When Did Halloween Become a Four-Letter Word?

I've always enjoyed Halloween. When I was younger (about 4, maybe 5), my dad made me a dragon costume, complete with a beautiful papier-mâché helmet/mask thing that was absolutely fantastic. I got dressed at home, did some trick-or-treating, and then went to church for a Halloween party. Yes, a for real Halloween party, at the church. Not a fall harvest festival or any other sort of euphemistic Halloween gathering. One year, we even went to my Grandparents' church and I bobbed for apples, there were fake cobwebs and people dressed as dead things. There was a big banner that spelled out "Happy Halloween", with black and orange crepe paper streamers and everything. We played games and had a pinata full of candy, and made crafty things. We drank punch, and ate candy and shortbread cookies, and shouted boo at each other. There was even a cheesy award for best costume.

But then something happened. About fifteen years ago. The party got pooped. All of a sudden someone forgot the fun and decided Halloween was bad. Church-goers were encouraged not to celebrate Halloween because of its pagan roots. Does that mean that all those who had previously celebrated Halloween were in the wrong? Were pastors leading their flocks astray? Did scores of young trick-or-treaters later become unabashed, Satan worshiping, blood orgy enthusiasts? Or had Halloween evolved from a pagan celebration of the dead to a great excuse to get together, dress silly, and have a good time? I just can't help but think of the pumpkin picking (and carving) and silly Halloween games that gave family and friends one more reason to get together and do something fun; things that another generation may be missing out on. Why couldn't it be left at that?


Anonymous Nat said...

When I was just home my mom informed me of a Halloween Party they threw at the church this year. I'm not sure which pc limitations they put on it, this is the church that wouldn't allowed Harry Potter to be shown for a family movie night, but the point is they did something...with costumes. I was quite surprised : )

11:24 AM  

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