • FrankW

    The Catholic School our daughter attends uses Halloween in conjunction with All Saints Day to talk up the saints. For costumes, she has willingly dressed up as various saints.

    • ann ketzlick

      Now that’s a cool idea.

    • STF

      Saints and angels cannot teach the theological truth of the dragon and the gargoyle. Halloween, if true to this purpose, debases the macabre by playful ritual. The eradication of ghosts and goblins from Halloween does not perforce safeguard the spiritual and the holy. Though often dismissed as uncouth, fiends and phantoms are emblems of spiritual warfare—and of the victory already won in Christ. The pantomime of saints, on the other hand, diminishes this dramatic representation of the mystery of redemption from death to new life. Admittedly, no one can argue against honoring the saints, whose feast comes the next day. Nevertheless, such practices underline an unfortunate lack of understanding as to what Halloween masquerades can liturgically signify: the victory over death and the subservience of evil. Only a partial account of salvation exists without the garish jesters of Halloween.

      • EJD

        Sean,

        Would you mind sharing any more of your thoughts on how the practice of eradicating ghosts and goblins does little to safeguard the spiritual and holy but instead reflects a lack of traditional understanding of Halloween? It seems to be increasingly common that Catholics opt against any celebration of Halloween—and sometimes for good reasons, as you outlined above. But instead of a restoration and revival of the traditional understanding of Halloween, they let Halloween pass, dress their children as saints on All Saints Day, and pass out holy cards and candy, as some people have commented above and below. I would be particularly interested to learn more about what you mean when you write that “Saints and angels cannot teach the theological truth of the dragon and the gargoyle.”

        • STF

          EJD,

          Thank you for your comment. Please peruse this piece I wrote on the subject: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/all-hallows-eve-or-halloween. My post was drawn from it, and it presents my thoughts on the matter more fully.

          The basic principle is that it is vital in the cultural and liturgical pageantry and pedagogy of our Faith to acknowledge the existence of evil and death as dethroned powers.

          • Tamsin

            We “enthrone” them to dethrone them.

      • Tamsin

        I might put what you are saying in these words, “Saints and angels cannot teach the theological truth without the dragon and the gargoyle” also present and accounted for, to be slayed.

        The whole theological truth is that Saint George slays the dragon. Kids will learn more about this truth if we have both a Saint George all dressed up, and a dragon all dressed up.

        It is indeed very sad that costumes today emphasize all manner of Death-dealing, in its male and female varieties, with no plan in place to slay them.

      • MgW

        Now. I am confused. You were just complaining in your article about the disgusting costumes such as prostitutes, and mass murderers yet you comment that without the “garish jesters of Halloween”, only a “partial account” of salvation exists. To me, the mass murderers and sexy sluts ARE today’ s “Garish Jesters”. These characters ARE real life demonic embodiment we experience daily in the world around us. What is the difference if children or adolescents dress up as a garish jester,-grim reaper-jack o lanterns and witches…or Charlie Manson and Lady Gaga… isn’t it all the same? In fact it is more realistic to dress as a serial killers and celebrity sluts we encounter daily in social media. In other words children today are directly exposed to the demonic rather than 50 years ago when children only read about and imagined real evil in fairy tales. We do not need Halloween anymore because we are LIVING Halloween in our culture daily.

  • Fred

    I have to admit I read a lot about the debauchery you mention, but I haven’t personally experienced it. The young kids that we do see that night are innocent and excited – no doubt a by-product of living in a conservative enclave. I have walked into the shops more oriented towards young adults and seen the slutty costumes, but have never seen one actually worn. I often wondered who in their right mind would. No doubt they fly off the shelves and in my sheltered world never cross paths again. I always thought the trick-or-treat celebration was a bit odd and totally devoid of any spiritual context growing up. I can appreciate All-Souls day now more. When I lived in Europe it was interesting to note that this unique aspect of the American experience was not present.

    • Martha Renner

      Are you in a farming town, Fred? Just guessing from your JD tractor there. I am, and your comment resonated with me perfectly.

      • Fred

        Sort of, on the edge of big town in OH. New to it and can’t call myself a farmer (yet), maybe a want-to-be, but love the lifestyle. And yes, my “second car” is a JD tractor I drive on the weekends mostly, but without the St George flag.

        • Tamsin

          I have to stop myself from mindlessly upvoting every comment preceded by the green tractor. 😉 Who can be against the green tractor? The gates of hell shall not prevail! Next thing you know, I’ll be pulling weeds in Circle 8.

          • Fred

            I understand. When I’m on it I don’t have a care in the world but the task at hand and I’m all smiles, not thinking about much else. Wish I could be doing that more but unfortunately my real job gets in the way, but it pays the bills.

  • Dick Prudlo

    Although well up in age and apt to over play many issues, I have noticed this trend for some years and certainly agree with Mr. Fitzpatrick. Many years I have passed out the candy at my Son’s place and this year I suggested that it end. I have had a fill of all that Sean noted and while my grands go out as pirates or saints what I have seen are certainly not those. It is, indeed, a holy day co-opted by the banalities of the age.

  • ann ketzlick

    Good article. Adding to the perverting of this once fun holiday is the immoral parades put on in Key West, Greenwhich Village, NY, San Francisco, etc. by homosexuals. Near naked costumes and demonic masks, it certainly fits in with what the author is saying.

  • Gee

    When I was a child, back in the “stone age” of the late ’50’s, the highlight of our Halloween Trick or Treat-ing was a trip to both the Convent and the Rectory. We all knew that the Sisters and Monsignor, Fathers, etc., knew who we were underneath those costumes. We all did our best to be creative, and there certainly were plenty of “ghosts” and “skeletons” but also a fair number of “Nuns” in our costumes. One year I was an “Army Nurse” and my dad dressed up as the “soldier” to accompany us around. What fun! It’s a shame that this great childhood time has become so perverted and secularized… my children are both grown but there was nothing risqué by way of adornment going out of our home for Halloween. Most of this happens because the parents are also “secularized” and oblivious…

  • GaudeteMan

    We have a Church where the pastor has organized an All Saints party every year. The kids dress up as saints and even the parents join in. Lots of food, games, contests, silent auction, etc. If a priest stands up against the culture of death and shows the Church’s holy and exciting alternative the flock will follow. My children know that the secular holiday is the devil’s and have no interest in dressing up as pagans.

  • Marie

    Good article. Probably the cleverest Halloween costume I’ve seen was a Noah’s Ark costume. The boy’s parents made an Ark out of cardboard, and the boy wore it around his torso, with stuffed animals sticking out. Wholesome, funny, and inexpensive. No need to spend money on a depraved costume.

  • mitch64

    Dressing as saints for Halloween? What a way to ruin the fun…(for what its worth Catholic school kid in the 60s and 70s and we would have beat each other up if any of us dressed as Saints!) Everyone here sounds like the Baptist kids we used to make fun of…its a goofy holiday full of dumb scares..lighten up people!

    • DE-173

      Wishful thinking.

    • R. K. Ich

      Reading G.K. Chesterton’s “The Nightmare” was in my mind the finest defense of the sanctity of spookiness. It can be done right.

  • marigold

    i continue to put up cheerful decorations..one little boy was even afraid of a smiling pumpkin light that had a guaze trailing skirt so i took that away. i refuse to stop offering treats. i have the best time with the kids and even heard one say to his brother, this lady really likes kids, and leaving, said, told ya so. nicest thing i ever heard. i am saying dont give up, be the brightest house on the block, have everything nice, nothing scary, compliment the little ones on their costumes and make them feel happy, how does it make sense to give up this evening entirely to the bad displays, costumes and attitudes. i have seen teen girls in the worst most vulgar costumes imagineable. they appear to try and look seductive..bursting out pf thier costumes and meared with ugly makeup. i have decided to stil lsmile and gove them treats. there is no other thing to od than to treat them kindly. it might help, it cant hurt. also a good idea is to offer slaty snacks and bottless of water, kids really go for that. basically i think to stop opening your dopr is to fold and admit defeat. just my thought!

  • Cindy

    Halloween celebrating, as we know it, is entirely an American festivity. It has very little, if anything, to do with Catholicism. Do the French have Halloween? It’s only been in the last decade that Italians began having festivals on All Hallow’s. While once upon a time, the festivities seemed harmless, it is not so today. Our family no longer participates. Instead we have a festival at home–the children dress in saint costumes, we eat, we bring out the old photos of our deceased loved ones, and we try to celebrate as Catholics. Quite frankly, we are living in pagan times again except the Catholic Church no longer has the desire or power to change pagan society into a Christian one. Best to let the pagans wallow in their own macabre fascinations that participate in it, thinking you might be able to make a difference.

    • Fernanda

      Perfect!!!! I’m Brazilian ….the biggest catholic country in the world…a place where Good Friday and Corpus Christi and All souls’ day are civil Holiday. We do NOT have Halloween ..this is American – non catholic festivity so please stop non-sense.
      I’m very impressed to hear that from a TAC student.

  • Silvia Aldredge

    We mostly skip Halloween and focus on All Saints. The kids pick a saint, do a little research on their pick and dress up as them for a party with other Catholic families. A group of us with little ones came up with this years ago to bypass the whole thing, it works pretty well though we shall see what happens as they become teenagers…

  • Jude

    We have given up on trick or treating in our neighborhood for precisely these reasons. One year we all stayed in, bought the candy that we wanted to eat, and had a family movie night. Last year our FSSP parish had all the children go from door to door in the education building getting treats and prayer cards. Each child was dressed as a saint. The children learned to sing, “A soul cake, a soul cake, a prayer for a soul cake.” Then there was a marshmallow roast. Hoping they do it again this year.

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    Halloween! Bah, humbug! NO I don’t have any candy child, here is a Jack Chick pamphlet.

  • dougpruner

    OR… one could just abstain.
    It’s strictly a “holiday” from and for the churches. (And always has been; viz. the comments about Samhain and the rest.) Keep your junk food money in your pocket and stay home for a family Bible study built around 2 Cor 6:15, with an excursion to Deut ch. 13 for God’s view of the matter.
    Or not.

  • Rob B.

    Last year, the older kids dressed up like Sully, Mike, and Boo from Monsters Inc. The baby was a pumpkin. This year, I think the plan is The Wizard of Oz, but i need to check with my lady wife… 🙂

  • Maria

    This is a good article theoretically, but it is lacking in concrete suggestions for changing the culture. What does an “emphasis … not on fear, but on mystery, magic, mirth, and the miraculous” look like?

    • Rob B.

      Two words: the Mass. 🙂

    • STF

      Practically speaking, the celebration and restoration of Halloween has to begin in home, among family members. Make an altar with pictures on it of deceased family members. Decorate it with colorful skulls made out of paper and with marigolds. Read stories that are chilling but that have a theme of honoring the dead or of resurrection: Baba Yaga, Orpheus in the Underworld, the Irish myths of Nera and Jack o’ the Lantern, to name a few. Make costumes with your children of ghouls and ghosts explaining to them that their ugliness or fearsomeness should be clownish for the reasons we are here considering. Research a couple old traditions of celebrating Halloween (especially the Day of the Dead practices from Mexico) and incorporate them into your family time. Use dinnertime to talk about these themes and to tell some ghost stories. The family table can be the best arena for education. Help your kids dress up as funny skeletons and teach them this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow6fG82oZdM and sing on the trick-or-treating trail. Even trick-or-treating can convey a positive message. Once it was seen as a tribute to threatening power of darkness, to assuage their wrath and ward off wicked reprisal. Now, when the devil at the door cries “Trick-or-treat,” there is no fear of the pronounced threat. There is only amusement and delight at the ludicrous appearance of the ghastly figure. A treat is given, not as a tribute, but as a token of authority as from a master to a servant. An additional symbol worth mentioning in trick-or-treating is the involvement of sweets. Death and the images of darkness are associated with candy and joy instead of terror and danger. Death is rendered sweet by the Resurrection. Give your kids that perspective in your Halloween observances.

      • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

        Whoa! If I was your kid and you laid all that on me I would run shrieking. Total control. No spontaneity. Everything is a ‘lesson’. I’ve seen it before but it was my ‘New Age’ cousin and his wife who and they raised a nut case with a spectacular twitch and zero social skills. At best children raised that way become artful liars and get expert at giving you what you expect from them. Brrrrrr!

      • Fernanda

        The day of the dead is for All souls day NOT Halloween. We go to mass and to the cemetery. No one dress up like ghosts etc….

  • thomas

    I think this particular celebration has lost all its importance. This celebration no more serves the purpose of it-proclaiming Jesus as Lord and master. Personally i dont think that any of the scary dressing and costumes will teach our children about the eternal truth. The reason is that no bad thing has the capacity to teach eternal truths. God may turn a bad thing into a good thing but that is another side of it. But when man devise purposefully evil act we are actully violates our freedom to follow truth with our heart and mind. Therefore the catholics have to stand up together for such kind of evil acts or make it a point that our children understand the reason behaind it -but very difficult to understand because of the same truth stated above- no evil act has the capacity to teach eternal truths.

  • publiusnj

    The author is right about Halloween’s now having an unhealthy emphasis on sexuality. When I was a kid back in the 50s, Halloween was about going out throughout the neighborhood and trick or treating in costumes. Whatever one was able to scrounge up. Some more enlightened apartment dwellers started emphasizing UNICEF collections, but most knew Halloween was about candy for kids. Once I started high school, I lost all connection with Halloween until my kids were going out. By then, I was living out in the suburbs, and Holloween was still fairly benign….until the insanity started with razors in apples, etc. We have a very sick culture.

    I didn’t really see the sexual side until lately. Once as an adult, I was invited to a costume party but found it a very uncomfortable experience. What is it about fish net stockings and Halloween? I have turned down invitations to Halloween parties since. People seem to want to be someone other than themselves. I know that I am who I am and am going to remain who I am for the rest of my life.

  • TheOtherAndrewB

    I have always felt that Hallowe’en is a good–even a necessary–prelude to Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas. I think of it as a spiritual clearinghouse, where all the dark, scary parts of life are acknowledged, confronted and then packed away. With the dark properly dealt with, we can move onward towards the light.
    This is, of course, more difficult as the holiday becomes increasingly sleazy and violent. Girls in this area dress with shocking immodesty 365 days a year, so I cannot imagine why Hallowe’en needs to be more of the same. I should think that girls might welcome the chance to wear burkas or penguin costumes just for a change of pace.

  • Virginia

    “Since the festivities of Halloween are so established, Christians bear a duty to defend their children and their Faith from the corruption rampant in current vogues, and replace base ugliness with the mysterious flavor and flair of the spiritual. The emphasis should lie not on fear, but on mystery, magic, mirth, and the miraculous.”

    We celebrate All Hallows Eve. I remind our kids that Hallowe’en is the night we can laugh at the devil! We’ve already won! I’m not sure if I got it right but when our kids were young, Fred Penner sang a song: A Soulin (soul cakes), Trying to take back Hallowe’en and using that as our cue, I asked our kids to pray for the deceased members of the families of the people who gave them candy.

    We’ve made rubbings (on paper) of the gravestones of deceased members of our family & during the month of November, we hang them on the walls in the hallway in our basement and we pray the litany for the souls in purgatory.

  • Scott W.

    I take my kids trick or treating and I see maybe one or two other families out in the neighborhood. The demographic winter is scarier than the costumes.

  • Ginger Lage

    What a fantastic article, well written and understood. I have always struggled with Halloween as I am drawn to the mysterious, but a Christian. I go back and forth with it. This article is very helpful in defining what a good attitude towards Halloween from a Christian perspective should be. Thank you

  • BrianKillian

    Opting out of Halloween entirely by only having saint parties etc. is throwing the baby out with the bath water. There’s a reason why the Church arranged its own celebrations to coincide with certain Pagan ones. The Church recognizes that there were authentic intuitions and religious perceptions in those festivals which it sought to deepen further, not eradicate.

    I remember with great fondness the Halloweens from my youth. But there were still a lot ghosts, tombstones, and creaky door sound effects and not yet the introduction of the ‘sexy Halloween’, although the gore element was also always there to be had by the older crowds.

    I think an additional distinction would be helpful though. What is it that makes some elements of Halloween legit, and other elements wrong, accidental, or perverse? Halloween isn’t about what is scary per se, but I would say that it’s about what is spooky, and what is spooky can be scary.

    What’s the difference? The difference is that what is spooky is spooky because of its connection to the mystery of death and what lies beyond death. That means skeletons, graveyards, ghosts, vampires, etc. are in; but slasher movies, gratuitous gore and violence, and gruesome haunted houses which are not so much haunted but harbouring chain saw wielding serial killers is out.

    So I think the distinction between what is spooky, and what is merely gross or scary, can be a measure of what in Halloween celebrations is legitimate and what isn’t.

  • Margo Killoran

    Sorry… you’re just fucked in the head and using any excuse to feel guilty and beat yourself up. Have at it.

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