Halloween: To Partake or Not to Partake? Halloween: To Partake or Not to Partake?

Editor's note: Find archived Halloween and All Saints & All Souls Day resources here. LMH

Halloween:  To Partake or Not to Partake?

If you do Halloween are you supporting paganism and Satan worship?  Throwing away all that is holy and inviting the forces of evil into your life?

If you don’t do Halloween, will your children grow to resent you as over-protective and come to reject everything you’ve taught them to believe?

I’ve seen life from both sides of the fence on this one.  Here is where we found a comfortable middle ground:

YES to

  1.  Trick or treating.  Argue the roots of this practice, but this is a normal part of our current American culture and not officially related to any worldview except that free candy is good.
  2. Costumes.  Costumes are fun and good for the imagination.
  3. Sweets.  For one day, they can eat relatively unlimited amounts of candy, and yes we all suffer for it.  After that, the candy is divided into personal bags and put where only Dad can reach so that it can be portioned in a reasonable way as a dessert after eating a healthy meal.  Personally, I think the fun size candy was a brilliant invention, if you eat just one.
  4. All things All Saints.  Any opportunity to emphasize that this is All Hallows Eve is taken.  Parties, more costumes (of saints), essays, prayers, songs, Mass.  All are ways to honor all the saints on and around All Saints Day.
  5. Halloween-related songs, movies, TV specials and parties that are in good fun.  I’m talking The Great Pumpkin here.

NO to

  1. Horror movies of any kind.  I personally can’t take it and the USCCB guidelines clearly state that an entertainment film detailing the murder or torture of another is detrimental to the psyche and the spirit and objectionable for all.
  2. Costumes that are gory or evil.  Anything that would scare a child or be reminiscent of the afore-mentioned horror film is off-limits as are costumes that glorify evil, the devil, etc.  We stick with superheroes, favorite characters from books and media, animals and household objects.
  3. Mischief Night.  One night where you make uninvited, unnecessary work for your neighbors in the name of fun while wasting toilet paper and shaving cream at best.  Vandalism at the worst.   Even if “Everybody else is doing it.” -  No thanks.
  4. Decorating the house in scary ways.  We carve some jack-o-lanterns with faces, religious imagery and silhouettes of moons, bats, etc.  Gory or scary decorations just emphasize the wrong side of the holiday.  Again, if little ones are afraid to approach your door, that’s too much.  We do sometimes indulge the kids with decorations that feature the Halloween animals like spiders, bats and cats, because there really isn’t anything intrinsically evil about those creatures.  Scarecrows, apples and pumpkins are good too.
  5. Anything related to fortune-telling and the occult.  Most people approach these things jokingly at Halloween and don’t mean any harm, but Ouija boards, tarot cards and the like are instruments of the occult and we are instructed to stay away from it.  If these things are represented on television or in books or movies, this is an opportunity to discuss our Catholic faith as relates to these matters.

What are your rules and tips for a Christian family on Halloween?

Copyright 2012 Kate Daneluk