After reading my wife’s post about Halloween and if it is ok for Christians, which you can read here, it made me want to look into the true meaning of Halloween. What exactly is being seen as evil? I just had to find out! I mean sure, there’s gory costumes and decorations, but are these things truly evil? We could debate for days and when it comes down to it, there is a huge difference between FUN and EVIL, though some may find one to resemble the other.
So let’s look at the meaning. The word Halloween comes from the Scottish festival known as “All-Hallows-Eve” or “All-Hallows-Even”. This meant, All Hallows Evening, and much like Christmas Eve, the word Eve resembles the night before. So while Halloween is celebrated on October 31st, November 1st (and historically November 2nd as well) were known as All-Hallows-Day. All Hallows is a term that means All Saints. So All Hallows Day is the Day of All Saints.
So what does that mean? So far, it surely doesn’t sound evil at all.
All Saints Day takes place November 1st, with November 2nd being labeled as All Soul’s Day. To better understand these, let’s take a look at what they are.
All Saints Day
All Saints Day is a day that honors those who have passed on and attained the beatific vision (eternal and direct visual perception of God). This means the day honors those who have seen God face to face. This day honors those who have “faithfully departed”. Basically, this means those who were purified and able to see God face to face. There is absolutely nothing evil about this day.
All Souls’ Day
Here it is. November 2nd, the day after all Saints Day, Christians and Catholics who participate in this day spend it praying for those who passed on and were not pure, and therefore are stuck in purgatory. This is where some of the issues come as many people do not believe in purgatory. Those being lifted up on this day have NOT achieved the beatific vision mentioned above.
Day Of The Dead
Some issues could come from this as well, as some Mexican cultures celebrate the Day of the Dead on November 1st and 2nd, though this holiday simply focuses on the same as the above in a simplified format – remembering those who have died.
Some characters that follow Halloween display an evil format, such as serial killers like Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, and Freddy Krueger, just to name a few extremely well-known ones. Some come from horror literature, such as Dracula and Frankenstein. Some come from typical folklore, such as ghosts and monsters. Regardless, these are not what Halloween is all about. As a matter of fact, this year during 3 different trick-or-treating sessions, I only saw 2 Michael Myers costumes and 3 Jasons, and NO Freddys, though I think I caught a glimpse of a Leatherface on Sunday night.
Pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns fill into the mix because Scottland and Ireland traditionally used turnips, but immigrants who came to America used pumpkins due to them being softer and larger, which made them easier to carve.
Some symbolism of Halloween does contain themes of the occult and pagan-like imagery, which could be the one thing Christians now find wrong with the Holiday.
Let’s talk Trick-or-Treating (also known as guising)!
FACT: In Scottland, kids would perform a “trick”, such as singing or a talent, to earn their treat at each door. Here in America, the phrase originally meant something slightly more harsh – that if the people didn’t give a treat, they’d end up pranked. TPing houses was in fact once a Halloween tradition (and in some neighborhoods, I’m sure it still is.)
ANOTHER FACT: Going door to door in fun costumes did not originate as a Halloween tradition, but in other traditions such as Christmas carolling (wassailing).
GOOD VS. EVIL
Even after doing all of this research, did I really depict an unbiased explanation of whether or not Halloween is evil? I guess not, because in the end, you have to decide how you feel for yourself. What I have shown is that, despite popular belief, the foundation of the Holiday is not evil as many believe. Trick-or-treating has absolutely nothing wrong with it though some costumes and decorations may borderline what you personally feel is acceptable. I guess that means it’s up to you. Tell us what you think. Also, be sure to read my other post regarding the DANGERS AND BENEFITS of trick-or-treating! It’ll tell you exactly why it’s good to take your kids out for the holiday despite your personal beliefs!