Christians-dealing with Halloween?

(115 Posts)
poshme Thu 24-Oct-13 16:51:34

Just wondering what other people do- I'm not very happy anout my DCs doing Halloween activities- school topic/ school disco/ cubs all currently focussing on Halloween.
I've said no to school disco, and told cubs DS won't be there & my DCs are upset they're missing out.
I don't agree with trick or treating so we don't do that.
Just wondering how other people deal with it.

DevonFolk Thu 24-Oct-13 16:55:40

I'm looking for suggestions too. DD's only 3.6 but it's everywhere and I've just been waiting for her to ask something about it. Luckily pre-school didn't do anything and she's too young for trick or treating yet but it's definitely on my mind.

What have you said so far to them about why they're not going to the parties?

Your poor bloody kids.

HangingGardenOfBabbysBum Thu 24-Oct-13 16:59:07

Can I ask in all seriousness what are your objections. My DCs invited a friend to come for spooky treats and he said as a Christian that he wasn't allowed. They are 7 so I would like to be able to explain to my DC why he couldn't come.

Thanks in advance.

AGnu Thu 24-Oct-13 17:00:13

Lots of churches do 'light parties' where the kids dress up as non-scary type things & get to play fun games. Could you organise something like that? A chance for them & their friends to have a laugh without all the witches/zombies etc!

birdofthenorth Thu 24-Oct-13 17:00:48

My town has organised a family Lantern parade. Still let them dress up but it 's all about light rather than spells and devils! Less anti-social than trick or treating. I do think it's a really tough one. I allow witch/ cat/ pumpkin type costumes etc but would draw the line at devils & skulls.

christinarossetti Thu 24-Oct-13 17:01:12

We had this debate around our school disco. Although some people really, really wanted a Halloween themed one, we didn't do it that way precisely because it will leave some people out.

Instead, we did a 'monster ball/dress up if you like' disco last week. Lots of kids did wear Halloween costumes, but it wasn't mentioned in the publicity etc.

I would feed your concerns back to the school and cubs. They should be thinking of more inclusive topics and events.

I'm an atheist, if that's relevant.

Stropzilla Thu 24-Oct-13 17:01:46

My local tabernacle has a festival of light where you wear bright colours and have a bit of a party on Halloween. Ask your local church?

Personally I love a bit of spooky fun but appreciate it's not for everyone!

TheApprentice Thu 24-Oct-13 17:04:22

The thing is its not ALL Christians who don't agree with Halloween. My dcs are at a Catholic school and the school themselves organise Halloween activities/disco etc. They just view it as a bit of harmless fun.

LittleRobots Thu 24-Oct-13 17:04:30

I think its only some parts of Christianity that have a problem.

We're happy for our kids to do 'spooky' things, we'llj! Do some national trust trails and I'd certainly be happy for cubs and school. I'm not keen on trick or treat over here but would be fine with it in the Usa where the whole community comes out and its clear who wants visitors.

Why would there be any 'power' in kids dressing up. Christians believe God is in control and in charge so there is no need to be fearful of kids dressing up and eating fun treats and playing some fun games!!

I'm a 'lite' Christian really, celebrate Christmas and Easter but other than that have no real spiritual calling.
But I really dislike Halloween. I think it's about celebrating negative, frightening and dark stuff. Yes I'm a wimp, but the whole thing leaves me really uneasy.

We won't be celebrating at home - I might do a friendly looking pumpkin I suppose. Nursery and pre school go all out though, and there's no getting round that.

madhairday Thu 24-Oct-13 17:08:38

We're doing a party based around this night of hope

We always do some kind of party with traditional games and we welcome trick or treaters. Have a friend who takes the dc out and just does 'treating' and takes cakes to all the neighbours smile

I am not a fan of halloween as it is but think it could be a really good festival to have fun on and reach out to your community. The more celebration the better...

InsultingBadger Thu 24-Oct-13 17:09:06

I don't understand why you can't teach your children other traditions and stories? It has a very interesting history and traditions. You don't have to shut out anything non Christian, use it as an opportunity to compare and contrast

AGnu Thu 24-Oct-13 17:09:45

Hanging It's seen by some as a celebration of satanic things & therefore many Christians don't participate. Perhaps your DC would understand an explanation based on Christians being followers of God, who they think is 'good' & not liking Satan who is 'evil' & therefore not wanting to go to a party that they see as being related to Satan... Maybe followed by some explanation of what you perceive Halloween to be about so they get to see different points of view, including yours?

Hallowe'en has been celebrated by Catholics for years, as the night before All Saints Day and then All Souls Day on the 2nd November. Nowt to do with devil worshipping etc, it's like our version of Dia de los Muertos in Mexico. Seems spooky but with mixed pagan and Christian beginnings.

TheIggorcist Thu 24-Oct-13 17:15:58

I'm from a very conservative Christian background and we always did something Halloweeney, was never an issue. Never saw it as celebrating satan I have to say. It is the flip side of all saints day, surely.

LittleRobots Thu 24-Oct-13 17:16:43

Er I personally wouldn't do that Agnu. Serious chance of child telling other children they're satanic or welcoming the devil! Not exactly a great yay to build relationships. If you're not happy with it just you don't like Halloween.

Do some people @really@ think kids making pumkin faces (ours always smiles) and dressing up is satanic? What sort of power are they ascribing. Surely as a Christian there is no need to fear or is their God not big enough? I'm not sure I'd trust a God who was scared of kids having fun!

Coupon Thu 24-Oct-13 17:18:20

It's fine to decline to join in festivals that aren't part of your culture and traditions. No-one celebrates everything out there, and it really isn't compulsory to do anything at Halloween. The Christian celebrations at other times of year are fun enough smile

Just ignore anyone who smirks at you for supposely being a killjoy - who's bothered about the opinions of such judgy people anyway?

I thought Halloween was All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day. Aren't they both Christian (or at least Catholic) occasions?

I'm cofe.

It's never occurred to me to be morally outraged by Halloween.

At best it fake. At worst, well, if you truly believe in god then surely it's still fake. Don't see why I can't have fun with it. Don't get the angst. You just banned them from a school disco. That's just stupid.

SamPull Thu 24-Oct-13 17:26:11

At least it's just Halloween.

At the risk of being thought of as a misery, I'm not too happy about Halloween either, and I'm an atheist. As far as I can tell, 'trick or treat' is begging with menaces (plus spending money on fancy dress and standing about in the cold)

Of course being an atheist I don't particularly like the questions I get about:

Jesus and Christmas (well, a baby was born and a lot of people seem to think it was God, as well as a baby, and their so happy about it they buy you Lego)

Easter (well, you remember the Christmas baby? Well, when he grew up he was murdered even though he was God, and so people buy you chocolate eggs)

Eid (right, well God (a different one to Christmas and Easter, but people who believe in a God insist theirs is the only one) anyway, some people think He asked a man called Abraham to kill his son, and then said not to kill him after all, so people have a big party and give each other presents, and although we don't believe that either it's not part of this county's heritage and so no-one buys you Lego. Or chocolate eggs)

So in comparison 'people dress up in gory or frightening costumes because it's fun' is quite easy to explain. I still don't like trick or treat though.

I'm ambivalent about Halloween as it seems to be very commercial and I don't like children demanding sweets at my door. It is very unlikely that anyone will find this new house which is well hidden behind the church hall but if they do, I will have sweets handy and I will offer to bless any child that comes my way!

It tends to be the evangelical/charismatic Christians who have the biggest problem with Halloween. In my ministry I've come across people who have got themselves or mummy is not in the same league.

SamPull Thu 24-Oct-13 17:27:49

very annoyed with my use of the incorrect 'their' - apologies to anyone who found it as upsetting to read as I did.

OnaPromise Thu 24-Oct-13 17:28:21

I was also going to say I thought it was Christian - the eve of all hallows and a time to remember the dead. I'm from a Catholic background though, and was in Mexico once for the celebration which goes on for three days. There the day of the dead is most definitely part of a Christian festival.

Sorry that last sentence should have read 'In my ministry I've come across people who have got themselves into a bad place by mucking around with Ouija boards but dressing up as a ghost or a mummy is not in the same league.'

Ghost in the machine!!!

SamPull - The Jewish/Christian/Islamic God is the same guy.

MrsHowardRoark Thu 24-Oct-13 17:36:22

Ermmmm as Joyful and Ona have said isn't it a Christian thing, albeit appropriated from other cultures?

All Hallows' eve is about remembering the dead before all saints day. It isn't satanic confused

Bunbaker Thu 24-Oct-13 17:37:17

"The thing is its not ALL Christians who don't agree with Halloween. My dcs are at a Catholic school and the school themselves organise Halloween activities/disco etc. They just view it as a bit of harmless fun."

"It's never occurred to me to be morally outraged by Halloween. At best it fake."

I agree with the above comments. We even went trick or treating with the vicar's wife and kids one year. I am a Christian and don't take Halloween seriously. I view it as harmless fun not devil worship. If you demonise it your children will be made to feel left out and when they are older will make a point of going trick or treating just to make a point.

poshme Thu 24-Oct-13 17:39:11

Thanks for all your input (except bunnylebowski- not very constructive!)
I know that All Hallows' eve has Christian basis.
I would love our church to be doing a light party but sadly they're not.
I'm CofE. I just feel that Halloween is celebrating evil in a way- I can't fully explain it, but I'm just uncomfortable with it. I know that God is bigger than all of it, and it doesn't threaten me- I just don't like the idea of my kids dressing up like witches.
We don't celebrate other religions' festivals- I'm more than happy for my children to learn about other religions & festivals but not for them to celebrate them.

HangingGardenOfBabbysBum Thu 24-Oct-13 17:39:40

agnu Ah. How ignorant of me, I hadn't appreciated the Satanic undertones. I thought it was about the dead and witches. Scary but not evil IYSWIM.

Thank you. grin

Shockingundercrackers Thu 24-Oct-13 17:40:24

Another catholic vouching for all hallow's eve here. It was traditionally a festival to celebrate the idea that souls roamed the earth before all
Saint's day wasn't it? Nothing to do with devil worship. It's just a bit of fun.

Mind you, we always had fireworks at Guy Fawkes night too and no harm done there either.

AnyHardFacedCareerBitchFucker Thu 24-Oct-13 17:41:16

We do not have anything to do wtih the commercial observation of Hallowe'en and neither does our church (fairly middle of the road CofE). Our vicar is particularly opposed to Hallowe'en which he views as an occultish celebration far removed from the original celebration for the souls of the departed dead. While neither DH or myself feel strongly one way or another, most of our friends are from church so it would be fairly pointless in us doing anything as we wouldn't have any guests ! If DH is at home for hallowe'en I will probably do something for us but it will be quite tame and more of a Christian "thing" than scary hands and witches. I will be going to FILs grave to lay flowers.

We do, however, celebrate All Soul's Day and at church we have a big bonfire party for the children instead.

I ignore it basically. I told the DC that it was a pointless waste of time very early on and thankfully they were small enough to be a bit scare of ghost and other made up crap and decided that they didn't want anything to do with it.

I really don't see the point of it. It is a lot of kefuffle just to go knocking on doors asking for stuff. People keep using the term 'celebrating' but celebrating what? Remembering the dead on All Hallows Day is one thing but the eve of that day is for what exactly?

Bunbaker Thu 24-Oct-13 17:48:17

Now, I don't see Halloween as celebrating evil. If I did I wouldn't allow DD to take part either. In the pagan calendar 31 October is known as Samhain, a day when the dead returned to the earth. During Celtic celebrations of Samhain, many people wore disguises to ward off evil spirits, so how can you call that celebrating evil?

This website makes for interesting reading

poshme Thu 24-Oct-13 17:51:40

Thanks bunbaker- interesting website.

SamPull Thu 24-Oct-13 17:55:36

HuglessDouglas I didn't think it was a truth universally acknowledged that all three Abrahamic faiths think they worship the same God?

This, from wiki:

Islam teaches that God is the same god worshipped by the members of other Abrahamic religions such as Christianity and Judaism. This is not universally accepted by non-Muslims, as Islam denies the divinity of Jesus Christ as a son of God, Islam views that God does not have any offsprings or descendants, he created all things including prophets such as Jesus Christ. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Abrahamic_religions

poshme We don't celebrate any festivals as religious, but we do a good old fashioned mid-winter celebration that we call Christmas smile Surely your kids ask about other festivals though - they must get mentioned at school?

Coupon Thu 24-Oct-13 17:56:20

So what would an All Souls Day celebration look like?

Fugacity Thu 24-Oct-13 17:58:05

We pretty much ignore Hallowe'en. I do get in sweets should we get any trick or treaters, but we don't exactly welcome them, so don't get many. I do give them a Christian message along with their treat.

I wouldn't object to T or T if it were done the American way! which is wholesome and a community event. Here, the "youths" really don't want a fun-size Milky Way - they want to egg your house.

My kids have never been exposed to Hallowe'en at school.

Custardo Thu 24-Oct-13 18:04:32

Catholics - not sure about the other christian stuff as not sure how they fair on the saint side of things - or if they have them

there is no church diktat to not celebrate halloween - which actually means the eve of all hallows - the eve of all saints day in other words

now, trick or treating would, i suggest be an american bastardisation of soul cakes which were made in the middle ages as alms or put out as an offering for the dead. on all saints day the kids would then go door to door.

so all this christian fundementalist bullshit about it being evil is bollocks. in fact i think i read somewhere that dressing up was to pay homage to the dead and to remember them

of course this has all been highly americanised and commercialised. but if as a catholic you participate in this whilst remembering the dead and to pray for them then its all good. imo

Custardo Thu 24-Oct-13 18:05:52

so in answer to those people who say what shall i tell my kids about their friends not being allowed round - you should say

"their parents are misinformed about the meaning of halloween"

Pinkspottyegg Thu 24-Oct-13 18:06:16

In Scotland we do guising as I hate this adopted Anericanism of trick or treating. Kids have to do a turn (song, joke whatever) before they get anything. It's an ancient pagan harvest type festival that's been commercialised too much but I still love it. Love seeing the kids dressed up and the excitement of it all. Better than Xmas

specialsubject Thu 24-Oct-13 18:08:26

with you on trick or treating (begging), but otherwise - are you worried they will become pagans?

making kids feel different due to YOUR religion does not end well. Take it from one who knows.

Spidermama Thu 24-Oct-13 18:08:38

I don't see it as celebrating dark stuff so much as exploring it. We all have fears and Halloween is about exploring them and it comes at a time of year when the nights are drawing in and there's a certain vibe just before we all become more insular over winter.

I live trick or treating as lots of our neighbours make a big effort and the kids know only to go to the houses with pumpkins so no one gets bothered.

The only thing I don't like is the quantities of sweets involves.

I used to be all arsey and 'its-an--American-import' about Halloween but now I love it because the kids own it. They've made it what it is and forced grumpy grown ups to join in.
I also look to the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico at this time if year. It's about feeling closer to those who've passed. It's gory and the dressing up is spectacular. It's largely a Catholic country but allows the Aztec influence to come through. I think it's very healthy.,

Shallishanti Thu 24-Oct-13 18:17:12

wow, have you read the whole article on that link?
'hell house evangelism' wtf?
I think Spidermama has it right- done properly Hallowoween can be creative, neighbourly fun, I quite regret that the dcs are now too old!

OP
I know of a Christian family who celebrate "little Christmas" instead of Halloween It's becomea family custom and a bit of a joke for them! On 31st October they put up some Christmas decs, play Christmas carols and give a token Christmas present! If any Trick or Treaters arrive they offer them sweets and wish them "Happy Christmas" which confuses the poor Trick n Treaters somewhat but the family really enjoy the joke! Could you have a "mini-Christmas evening" instead? Bake some Christmas biscuits, give your dc a small present each and song "Away in a Manger" to any Trick n Treaters?

sampull I'm not sure how widespread the knowledge the shared Abrahamic god is, but just because people aren't taught about the shared God of the Abrahamic religions doesn't make it not the case. By that same token you could argue that Christians might not want to accept that Jews and Christians share the same God, as Jews don't acknowledge the divinity of Jesus either.

TheIggorcist Thu 24-Oct-13 20:09:05

I don't get the joke of pretending it's Christmas when it's not confused. But, if it works for them!

mawbroon Thu 24-Oct-13 20:43:08

When I went to Sunday school (Church of Scotland) in the late 70s and 80s, we were given a big turnip each the Sunday before Hallowe'en to carve into a lantern to bring to the Sunday School Hallowe'en party the following week.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 24-Oct-13 21:09:16

My granny was very Catholic and took All Hallows Eve quite seriously. It was about souls, not evil.

bsc Thu 24-Oct-13 21:22:23

I find it interesting that a country with one of the largest proportions of believers in their population (USA) celebrate Hallowe'en.

I was raised not to celebrate it, as it was seen as glorifying the occult. I am atheist now, but we do not celebrate, or indeed even mention Hallowe'en in our family. DH also finds it uncomfortable, though he was not raised christian.

My children know there are things we do as a family that others don't and things we don't do as a family that others do (IYSWIM). They've never questioned me about Hallowe'en, though they know about it from nursery and school (though their school also does not promote it, as many children are from families of faith, most not christian).

I am pleased to say we have never had any trouble on Hallowe'en smile

Spidermama Thu 24-Oct-13 21:46:22

Ds's (Catholic) school is having a dress up spooky Halloween night. It's a really big deal round our neighbourhood with some houses known for putting on a great show and with some incredible carved pumpkins.

There's one family which is a bit nutty fundamentalist Christians who decline all party invitations and put pictures if Jesus in the window. I feel so sorry for their kids.

I think Custy's spot in when she says its about remembering those whive passed too. In Mexico they set the table with a extra space and the clothes of the dead person. I always think about list lived ones.

Coupon - All Souls/Hallows services are about rememberance, lighting a candle for those you have lost. I know some churches (C of E or Methodist are the ones I know) do a service for those families who have lost somebody during the year and for whom the church has done a funeral.

Other churches do a more general rememberance thing where you can go to remember anybody.

Our local church is doing a light service instead of Hallow'en which is just a bit of fun to give children a good time without having to get drawn into commercial stuff which is what Hallowe'en seems to be for a lot of people.

InsultingBadger Thu 24-Oct-13 23:35:17

SamPull - look up pagan roots of Christian festivals, may explain some of the symbolism

SamPull Thu 24-Oct-13 23:41:39

I get all the symbolism, InsultingBadger - the examples of were for comic effect.

My point was that for the atheist family there are many occasions where people and communities celebrate things that we don't celebrate in the same way, if at all - and some of them involve beliefs that are quite odd when you look at them from the viewpoint of a non-believer. Easter, for example. Or Halloween.

If the OP just has Halloween to worry about, I think they're doing ok!

newlark Fri 25-Oct-13 17:07:27

There is a great little video about the meaning of Halloween here

MostlyLovingLurchers Fri 25-Oct-13 18:03:09

Someone said Halloween was about 'glorifying the occult'. If you take away the commercial aspects of Halloween and the catholic festival superimposed on it, what you have is Samhain. This is the end of the year in the pagan calendar so is a celebration of the new life and new year to come, and a remembrance for those who have passed. It is also a time when we think on our own mortality, and work on how we can make the most of our time here, and stop less beneficial behaviours (new years resolutions if you like).

Is there anything there to offend? I will point out, though i'm sure I do not have to, that pagans do not believe in the devil since they do not believe in the Christian god, so certainly do not worship him or seek him out. No-one is under any obligation to celebrate any festival, but there really is no need to 'demonise' Halloween. Take a moment to see the natural world going to sleep for the winter, preparing for the spring, and you will be somewhere close to understanding its real meaning.

SunshineMMum Fri 25-Oct-13 18:27:17

I am a Christian though not a church goer. We celebrate Halloween, though I last Church strongly disapproved. I believe that there was a Christian tradition of Christians' dressing up to mock the devil before all souls day. We don't dress up as witches and Ds often carved a Christian based pumpkin. I think this is friendlier than the anti Halloween leaflet approach. I do think that there is a lot of hysteria around this issue.

DS did attend a couple of light parties whilst we church members, which were excellent, it would be easy, with fairy lights and sparklers. A learned friend told me that there is very little evidence that druids went door to door demanding food and taking human sacrifice, which I understand is the basis of the concern. He could be wrong of course.

SunshineMMum Fri 25-Oct-13 18:29:38

... sorry if the pumpkin idea is a bit fundamentalist spider grin

spicynaknik Fri 25-Oct-13 19:10:18

I don't understand why as a Christian you would reject one festival interweaving of pagan and Christian tradition (Halloween) but celebrate two others with the exact same interweaving (Christmas and Easter).

Halloween isn't about celebrating evil, it's about conquering fear and superstition (fear of the "souls" roaming) by lighting seasonal lanterns and having fun and laughing and dressing up.

sashh Fri 25-Oct-13 19:42:44

Let me get this right, you don't like your children celebrating the eve of a Christian festival (all saints day).

Are you going to take the same stance on Christmas Eve and not let them sing carols?

I'm CofE. I just feel that Halloween is celebrating evil in a way- I can't fully explain it

Probably because All Saints and All Souls are big RC festivals.

Coupon Fri 25-Oct-13 19:44:12

Maybe it's because of the Christian belief that unpleasant spirits would be cast out by God, rather than by ourselves with pumpkins, costumes etc.

Christians have obviously adopted some of the pagan customs at Easter as well as celebrating the resurrection, but that's all about life so it's the opposite of Halloween.

MostlyLovingLurchers Fri 25-Oct-13 20:47:36

Coupon - why is it a problem that the focus is on death? I would have thought that someone with faith in the next life would not be bothered by this. The Celtic world would have seen death as the necessary opposite of life, as dark is the opposite of light, so as much emphasis was given to a time of death as to a time of rebirth and new life, and probably more so to Samhain because, as I said earlier, it was also the end of the year and the start of the next.

SunshineMMum - your learned friend is right. There is no evidence of Druids going door to door demanding human sacrifices. There is little doubt that sacrifice was part of Druidic ritual, but there is also little evidence (outside Caesar and Tacitus who are hardly impartial sources) that it was particularly widespread, or even that the victim was always unwilling - there is evidence that Lindow Man for example was a willing participant. There is evidence that sacrifice occurred more often in times of crisis - Alveston Cave springs to mind.

Regardless, there is nothing to suggest that Samhain was associated with sacrifice any more than any other festival - and as has been said no-one is objecting to Christmas or Easter, and since blood sacrifice is not generally part of Neopagan and Druidic rituals it would be an odd reason to object to Samhain as it is celebrated today.

SunshineMMum Fri 25-Oct-13 21:38:59

Valid point mostly loving lurchers.

I'm hoping this doesn't out me in RL but I've got PhD in calendar customs (not hallowe'en itself, but my BF in academia was already doing that :-D).

Can I try to reassure you that Hallowe'en is NOT about satanic worship, or witchcraft or anything of the sort - it may have been adopted by modern pagan religions (which are only a century or so old, as far as any actual evidence shows)- but that the Christian traditions of All Soul's Eve/All Souls Day/All Hallows are far, far older than that - it has been a time of remembrance, of thanks, and of mindful contemplation in the Christian calendar for hundreds and hundreds of years, way before anyone even invented satanism or paganism.

Furthermore, British traditions of guising (dressing up), visiting (trick or treating) and prank-playing go back centuries, so anyone who tells you that Halloween is an American import is also talking out of their proverbial.

Fwiw, I can't see the difference between not recognising Christmas because it's all about the materialism, and not recognising Halloween because it's all about the ghosties. Have some confidence in the impressive cultural legacy of your religion!

<lecture ends>

MostlyLovingLurchers Fri 25-Oct-13 22:54:38

Doesthatmakesense - so what did people do pre-Christianity? I completely agree with you that the links between many neopagan practices and their supposed celtic counterparts are tenuous at times (Ronald Hutton is great at stripping away the misconceptions as far is this is concerned).

However, there is I think no doubt that a fire festival marking the end of the year and celebrating the dead took place at this time. All Saints was introduced in the C7th and moved to the autumn in the C9th. If you want some evidence that the origins of Samhain predate this there are sites near Athboy, Co Meath, where monuments approx 5000 years old are aligned with the Samhain sunrise. Samhain fires were taking place at Tlachtga from approx. AD200. Elsewhere it is more likely that the timing would have been determined by the changing weather or the gathering of the final harvest, so less precise than that of solstice or equinox. Otherwise I agree with you!

Spidermama Sun 27-Oct-13 08:22:34

Lurchers I am thoroughly enjoying your contribution to this thread.

MostlyLovingLurchers Sun 27-Oct-13 09:37:34

Thank you Spidermama thlsmile

cheekbyjowl Mon 28-Oct-13 19:58:00

I wrote a long post but quite frankly I dont get Halloween. it might have a Christian legacy but the fact is that the way we celebrate....dressing up as witches or hanging fake severed heads on doors just foesnt feel very christian...or honouring to God or the dead. so I can see why the op might feel uncomfortable participating even though no harm is meant by the cub group nor are children who have fun dressing up un Christian its just an odd holiday. easter might hqve pagan origins too but a bunny is far less gruesome smile

contortionist Mon 28-Oct-13 21:39:33

poshme we do not celebrate Halloween as a family. So I totally get where you are coming from.

As a Christian I don't feel comfortable glorifying 'evil' things. By this I mean dressing up as the devil, as vampires, zombie's or murders etc!

When DD was smaller it was totally easy to avoid it all and just not join in. As she got older that was harder and I did not want her to miss out on fun so I encourage our church to do a Light party every year. This means my taking the lead in organising it. At a light party the kids dress up in a non-scary way, they play games and have fun, eat nice food and sweets and get a party bag. There might also be drama and singing etc.

While shops, resraurants and pubs are making money selling 'Halloween' type stuff we are running a local community party for free. I can't really see why people would object to Christians not celebrating Halloween!

We carve pumpkins with smiley faces.

We do not go trick or treating, although this year we are going treat and treating, where we take sweets to friends and see if they will give us some too (I have pre-arranged for a few friends locally who I think will be in). I offered to do this last year but DD was not actually that bothered! The idea of kids knocking at random houses is not nice, or (I think) especially safe and is probably scary for elderly people.

In the past I got in healthy snacks and Christian book marks to give to trick or treaters, I am happy if they are little kids dressed up but I don't want older kids on my doorstep moaning if the sweets I give are not good enough! So now each year we download a poster from the police that says No Trick or Treat. I know Thames Valley do one. It just says something like 'enjoy your evening but don't disturb mine.'

At Christmas I got carol singing with my church, if someone had a sign up saying 'enjoy your evening but don't disturb mine.' I would respect their wishes and not sing on their doorstep!

poshme, my dd is 9 now and this year the school ran a disco a few days before Halloween. It was not called a Halloween disco, although clearly that was what people thought it was because many kids dressed up in scary stuff and the decorations were pumpkins and skulls etc. I felt it was OK for DD to go because it was not actually on Halloween (and we have our church Light party then) and she did not dress up scarily. Some people will not see the distinction but I felt happy with it and DD had fun and just enjoyed playing around.

I am very aware that non-Christians and some Christians find it quite funny that some of us do not like to celebrate Halloween. That is fine. I would rather save my energy for celebrating the good things in life.

I hope you have a wonderful 31 October, or Light party or All Hallows Eve. You can always have fun and do something at home, dress up, play games, get in some candy and hid it around the house and hunt for it; or dress up and go to the cinema to watch a funny comedy.

When my daughter is older she will make her own mind up and she may well, as I did as a teenager, go to Halloween parties. God is so much stronger and more powerful than a few party antics and I don't think I need to be scared of people dressing up or having fun. Terrible awful things are done around this world all the time, so I don't think we should waste our energy on this day, I don't think we should get this one night out of perspective. But I do think people who do not want to celebrate it should not be made to feel bad' as if they are letting their kid down, which I did hear from a parent outside of mumsnet!

Hanging you could tell your kids some people don't celebrate Halloween. If they ask why you could say because they don't want to, they don't find it fun or meaningful or good to do, but I expect they do celebrate other things and have fun at other times.

MostlyLovingLurchers Tue 29-Oct-13 09:15:44

Italian - I don't think anyone should be made to celebrate Halloween or any other festival, or be made to feel bad for not doing so. I don't celebrate Rosh Hashanah or Eid and i'm fine with that. My issue is with the misinformation as to its origins, and the confusion of Pagan with Satanist - the insinuation that there is something inherently evil about it. I think Conformist's link is more scary than anything i'm likely to encounter on the 31st!

MostlyLovingLurchers I am more concerned with what is done on Halloween now rather than the origins of it.

Some of the origins of it are Christian en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween#Christian_influence and specificially Roman Catholic en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souling (if Wikipedia is to be believed). There does also seem to be a big modern influence, pumpkins from USA and Hollywood movie costumes etc.

The things I dislike are children dressed as the devil or ghouls and those horrible masks in shops and things like a bag of candys called 'Decapitated heads'.

I am sure there will be some people who will engage in occult type things on Halloween and that is an additional reason why I don't want to celebrate.

MostlyLovingLurchers Tue 29-Oct-13 14:02:50

I am sure there will be some people who will engage in occult type things on Halloween and that is an additional reason why I don't want to celebrate.

So don't celebrate it. Pagans perform rituals and may work magic at Eostre and Yule, and at the other festivals - it is not something that is reserved for this one. What you call occult is someone else's religious practices. Satanists are another thing entirely, and i'm pretty sure that they will be busy being Satanists the rest of the year too.

Fwiw, i'm actually in agreement about a lot of the commercialisation and dressing up - some of it is in pretty poor taste, not least those costumes that were withdrawn from sale from some of the main supermarkets once they realised that they were pretty offensive to mental health patients.

I am not remotely offended if you choose not to celebrate. I agree in part about some of the dressing up and cynical commercialism of the whole thing. I am bothered by the fact that if you google something like Druidism and Halloween you get page upon page of links to Christian sites spouting utter nonsense about the festival's origins and current Pagan practices (give it a go if you don't believe me). You may not be bothered by that, but I am, and it was because some of this misinformation appeared in this thread that I posted.

contortionist I love Jack Chick. No one else can does "crazy Christianity" as well as he does.

msmiggins Tue 29-Oct-13 14:15:47

I think it's a bit rich for christiand to coomplain- they did invent Satan after all!

MostlyLovingLurchers thank you for your comments, I guess there is a lot of misinformation out there. I just wanted to support the OP in the thought she is not alone in not wanting to celebrate it and that there are things anyone can do if they are not comfortable with it.

I am a lot more relaxed about it now than I once was!

Worldgonecrazy you know of course that Satan features in the Old Testament or Hebrew scriptures so we did not literally invent him.

Sorry world that was meant to be a comment to Mrsmiggins apologies.

PloddingDaily Tue 29-Oct-13 21:06:45

OP - we don't / won't be 'celebrating' halloween here either...same as we don't 'do' Eid, summer solstice, saints days etc etc etc...we do what we do, our kids get plenty of treats & fun stuff throughout the year, end of. smile I suspect a lot of the aggression & animosity against anyone perceived to be opting out of halloween due to 'faith' reasons come down to people feeling defensive because they think there's some kind of implied judgement of what they do with their kids...but whilst I don't judge what other people do, I don't think my kids are to be pitied, and frankly I find it highly offensive when people take it upon themselves to judge my actions by their standards that way...I'm not judging people who want to get involved with halloween, that's their call, but just because my family doesn't buy into their choices doesn't give them any right to finger poke in our direction. I think that the whole "your poor kids / what a kill joy" thing is a very ugly kind of peer pressure / herd think.

There are a whole lot of reasons why we don't 'do' halloween, but as I'm not out for a bunfight & believe we all have the right to choose, I won't go into them here... grin
ps ...I don't have strong feelings about what the origins of halloween are either! wink

sashh Wed 30-Oct-13 07:58:51

I can't really see why people would object to Christians not celebrating Halloween!

I have no problem with people not celebrating anything.

I do have a problem with people thinking Halloween has anything to do with celebrating evil.

Personally I don't celebrate Christmas, but I don't hand out leaflets telling people they are taking part in occult activities and glorifying evil.

And I'm sure you would be pretty insulted if I did.

Spidermama Wed 30-Oct-13 15:17:59

Good point well made Sashh.

Elfhame Wed 30-Oct-13 16:34:51

Viewing other peoples gods and goddesses as demons seems like religious intolerance to me. Are the Hindu ones also widely regarded as evil?

Modern witches, druids and other neo-pagans do not engage in blood sacrifice or devil worship. The devil is a christian belief - witches and pagans don't believe in him, let alone worship him!

Most pagans I've ever encountered are fluffy tree-hugging types.

poshme Wed 30-Oct-13 19:13:51

Thanks all for your views.
sashh I wouldn't dream of handing out leaflets like that, and I've been very careful in RL not to be negative at all to people about them doing stuff for Halloween- when I told cubs that DS wasn't coming I says I hoped they had a good evening. I hope they did.
I really don't mean to offend anyone- I was just interested in other Christians views. I don't think Halloween as it happens now is a Christian festival, so I don't choose to celebrate it, in the same way that I don't choose to celebrate eid, or Divali etc.
I can't remember who suggested that I didn't like it cos of being CofE- one if my closest friends is RC and she doesn't like it either. I happened to describe myself CofE on this thread, but would usually just call myself christian.
Anyway- interesting thread thanks all. I hope that whatever you're doing Tomorrow night you enjoy it!

Poshme just wondered how last night went for you?

We had a free Light party for anyone who wanted to come and had a great attendance. My daughter and I went and visited a few friends and gave out chocolates and got given sweets and cookies. She didn't dress as anything scary.

It was kind of funny, there were cute little kids dressed as vampires etc and I realised when the costume is pretty simple it doesn't look so bad but when the kids are wearing really horrible masks it just seems so sad to obscure their lovely little faces with something ghoulish!

I did not give out any tracts or preach to anyone about the evils of Halloween!

So I hope we all managed to rub along amicably in our village - the ghouls, cats, princesses and whatever else!

poshme Fri 01-Nov-13 11:46:06

we were due to go to a light party but DS is ill so couldn't. No truck or treaters here as we're rural. So a normal day really thanks.
Just looking forward to Christmas now! Bring on advent!

msmiggins Fri 01-Nov-13 14:47:04

I don't see why people want to have a light party at Halloween. Either you celebrate it or you don't. Why try to turn it into something it isn't? Why not just ignore it if it doesn't float your boat?

msmiggins we have a Light party as an alternative to the way many people choose to celebrate 31 October. We do it because the children of families we know love a party and might feel they were missing out if they could not go to Halloween parties. I would not want my daughter to feel that she has to miss out on a party but I acknowledge that there may be times when she might or times when she is older and she will choose to go to a Halloween party but while she is still young I would love her to have an alternative way to celebrate this day. Just as many non-Christians might choose to celebrate 25 December differently to me.

I am just curious but does it bother you that some people choose to do something different? smile Don;t reply if you don't want to, I just sense you don't understand why we do what we do and for me it is important to be open about what I do and it is not an attempt to put other people down. Some of our light party attendees were not regular 'church' families and some wore 'scary' costumes and all were made as welcome as each other. It was a totally free event but people asked to make donations and one mum from another church came up and said please keep doing what you are doing as it is so nice not to be pressurised into doing what everyone else does.

TheIggorcist Fri 01-Nov-13 17:06:12

I think it does smack of being a criticism of what others are doing. In the same way if I held a "I'm not celebrating Eid" party. When people hold parties on the same day as another "celebration" (I'm not sure that is the right word for Halloween) it is generally an anti-event - so a anti-monarchy party on the day of the royal wedding, or a ding-dong etc party on the day of Thatcher's funeral.
I do not think the posters on this thread mean it in that regard, but I think this is how it can easily be perceived.

msmiggins Fri 01-Nov-13 17:33:05

That's exactly as I see it. Why celebrate at all? If you don't see halloween as fun then your kids are not missing out are they? I simply see these light parties as a bit of a protest, as Iggorcist says I wouldn't muscle in on Divali of feast during Ramadan. Why does your light party need to be the same day as Halloween? If Halloween is so dreadful then why do you even celebrate then?

msmiggins Fri 01-Nov-13 17:43:16

Even the name "light party" does suggest some antagonistic reason.
Halloween is a festival that finds fun in the dark side of things, the theme of your light party is obvioulsy set to counter that in some way.

I guess I can't I can't explain it any more fully so maybe I have failed! We don't celebrate Halloween, we offer a party on that day as an alternative. Much as someone, anyone, may wish to offer an alternative to what is generally on offer. If that is perceived as a judgement on what others are doing then I can't alter that. As others have pointed out some of All Hallow's Eve has it's roots in Christianity so I can't see it is wrong for Christians to behave in a certain way on that day.

Anyway, it is facinating to read this as it had not even occured to me anyone would object to the holding of Light parties!

How can it be antagonistic to call it a Light party if you have just said
Halloween is a festival that finds fun in the dark side of things

It is because we do not want to find fun in the dark side of things that we celebrate the Light. If we wanted to celebrate the dark side of things we would go to a Halloween party.

TheIggorcist Fri 01-Nov-13 17:50:29

.. or you could celebrate Reformation day, which was yesterday too.

TheIggorcist that is a lovely idea, grin not sure how many children's games can come out of that theme though!

But I like the idea, any other days we could celebrate we don't normally? (genuine question).

Personally, I would like to see international day of the girl child celebrated but I guess we would then also need an international day of the boy child too!

http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/

Oh, just thought of something, some churches have super hero parties instead of Halloween parties. This is a genuine question - is that less or more offensive than a Light party?

I actually suggested the superhero thing because I think it is a great theme. And kids can dress up as made up superheroes so they don't need expensive costumes either.

TheIggorcist Fri 01-Nov-13 20:18:34

A light party isn't offensive, it just seems a bit silly. You either observe the day, or you don't. And to give a new Christian theme to something that already has a Christian theme is going a bit far.
In response to the earlier question, how about pin the tail on the 95 theses? (Dh suggested that one).

serin Fri 01-Nov-13 21:47:46

Our Church has a festival of light on 13th Dec (St Lucy's day). This is common to most Scandinavian countries.

Serin Is that the one where people walk around with lighted candles in their hair!!

TheIggorcist I am really surprised anyone would see it is silly. I can think of tons of things that I would see as silly about the way that Halloween is celebrated by some but I can't see why having a Christian party would be silly, I mean don't get me wrong I totally understand that lots of people aren't Christian and would not want to go to a Christian party, so I do understand that. But I am surprised that anyone feels it is silly for a religious group to celebrate things in a different way. But it is interesting as it had not occurred to me that anyone would have a problem with it, (not you necessarily) but I think others have. It's just interesting, it won't change what I do but it is interesting to be aware. It's amazing for me that many people celebrate Christmas with no reference to Jesus but I would not call them silly, I do see it as a genuine choice

Thank you for replying TheIggorcist. smile

TheIggorcist Fri 01-Nov-13 23:49:29

I suppose because it is a sort of "invented" party, rather than one following the Christian year? I had never heard of these before this thread, it is not as if I have a strong opinion either way.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 02-Nov-13 04:38:34

In the UK, what is now called Hallowe'en, the evening before All Saints Day in the Xtian calandar, used to be Samhain, a major event in the pagan calander. Just as Xtians appropriated the pagan Midwinter festival (Xmas) and the pagan Spring festival (Easter, they didn't even bother changing the name, just the spelling) they also took Samhain, but that hasn't "caught on" in the same way. And now, even Xtians don't underestand that Satan, ergo Satan-worship, is an entirely Abrahamic idea... Gah.

Kleptronic Sat 02-Nov-13 04:46:37

OldLadyKnowsEverything. She does, you know. smile

msmiggins Sat 02-Nov-13 07:48:07

OldLadyKnowsNothing well said!

TheIggorcist I don't know why you thik it's amazing that people celebrate christmas without jesus- most people do! It is an important secular and pagan festival and was so long before the invention of christianity. Despite the failed hi-jack attempt by the church it's good to see that christmas is being released from it's christian shackles and once again being embraced for the meanings enshrined at its inception.
I take it you don't have a christmas tree TheIggorcist - I find it amazing that christians would want one despite the warnings in the book of Jeremiah.
In fact if we examine the motifs of christmas we don't see very many christian symbols being used at all by most people. Holly, christmas trees, christmas star, santa ( should be particulary offensive to christians if they trace his roots) stockings, decorations, yule logs, mistletoe, offerings for santa, reindeers, feasting, song, yule logs, fires, chimneys.
Jesus doesn't come into it for most people.

I still find it strange that you should want to have an antagonistic party on such a specific day.

poshme Sat 02-Nov-13 12:11:56

From my understanding, the term light party comes from 'saints of light' because its celebrating all saints day. Which is part of the Christian calendar.

msmiggins I don't think a light party is antagonistic. I guess we will just have to agree to differ. smile

msmiggins I think it was me who said I thought it was strange people celebrated Christmas without Jesus, not TheIggorcist. I think that is right, apologies TheIggorcist if I have that wrong.

msmiggins I think the 'star' is part of a Christian idea of Christmas and I am not sure you can claim 'song' as being something exclusive to any group. When I said about people celebrating Christmas without Jesus I did not mean people who were 'pagan' or any other specific group, I meant people of no particular religion who call it Christmas and send cards with Christmas scenes but don't enjoy the Christian meaning of it.

Don't get me wrong, I am not stupid, I totally get it, it's a time of fun in an otherwise cold and miserable time of year. It's also sometime a stressful time when families get together and don't enjoy it and get into debt over the over-priced gifts. I guess what I meant in a way was if it has no religious significance then I wonder why people do it, but I know why they do it, we as people like a party, and nothing wrong in wanting to enjoy the season.

TheIggorcist I agree Light parties are a bit invented, though we believe what we are celebrating in celebrating The Light, so it is true, it is not fake. If hat makes sense, for us as Christians. In one sense I could say it is bad that we are just responding to what others are doing, but in another sense maybe Christians should be responding to others! If we just do our own thing and ignore everyone else we may get told we are cold and unapproachable and if we do something else different we may get told we are being antagonistic.

Poshme maybe you will do something nice next year.

We had the party, which was lovely, and then DD and I went out treating, we took sweets and we got sweets. We had asked a few people if we could pop round. We had never done it before and DD was very happy. Then we had a take away! Not sure if that is in anyone's tradition!

alemci Sat 02-Nov-13 12:22:39

I think the light party is held so that the dc don't feel like they are missing out. There was about 50 dc at the one at a nearby church. Perhaps parents like the fact that it is organised whereas wandering around the streets trick or treating may not be that safe or the dps may not want to go out and do it with their dc.

I will answer the door to t or ts and have sweets but I would not encouraged my own dc to do it or instigated it.

I didn't mind if they went to an organised halloween party.

I don't really want to celebrate halloween. it is imported and on the dark side.

spicynaknik Sat 02-Nov-13 12:46:17

There's none so blind as those that will not see...

TheIggorcist Sat 02-Nov-13 13:26:10

Msmighins - that was a long comment on something I never even said!

TheIggorcist Sat 02-Nov-13 13:28:36

Italiangreyhound, you seem to be a very even-handed and approachable person, and I appreciate your responses to me on this thread.

Tigresswoods Sat 02-Nov-13 13:38:11

This touches a nerve with me. When I was about 7 my mum insisted I sit out of all Halloween related stuff at school. I remember sitting in the library for hours with a little boy who was in the same boat. His parents were J Witnesses. We attended a Baptist church & I think my mum had been told to ignore Halloween.

Anyway I can't ask her as she's been gone now for 11 years but I do dress up these days for Halloween as does DS who is 3. We don't do T or T as he's too young. I don't think I'll ever feel comfortable with that activity but I love the dressing up & opportunity for a party.

TheIggorcist thank you for that lovely comment. smile I think it is important to hear everyone's views and even though I may not agree with everyone I still want to know what they think. In fact I think it is really nice people can come on and engage about these topics in a friendly way. It gives me hope.

Tigeresswoods that's a very sad thing to be left out and I am sure your Mum did it for the best reasons in her mind, as I am sure you know. I think now days most schools know kids will have not be encouraged to join in really scary stuff so school try and pitch it at a more 'accessable' level. Our school called it something other than a Halloween disco and due to half term it was not on the actual day of Halloween. My dd went and enjoyed it and I was not bothered by the spiders and pumpkins on display. I think in the USA the dressing up is a lot more general, pirates, fairies, fruit (!) etc. I love dressing up and I think kids love it so dressing up parties are great.

I am a bit bored with all the TV programms for kids having Halloween versions and they are still screening them now a few days later.

msmiggins Sat 02-Nov-13 16:44:23

Apologies for misquotes- an early morning. My sentiments still hold true.

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