HALLOWEEN-At a Christian School?

Winner of The Best-Dressed Super-Hero:  Super-Shopper (aka Pixie Moseley)

Winner of The Cutest Costume:  Mini Mouse (a little one in Early Childhood)

 Every year when Halloween comes around, I get that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach.  It’s time for the annual parade when I make the case for keeping out the blood and weapons and vampires and zombies and other sinister depictions of evil and death.  In fact, it’s hard work finding a fun or silly costume to wear year after year.  How did this costume thing get started?

“Halloween” comes from “All Hallow’s Eve,” the evening before All Saints’ Day, November 1st each year.   In Great Britain and Ireland before the Christian era, the Celtic Festival of Samhain was observed on October 31st.  It was a harvest celebration and came as the last day of the year.

When the Gospel came to England and Ireland in the late 2nd century, All Saints’ Day was placed on the calendar to remember all the saints of God who love God, love Jesus, and love one another—both the living and the dead.  As people learned about the concept of the Communion of the Saints (the belief that we are all joined in Christ in baptism, through faith, and share a common future in God’s Kingdom of Heaven), an ancient belief was added,  that on one day of the year, the souls of the departed were allowed to visit earth and either create chaos or spread joy.  Being in a New Year’s party spirit, people would party on All Hallow’s Eve by dressing up as characters from the world of the departed.

For some this practice became disturbing, so Christians took advantage of the opportunity to light bon-fires, which symbolized the belief that Jesus is the Light of the World who drives away sin and darkness.  It also became a great occasion to celebrate the new life that faith in Jesus brings with it.  In time, along with the costumes came mischief-making, and people began to give small children a choice:  a “trick” played on them or a “treat.”

Because Halloween did not derive from satanic worship, the School encourages the younger children to dress as cartoon characters, as saints or as heroes.  Just as Christmas can be celebrated as the anniversary of the birth of our Savior, or it can merely be thought of as a secular occasion for stores to sell items or families to give presents and have parties, so can Halloween be celebrated in religious or secular ways.

I can’t think of a better reason to make Halloween an occasion for learning something about our faith and have fun doing it!



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