Yes, I know Halloween was yesterday. But a friend posted this article on Facebook and I thought it was worth mentioning. It is an interesting account of the origins and evolution of Halloween. Yes, there are pagan roots, but it also went through a Catholic phase. The author discusses the various Christian responses to the holiday as well.
I like this line: "There is a big difference between kids dressing up in cute costumes for candy and Mardi-Gras-like Halloween parties, offensive costumes, and uninhibited excess." The problem I see with Halloween more than anything is the fact that you are teaching children that it's ok to go door to door begging and it's ok to eat large amounts of candy. Yes, it's only one night a year, but this has to be confusing. I remember as a young child feeling funny about doing this, because when else are you encouraged to beg from your neighbors? Last night many of the kids were carrying a pillowcase, which I think is a bit much. Isn't a plastic pumpkin-ful enough candy?
Handing out candy last night, I was surprised and pleased about the politeness of the kids. Along with the "trick or treats" there was almost always a "please" and "thank you." There were a couple "scary" costumes, but they were all much closer to the villain out of a comic book movie than to a ghost or demon. I am out of the loop on kid's fads. I saw a couple of what looked like Bionicles, but I have no idea if those are still popular. I'm pretty sure the ones that looked like Power Rangers were actually something else given how long ago those were "in." There were many more princesses, butterflies, a Harry Potter and I think a Southern belle type, Thomas the Tank Engine, etc.
I can completely understand why Christians might not hand out candy or allow their children to trick or treat, and I wouldn't try to change their minds. I don't personally have a problem with it, and saw handing out candy as a way to "meet" neighbors. Of course, there wasn't time for much more than a "Hi" and "Have fun!" but something is better than nothing, I think. I have a feeling this is something we'll be re-evaluating every year. What are your thoughts?