5 Reasons to Celebrate or Not to Celebrate Halloween

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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