O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

Random Thoughts about Halloween

Seven random thoughts about Halloween:

1. In my family, we grew up pronouncing it “HAL-oween.” The hal rhymes with “pal.” Lots of my friends and family joined us in that pronunciation. But I knew a lot of others from this area who pronounce it “HALL-oween.” The hall rhymes with “ball.” So it’s not a regional thing, but a very clear difference in pronunciation from family to family. The dictionary supports both pronunciations. I have no idea why people say it differently. How do you say it?

2. I think it’s really curious how more and more churches are offering Halloween-alternative “fall festival” types of celebrations at churches. These are events in which kids can dress up and receive candy in “a safe environment.” But churches are always very careful not to suggest that this is a Halloween event, because they don’t want to attach it in any way to what they view as a possibly evil observance. Right. Having children dress up and receive candy on October 31 clearly has no connection to Halloween whatsoever. Very stealthy, Church.


3. My church is having a Halloween-alternative event in which kids dress up and receive candy. But we are publicly identifying it as a “Halloween Carnival.” So take that. (I may have had some influence on this…)

4. One time, around 6th grade or so, I dressed as a flasher for Halloween. Wore shorts, no socks, and my dad’s beige trenchcoat. I went trick-or-treating this way, and it was windy and about 40 degrees that night. I was really cold, and gained a newfound respect for flashers. If you look past the perversion, those are some tough dudes.

5. I can’t believe my parents let me dress up and walk around the neighborhood as a flasher.


6. Back to the Fall Festivals. Lots of them come with a disclaimer: No scary costumes. Having never attended one of these events, I’ve always wondered how this was enforced. Do you put a bouncer at the door to turn away the guys in Michael Myers masks? Or the kid wearing this rotting-face child zombie costume? What if the bouncer suffers from a bunch of irrational fears, like coulrophobia? Does he then turn away the kid innocently dressed as a clown? My son, Owen, is going to be a ninja for Halloween. In some cultures — namely, 15th-century feudal Japan — this would have been quite scary. Will he be turned away at the door? Would Rev. Jerry Falwell (God rest his soul) have turned away this kid?


7. As far as holidays go, Christmas borrows as much pagan symbolism as Halloween. Trees, holly, stockings, gifts, mistletoe, even the December 25 date — all these have partially pagan origins. I’m just sayin.’


You have random thoughts about Halloween, too. What are they? Let’s discuss what we love, get annoyed by, and have noticed about the holiday.

Comments read comments(14)
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posted October 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm

1. My family pronounces it "Day of the Haints." My family is from the 19th century south.2. As I tweeted, my church is upfront about its Halloween festivities. We call it our "Fall Harvest…OF THE ROTTING UNDEAD"3. I admire your church's honesty and lack of guile in calling it a Halloween Carnival. I hope you're prepared for the protesters.4. One year, when I was 10 or so, a friend and I dressed up as girls for Halloween. Yep. Just went in drag. The thing is, we were unaware of any symbolism or social statements attached to such an act. We just figured, we're dudes, so dressing up as girls is in the Halloween spirit of "being something you're not for a night." Some teenagers drove by and yelled bad names at us.5. I also can't believe my folks didn't try to stop me from prancing about the neighborhood in my mother's sarong. It's as though our parents were hoping we'd learn some sort of hard lesson.6. The "no scary costume" church rule is indeed vague. I went one year as Job, complete with sores. It was scary, but Biblical. I won a gift certificate to Denny's.7. Thanks, The Pagans!

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posted October 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Actually Halloween was invesnted by the Puritans, making it the only pure Christian holiday left. It falls aproximatly near the Wiccan Samhain festival but it's unrelated. The Puritans believed in the witches that flew over the towns on bromsticks and dressed like witches on the eve of All Saints Day so the 'real witches' would think their towns were occupied. That way they'd in in peace for their day of fasting and prayer on November 1st. All Hallows Eve eventually was shortened to Halloween.

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posted October 28, 2009 at 4:36 pm

When I was in grade school (early 60s) I once dressed up as an Avon sales lady in black face for Halloween. That sounds like a scary thing for a small boy to do these days. It seemed funny back then.Then Garner Ted Armstrong got me to thinking about how Christians incorporated pagan traditions into many holiday celebrations. I converted to Messianic Judaism and refuse to participate in paganistic rituals within any context of Christian belief or practice.I just celebrate them for what they are, a pagan ritual based on pagan beliefs and history.

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Rachel H. Evans

posted October 28, 2009 at 7:16 pm

1. Every kid knows that "alternative" fall festivals are awesome because if you hit them AFTER trick-or-treating you end up with twice the candy. 2. Around here, local churches host "Judgment Day Houses" during the Halloween season. These walk-through dramas usually include three scenes: the first, (in the church sanctuary), depicts a group of teenagers who get into a fatal car accident after prom; the second (in the church basement, where the thermostat is turned up and strobe lights flash) depicts the fate of the teens who weren't "saved" and must face eternal damnation for their sins; the third (bank in the church sanctuary, which is draped in white sheets) depicts the fate of the "saved" teens who are greeted by Jesus and told "well done, my good and faithful servant." It's essentially a Christianized haunted house…I thought you'd get a kick out of that, Jason!

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Dan Lewis

posted October 28, 2009 at 8:18 pm

The church I attend has a celebration called "Hallelujah Night"…ugh. Honestly though, it's a pretty cool set up. They have games for the kids, hayrides, inflatable bouncy things for the kids to jump in and of course plenty of candy. The entire town and surrounding towns are invited to come hang out and they usually do. One year we had a booth set up which was supposed to be palm readings and messages, but they put the whole Christian spin on it and made it psalm readings and hand massages. Yes, one person would read from the book of Psalms while the other person massaged your hands with hand lotion…….I'm not making this up.

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posted October 28, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Our church does this thing called "Trunk or Treat" where all the vehicles are backed up around the parking lot and the kids just "trunk or treat" rather than going from house to house. We decorate the trunks and truck beds. Kids walk away with loads of goodies. Wish they did that when I was a kid.

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the J in PJs Til Noon

posted October 28, 2009 at 10:04 pm

This distancing ourselves from Halloween is fairly recent (like last 15 or so years) in my experience. I'm 34 and I never went to a Harvest Festival. Our church had a Haunted House to raise $ (IN THE CHURCH!) when I was a kid. I got to hang out underneath Dracula's coffin (real coffin) and grab people's feet as they came up to look. And Dan, the Psalm reading…still laughing.Glad to see other Halloween Evangelists among Evangelicals. I just made that up.

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posted October 29, 2009 at 9:44 am

I think it's awesome how God takes things that are sinful (like paganism) and turns it into something innocent (like kids getting candy) and wonderful (like Christmas trees). I think it sucks when people try to ban/protest things just because sometime a long time ago it may not have been Christian. By this logic, arenas should be outlawed because Christians were fed to lions in them.I would absolutely let my kids dress up as something they'll regret later. Those are the stories that come in handy when they start dating.

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posted October 30, 2009 at 12:24 pm

In one of my writing classes today we read essays that we had written about the effect of Halloween/The Reformation/All Saints' Day has on our faith. About half of my class (I go to a Christian university) said that their parents wouldn't let them celebrate Halloween growing up. Only one girl said she wouldn't let her kids celebrate Halloween (when she grows up).I wonder how much of this argument is a generational thing.

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Dromedary Hump

posted October 30, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Husker said:"I think it's awesome how God takes things that are sinful (like paganism) and turns it into something innocent (like kids getting candy)"Uh… I must be reading this inc0orrectly. It reads as though god invented trick or treat. Did anyone see Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network blog staffer who posted an article on their site that said:" [M]ost of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches," "I do not buy candy during the Halloween season. Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference." They took nthe blog off of CBN site, but not before Google cached 9it, and every news blog reported on it. I guess even crazy Pat realized how crazy it sounded.heres the whole article:

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Dromedary Hump

posted October 30, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Joni…Actually, halloween had nothing to do with the Puritans, except that they forbid it's observance.It's roots predates the Puritans by over 1500 years in Celt and Druid practice.

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Wally Chavez

posted November 1, 2009 at 11:18 pm

My son attended a youth ministry service in which the students were encouraged to wear costumes of "biblical" characters to the Fall Festival on Halloween. A fellow student whispered to my son, "the devil is a biblical character". lol

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Tess Mallory

posted November 3, 2009 at 1:11 am

To Shueytexas — Thank you for the best laugh I've had in days. "Fall Harvest…of the ROTTING UNDEAD!" Priceless.Thoughts on Halloween:1. In Texas, we say "Howluhween" no kidding.2. When our kids were little and we were extremely legalistic, we only went to Fall Festivals. I always thought they should be held on Nov. 1st to disassociate from the EVEEEL Halloween connotation. And don't kid yourself, whoever commented on the bouncers for Fall Festivals (maybe Jason?) any kid showing up with a scarey or ghoulish costume would have been shown the door forthwith!!3. I regret my kids didn't get to have fun on Halloween like I did growing up in the 60s, before crazies put razor blades in apples and made us have to depend on the Fire station to xray them to make sure they were okay. Why is it that the crazies have only come out in the last thirty years? Weren't there any crazies before that?4. I loooooved to dress up for Halloween. When I was a teen, my older sister started having Halloween parties. When I became a fundamentalist, I guess she knew we were too pious for such things, and she was right. I wonder why she never wanted to visit our church much? 5. My mom loved to dress up and hand out candy. I wish she was still here to do that. 6. My 4 year old granddaughter, Mackenzie was born on Halloween. We called her our "boo baby". When I tell some Christians her birthday is Halloween, they visibly stiffen and look at me as if they want to ask if she's perhaps possessed by the devil. She isn't. Although she does get this look in her eyes sometimes …7. Separate from Halloween, but along the same lines of thinking — when our kids were little, we didn't allow them to watch anything with a witch in it, even Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Now I think about that and wonder — what was I thinking? The witch in Snow White is EVIL! Wouldn't that have showed children the bad side of witches? They couldn't watch Smurfs either because there was a warlock in it and rumors that the creator was a Satanist. I'm not sure my kids ever forgave me for that. Are all Christians idiots when they have little kids? I sure was. Interesting that I went on (after I lost my Piety, a little at least) to become good friends with a woman who declared herself a witch, but who ended up a Jesus-believing Episcopalian. She still loves Halloween though.8. My "L" cap on my keyboard just came off, probably proving that by even talking about Halloween, I am allowing the forces of evil to enter my computer, therefore, I will cease and desist. Happy Fall Festival of the Rotting Undead, Ya'll!!

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Angelia Sparrow

posted November 4, 2009 at 4:14 am

Your visiting pagan is laughing herself silly.Having the party on Nov 1 puts it RIGHT ON Samhain. The Celtic day, like the Jewish one, starts at sundown, so Samhain starts at sundown Oct 31 and runs all day Nov 1.I grew up fundamentalist. The anti-Halloween sentiment really got going in the 80s, as I recall.As I said elsewhere, pagans make up about 1.2% of the US population (wiccans are about half of that) and that's a LOT of candy. Someone forgot to invite me to the praying party, so there are hell-spawned tootsie rolls that aren't going to measure up this year. We enjoy Halloween, even if it is Christian. The kids get costumes and go trick or treating. We observe Samhain with our church, a service of remembrance for the loved ones who have died this year. It's the most solemn holiday of the year, a time for remembering and letting go.

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