3 Cool Halloween Alternatives Without Cutting the Halloween Costumes Out!
There are reasons why people are iffy about or avoid Halloween. For safety reasons and obesity concerns, they would not let their children trick or treat. For economic reasons, they can't afford Halloween costumes to wear.
But many decide to have their families shun Halloween altogether - in the name of their one god they worship.
So why do many monotheists - particularly many evangelical/fundamentalist Christians, Jews, and Muslims - stay away from Halloween, along with their families? Doesn't that upset children who just want to have fun and don themselves in the guises of politicians and poltergeists? Doesn't that ruin their fun of going door to door collecting candy with that litany, "Trick or treat?"
Doesn't it make them unhappy that they will miss out on all the activities associated with the holiday?
What Hubbers think about Halloween and Christianity
- Why Do We Celebrate Halloween?
Belief713 says that she finds it so weird that many Christians celebrate Halloween while others deem it as a devil-worshiping holiday!
- Should You Let Your Kids Celebrate Halloween?
Lela Davidson says that Halloween is a matter of choice for individual Christian parents, not as a matter of being a wholly pagan holiday.
The History (and Children's Upsets) Calls for Alternatives
So why is Halloween all that bad for many Jews, Muslims, and Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christians? For the most part, they believe that it's an occultic holiday, meaning that if children participate in a seemingly innocent activity like trick-or-treating, they would worship a false god. Simply put, they regard it as a pagan holiday
Well, once upon a time, the Celts from Britain celebrated their new year on an October 31, when the lord of death, Samhain, attacked humans with demons. Their lines of defense are costumes and masks that look like the spirits, and they succeeded in confusing them by wearing them.
Also, they set outdoor bonfires to repel them as well. Several years later, in the late eighth century, Pope Gregory III moved the feast of All Saints Day from May 31st to November 1st, thus making the day before All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. Some of the traditions, like wearing costumes, stuck despite conversion.
But if Catholics converted a Druid holiday to the day before they honored the Saints in Heaven, why do most fundamentalist Christians even bother to denounce it as a pagan feast day? To make the issue worse, they think that the traditions of wearing costumes and trick-or-treating (asking for food from homes and cursing them if they have none to share) are worshiping Satan and his evil minions.
If Catholics consecrated Halloween, why do most fundamentalist Christians see it as unholy?
Some evangelical Christian parents would tell their children, "Oh, we can't go trick-or-treating today; we will worship the devil if we do that. God instructed us to just stay home." I can imagine how upset children are with tears in their eyes just because they have to skip the fun aspects of the holiday for the grace of God.
Ditto for a portion of Jews (who think so likewise) and Muslims (who think it worships the shaytan, their version of the devil, and is therefore haram to begin with).
But the biggest thing kids have to miss is wearing the Halloween costumes, because they are originally "evil spirit" repellents for Druid-worshiping Celts (not to mention that a growing number of them show too much skin, which is immodest in the context of holiday-shunning monotheist groups). Costumes come in a variety of colors, shapes, and media figures - from movie monsters to Egyptian princesses.
But the solution for those families who can't celebrate Halloween just because of religion is finding alternatives. But considering how fun a day of wearing costumes is, it's fairly hard for them to incorporate activities involving them. Thus, I developed 3 great ways for those families to trade pagan traditions for religion-congruent ones.
Alternative #1: The Hoedown
What's more fun than celebrating a hoedown in the fall, with all the bales of hay, fallen leaves in a display of fall colors and pumpkins adorning the party venue?
With all the country music people can dance to - from those that allow you to do dosey-does to those that make you cut the rug, this dance party would win the hearts of children and adults alike.
Best of all, participants get to wear country/Western costumes (boots, gallon hats, and gingham dresses) for the event! This is a wonderful addition to any church fall carnival because it reflects on how good and homey the harvest is.
Alternative #2: Celebrate the Theme Party
If you, your family, or your ministry has a theme in mind that is compatible with your religion, throw a party based on it. Themes come in all different kinds, from the aforementioned country/Western, Italian, or movie. Invite your family, friends, and co-workers and tell them to dress in theme-specific costumes as long as they are modest.
Considering that October 31st lies before All Saints' Day, some churches would most likely have participants dress up as saints or Biblical characters, like Saint Mark and Jesus Christ Himself.
It's also perfect for schools (public or private) who cannot celebrate Halloween not only because it would disrupt learning, but because some students don't do it because of their faith. One middle school in Tampa held a Celebrate the Theme party. Because it's a magnet school for fine arts, students' costumes (homemade or bought) had to be a literary character, a composer, or any other artist.
Alternative #3: Fall Festivals
The most common alternative to what most monotheists consider as the dark, Satanic observations of Halloween is the fall festival. It can be as simple as a buffet of fall-specific dishes or as elaborate as a full-blown fall carnival of rides, games, and side shows. Most festivals of the type include cookoffs - from breads to the fall favorites, pies.
But sadly, most fall festivals instruct people to come as they are, but I suggest that churches have children come in costumes as long as they lay out moral-specific dress codes. For example, they would instruct participants not to wear witch, goblin, ghoul, or any costumes strongly associated with Halloween. Instead, they would wear non-skimpy costumes in the guises of princesses, animals, superheroes, or Biblical characters.
There's nothing in fall festivals that are believed to be pagan there - they include just clean, family-friendly fun!
Some Christians (like most Catholics) celebrate Halloween because it reminds them of their own mortality and commemorates the dead.
For those of you who think it's a pagan holiday, I bet those tips would celebrate a day of wearing costumes without worrying about the occultic overtones. I hope they would be of good use for families who want to stay away from a "devil's holiday" and still keep the costumes that children love dressing up in (it can be store-bought of homemade, as long as it is non-offensive).
Have a safe fall, everyone!