A photo of a pumpkin patch

Keep Christ in Halloween, Not Just Christmas

Hocus Pocus…

Pumpkin Spice Latte…

Harvest moon, hayride, and of course, Halloween!

Every year, millions of Americans participate in the pagan ritual known as Halloween, which originated from an ancient Celtic festival. Prior to the spread of Christianity to modern day Ireland and the United Kingdom, the Celts believed that the day before their New Year, November 1, was the day that the world of the living and the world of the dead coincided, and spirits of the dead could visit the earth. People would disguise themselves in scary costumes in order to hide from the “ghosts” of the dead. 

Eventually, around 600 A.D., the ritual was evangelized and given a new meaning as All Saints Day. In the western church, the day after Halloween, November 1, is known as the feast of All Saints. The Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of all saints on the first Sunday after Pentecost.  Looking at the origin of the word Halloween, “hallow” means holy or saint and “een” refers to eve. October 31st therefore became known as the eve of All Saints. 

As with every holiday, our secular culture tends to pick and choose what we find to be the most desirable parts of a celebration while neglecting the true meaning. Throwing a party, dressing up, eating candy, and decorating our homes don’t sounds bad. On the contrary, these are pleasant things and should be celebrated as long as we adhere to the calling of the Church and commend ourselves and each other all our life unto Christ our God. 

Many have become a product of a consumerist ritual where a big portion of expenditure is used for elaborate costumes, decorations, and an abundant amount of candy. In 2018, Halloween sales reached $9 billion. Halloween has become a money making industry in the twenty-first century, where schools, local community organizations, and all forms of entertainment and social media share in and capitalize upon the festivities of Halloween. 

What was once a pagan festival to the dead, the Church transformed into a festival for the living. In the Lord’s Prayer, Christ Himself tells us to consecrate His name as holy (“hallowed be Thy name”). Everything we do in our lives should reflect the light of Christ to the world. Our Mother, the Church, gives us a way to keep Halloween—what the Church knows as the Eve of All Saints—Christ-like. 

So dress up for Halloween, trick or treat, and yes, eat lots of candy! But instead of filling the day portraying evil with ghosts and demons, fill it with the lives of the saints, fellowship, and yes, a party! 

Let us imitate all the saints everyday of our lives by praying, by being strong in our faith, and by being a witness to Christ who is always in our midst.