How did the sacred event of honoring our deceased loved ones get reduced to costumes and candy?
When I was a child, rumor had it among my wisest grade-school friends that Halloween was when witches came out and hunted down little children to throw into their satanic potions. Later, I modified my opinion and believed that it was actually created by a bunch of pagan Celts and is evil. In the Christian community I grew up in, we avoided celebrating Halloween because we preferred to avoid all the ghosts and witches and whatnot. Better safe than demon-possessed, so what we did instead was hang out and have a harvest party.
I had fun at those parties – we still got to eat tons of candy – but our fear of Halloween wasn’t quite justified. In fact, Halloween isn’t Satan’s holiday at all. It is a traditional Church remembrance of those who have died and a celebration particularly for those who are already in heaven. The name Halloween itself refers to “All Hallows Eve,” or the night before All Saints Day. The customs and pageantry come out of the religious background, such as baking Soul Cakes to hand out as treats and jack-o-lanterns to warn evil spirits away.