Let your kids have Halloween

Justin Kollmeyer's picture

I love Jesus. I hate the devil. I am guided by the Bible. I want to stay away from evil. I want what’s best for our children. I will protect them whenever, wherever, and however possible and necessary.

Can I get an Amen to that? (See, you good Baptists are rubbing off on me in lots of appropriate ways.)

With all that said, I need to tell you what I think about Halloween. As the title above says, Let your kids have Halloween. With a few qualifications. Let me explain.

Do you know the history of Halloween? Here’s the way I understand it in very simplified and broad terms. The ancient church developed a calendar with special feast and holy days. Many of those are still observed in our time by what we call liturgical churches: Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and others.

One of these holy days, by human designation, is All Saints’ Day, also called All Hallows (holy) Day celebrated every Nov. 1. The purpose of this celebration is to remember the faithful departed, all the saints in heaven redeemed and given eternal life through Jesus Christ.

In ancient times, it was believed that on this day the souls of these sainted ones actually returned to be closer to their loved ones who remained on earth. This is not a biblical reality, but it was a nice thought nonetheless.

In response to this day when the good spirits rule, there was an ancient misbelieve that on the night (evening) before All Saints’ Day, Oct. 31, the evil spirits would come out and show themselves, definitely not a biblical reality. In ancient terminology this was called All Hallows Eve (just like Christmas Eve means the night before). Then All Hallows Eve became shortened to Halloween. Unfortunately, there were wayward people who celebrated the supposed presence of bad spirits on this night.

Again, in accentuated broad strokes, when these days and their interpretation and accompanying customs came to America, Halloween evolved into a two-fold understanding: one was a continuation of the ancient misguided superstitions of the dark-side; but the second understanding shifted the emphasis to merely a children-dressed-up-in-fun-costumes-and-eating-candy-holiday.

So, I say, let the kids have Halloween with this strong qualification: Teach it, celebrate it, control it, and have fun with it only with the emphasis of costumes and candy and fun. I have found it not at all difficult to do it this way. I have found it easy to explain it to my children in such a way that they have no misunderstanding of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I have found it a time for family fun and closeness, and have never been worried that my children would slip over to the dark side in any way or fashion whatsoever.

Does it take some intentionality? Yes. Does it take strong parental control? Yes. But can it be a fun family festival in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and even in our churches? Sure. I actually find celebrating Halloween in this way a microcosm of the whole of life here in this world — living life with joy and thanksgiving to our Creator and interpreting it as a life of faith lived in a fallen world. Is that a great teaching moment, or what?

So I say, make a simple rule against witches costumes and grotesquely scary masks. Then make it fun to find or figure out a good costume, grab a large bag or plastic pumpkin, play some games, gather some candy, knock yourself out.

But maybe most importantly, stick together as a family and talk about what this holiday actually means to you and your family. Then it will be a great day for years to come.

Oh, by the way, at Prince of Peace we’re going to celebrate Halloween by having a “Pumpkin Patch” right here at the church from now until the end of the month. It’s a win-win. You and your family can come by and purchase your Halloween pumpkins, and all proceeds go to missions, some as far away as New Mexico, others closer to home that our church youth will undertake. I hope you’ll come.

Kollmeyer is Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Hwy. 314 in Fayetteville, between Lowe’s and The Pavilion. He invites anyone without a church right now, or anyone “seeking God” to come to Sunday worship at 9:15 (Contemporary), or 11:15 (Pipe Organ). “Classes” for all are at 10:20. For more information log on at www.princeofpeacefayette.com or call 770-461-3403.

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Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 2:59pm.

"Do you know the history of Halloween?...The ancient church developed a calendar with special feast and holy days....One of these holy days, by human designation, is All Saints’ Day, also called All Hallows (holy) Day celebrated every Nov. 1. The purpose of this celebration is to remember the faithful departed, all the saints in heaven redeemed and given eternal life through Jesus Christ."

No, you're wrong... Your version of the history of Halloween does not tell about the true origins of Halloween only that the "church" reworked Halloween into a more palatable concoction of stories, injecting Jesus Christ into the mix, so pagans/Celts/Druids could be accommodated into the new Christian religion.

The origins of Halloween actually date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1st, which symbolized the end of summer and the beginning of the long, cold winter. On the night before the New Year, on October 31st, they believed that the "veil between the spirit world and the living" was thinnest on this day and that ghosts returned to the earth and would cause trouble, even damaging crops and hopes for a good harvest for the next year.

"....misguided superstitions of the dark-side..." "never been worried that my children would slip over to the dark side..."

A lot of "dark-side" talk, but yet it's still okay to celebrate this pagan holiday? So... play with the "dark-side" just try not to slip over to the dark-side itself? You mean, you can do both? Careful here, Pastor, you don't want to be conjuring up any creepy demons by participating in Halloween. Eye-wink

"So I say, make a simple rule against witches costumes...."

Just don't dress up like a witch? How about dressing up like a Christian symbol, like The Devil? Is that okay? Maybe not.

What are the rules again, I'm confused... Can I dress my dog up like a witch: EVIL DOGGIE

How about my ferret: EVIL FERRET

Where do you draw your religious line with costumes? (just curious) And why NOT witch costumes? Will the little ones self-combust if they put it on or will their eyes glaze over like Regan's in the Exorcist? Shocked

Good try though, trying to quell the fear of Halloween that is still ingrained in some people. But witch costumes? Come on Pastor, follow us into the 21st century and leave those silly superstitious beliefs in the past regarding witches, wizards, ghosts and goblins.

Oh, and Christmas and Easter were originally pagan holidays too. Boo!


Submitted by USArmybrat on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 10:33pm.

Halloween, the start of my favorite time of year, has an abundant, diverse, and interesting history.There are so many traditions and sayings that come from this history. And, she is correct that Christmas and Easter have their "beginnings" as pagan holidays. There has been a definite mingling of the pagan and Christian traditions in all three. I love Halloween and this time of year! And I will again be a "witch" as I attempt to scare the ones coming for my treats! I LOVE this time of year...if only there wasn't this ELECTION that is ruining it for me!

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 12:03am.

...how can we ever have a heated debate again if you agree with me on some issues? Eye-wink

Maybe, just maybe, after the election, many of us could possibly find a lot of common ground on things.

Our glasses really are half full, don't you think...

dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 2:41am.

Agreed. I can't wait for the election to be over so we can all move on to conversation more congenial. Check out my post below on Witchcraft and Wicca. See....even a Republican minded individual can have some intelligence.Smiling Smiling

Submitted by jettstream on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 9:41pm.

You made me laugh so hard. You know all about Halloween. That is why you are trying to make everything Christian seem wrong. We do live in the land of the free.

BTW I don't think my church or other Christian Churches would be afraid of you casting a spell on us. LOL! That is because you don't know much nor care to about the Bible. You can't cast a spell on a Christian.

As a fact you don't know about Halloween at all.

I choose to celebrate Fall Harvest Day, yeah that's what some of us call it. I give candy or a small toys to kids that come to my house that night. I just love the kids.

I would never let my child dress up as something that was evil. That is not what we celebrate. Some people this is the night of evil. That is a huge topic that is still going on today.

Why did you take such offense to a Pagan Holiday?

I always took my child to churches for our Fall Fun Day. You should try one, it's lots of fun for the entire family. I didn't see any witches there. We took my child's friends with us and they always wanted to go the following years.

Christmas and Easter would never be a Pagan holiday. A topic that you don't know anything about. Honestly, do you come up with these wacky things for attention. Do you get your ideas from BOO BOO?Eye-wink

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 11:55pm.

"I would never let my child dress up as something that was evil. Some people this is the night of evil."

The costumes aren't evil.

Halloween is fun so unclench your biblical keister for a change.

You make Jesus cry.

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 5:13pm.

Who has the right to determine what is a symbol of "evil"? Do any of us lowly humans have that right?

I thought that so called "pagan" religions really celebrated the earth and nature.

What are some of the thoughts from the blogger community?

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 5:02pm.

Stop by the Church. I'll pick out the biggest pumpkin for you and it will be my treat!! Eye-wink

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 7:04pm.

....but can we wear our witch costumes?

(btw - is this a trick to try and convert me with a magic pumpkin?)Eye-wink

Submitted by Bonkers on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 7:20pm.

I think there are certain areas of town where witch costumes, sheets, and masks are taboo!

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 7:13pm.

I'll be in my cycling attire and that's really bad for this fat boy. Smiling As for the pumpkin thingy; well no, I think we already discussed that. My offer still stands though.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 2:02am.

Finally, a conversation in which my area of expertise is relevant. That would be ancient cultures. As an art historian, one must be knowledgeable in many areas: art, history, anthropology, archeology, philosophy, AND theology (I also studied foreign language, cartography, and english lit.). For example, to study art of the Early Christian period or the Renaissance you must have a grasp on biblical text. To study any culture you must understand the economic and religous impacts that cause any culture to be and perform in the unique way that defines that culture.

Now, I must side with Mainstream in this arguement between fact and fallacy. She is absoulely correct in stating that many modern Christian holidays and practices are most definately rooted in paganism - more modernly called neopaganism or wicca. Skyspy is also correct in stating that wicca is an earth based theology which does not practice in casting evil spells. The wiccan rede is as such: Bide the witches law ye must,
In perfect love, in perfect trust.
Eight words the wiccan rede fulfill:
And harm ye none, do what ye will.
What ye send forth comes back to thee
So ever mind the rule of three.
Follow this with mind and heart,
Merry ye meet, and merry ye part.
This is the wiccan Law of Return much like the Christian premise of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Now to anyone who asks if I am wiccan let me go ahead and answer no. That is a process that takes a year and a day of study in herb craft, divination, etc.. I, like I've stated before, simply have many interests and enjoy studying such things - I like knowledge. I would be remiss if I did not add that in no way is satanism a part of the wiccan pantheon. Rather the universe is a balance of positive and negative forces much like taoism.

Now, to discuss the transformation of sabbats into Christian holidays it is imperative to know the history and the transition between the fall of Rome and the rise of the Papacy as world powers. We all recognize that the Pontificate is the most powerful force in the world today, more powerful than any state government. The papal rise to power could not have endured had it not lessened its stringent ideas to incorporate those who remained tethered to the principles of pagan Rome.

The desire to revere capricious pagan gods survived the fall of Rome in 410 b.c. to Aleric and the renewal of Rome as a Christian Empire under Constantine. Christianity was still infiltrated by paganism on every front whether it be from pagan Romans or the multitude of "barbarian" tribes (Goths, Celts, Saxons, etc.) that now permeated the Empire.

Medieval men simply could not part with their gods like Thor, Hermes, Zeus, Saturn, and so forth. Idol worship filled a need that the church could not meet - one of tolerance, particularly sexual tolerance an area in which the papacy was quite rigid in its expectation of chastity and premise that sex was not for enjoyment but for procreation alone.

So, to invite more converts, the church had to realize that concessions had to be made. Christian churches were built on the foundations of pagan temples, patron saints replaced patron gods, and pagan holidays were expropriated by the church. Pentecost supplanted the holiday of Floralia. All Soul's Day replaced the festival for the dead (the wiccan holiday of Samhain). The feast of Isis (remember Egypt had long fallen under Roman controll with the deaths of Cleopatra and Marc Antony) was transformed into the Feast of the Nativity. Saturnalia became Christmas and the resurrection of Attis became Easter.

By this time no one really knew the exact day of Jesus' birth and his birthday was first observed by Roman Christians circa A.D. 336. Apparently at random, the Empire picked January 6 as the birthday of the savior, but was later moved to December 25 for reasons unknown. Now, for Easter, the early Christians celebrated Easter every Sunday but later linked Easter with the Passion in which in was scheduled on the Passover - Jewish feast celebrating the Exodus. Finally, circa A.D. 325, the First Council of Nicaea scheduled Easter to fall on the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox. The vernal equinox is also a sabbat in the wiccan tradition, Ostara, in which spring flowers and other trinket gifts were gathered into baskets. The Saxon goddess Eastre - goddess of fertility - also had a festival amoung the pagans in which eggs (a symbol of fertility)were painted in spring colors and used in games during the festival. Rabbits were also seen as symbols of fertility - ever hear the saying "---- like rabbits".

Christmas is another holiday with pagan roots. December 21 - the winter solstice - is the wiccan or pagan holiday of Yule. In Roman times it was also referred to as Juvenillia (for juvenile) as it was a holiday that celebrated children. Gifts were given by the departing Holly King as he rides his solar sleigh pulled by the eight pagan sabbats personified as reindeer through the sky on Yule Eve. The Holly King was also called Old Nick by the pagan Norse, later becoming the christian Saint Nicholas.

In summary, should you allow your little ones to dress as witches for Halloween? That is your call as a parent, but truly a witch no more personifies evil than a black cat. The modern icon of the witch as an old hag is resultant of medieval hysteria in a world that sought superstition to explain what they could not understand. And, when you place presents under the tree this Christmas you are not embracing the Holly King - in your heart you are celebrating the birth of the Holy King. Come Easter, feel free to give your little angels a basket of treats from the Easter Bunny and know that you are celebrating the resurrection, not Ostara.

Now, to anyone who wishes to dress like a witch this Halloween, consider dressing in more traditional witch wear - skyclad (that would be nude).LOL

Merry we meet, Merry we part

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 12:11pm.

An informative read... thank you for posting that!

You seem to have a very healthy grasp on the ancient and modern religions. Educating ourselves is the best way to break free of superstition and fear that still pervades our society.

I've enjoyed reading your posts.

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