Um…Nope. 10 Reasons We Don’t Celebrate Halloween and 3 Alternatives

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10 Reasons We Don't Celebrate Halloween and three great alternatives

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

We love holidays. All sorts of holidays. We love Advent. We love Lent. We love Christmas and Easter.  We love Passover, Purim, and Sukkot. We love Julia Child’s birthday.

We hate Halloween.  Unless we are behind on our chores you won’t find any cobwebs hanging from our ceilings. You won’t find any ghosts on our porch. No carved pumpkins and no scary movies. If there was a Halloween Srooge, we’d proudly Bah Humbug!

We won’t bore you with the history of Halloween. A quick search on any number of Christian or homeschooling sites will bring you to articles about paganism and/or occult practices. Personally, we don’t feel you have to dig that deeply, though, to dislike the day.  Here are 10 reasons our families conscientiously object, especially to the way in which our American culture observes Halloween:

1. Mercy

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

As Christians we have an obligation to works of mercy. You can find this dogma in Catholic, Orthodox, Methodist, Lutheran, and many other Christian traditions.  Although the lists differ somewhat common commanded works of mercy are to bury the dead and to comfort the afflicted.  No where in the concept of mercy is it permissible to mock the dead or the tormented.  Decorating our homes with corpses and tombstones is unmerciful.

2. Glorification of violence

This world is brutal enough, isn’t it? I mean, 10 minutes of the evening news should probably demonstrate sufficiently that there is violence all around us.  We pray. We light a candle rather than cursing the darkness. We teach our children to be compassionate, kind, and gentle.  Whether it’s an essential part of the holiday or not, this time of year certainly glorifies violence and brutality. Someone on my street has their house decorated with ax murderers.  No thanks.

3. Ooooo, la, la! Sexy costumes….

For a holiday that is billed as fun for the whole family, there are a lot of really offensive costumes!  When did Halloween become “Dress like a prostitute day”? It’s too much.  Between us there are 4 daughters and 6 sons.  And all this does nothing to reinforce the values of self-respect and respect for the dignity of the human person–which includes their sexuality.

 4. Fear Not

“Fear thou not…” Isaiah 41:10

Fear is a negative emotion. And there’s enough of it in the world. Our Lord is the Prince of Peace. It is our desire that our families be perfected in love.  That leaves no place for playing with fear.  “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” I John 4:18

5. “Buy more stuff you don’t need!” –said no conscientious consumer ever. How many times this season have I heard parents bemoaning not being able to fit a fancy Halloween costume in their tight budget? How many blog posts have I seen with tips on how to make Halloween more affordable?  And personally, my grocery budget is already tight. There is no room for bucketfuls of junk food that, quite frankly, we don’t need to be eating anyway.

6. Let’s get high on fructose!

Which brings us to number 6….all that candy. Halloween does not support our goals of clean eating. Artificial colors, artificial flavors, genetically modified ingredients, high fructose corn syrup….the list goes on and on.  It’s not that we don’t eat dessert.  We love dessert.  Especially the kind we make ourselves.  Shelf life–two, three days, tops.

7. Social Irresponsibility. (Yeah, we’re talking about your chocolate….)

Hershey’s and M&M;/Mars alone control two-thirds of the $13 billion U.S. chocolate candy market. The result? An industry marred with child slavery, unsafe working conditions and a cycle of poverty with no end in sight for cocoa farmers. Chocolate companies are not held accountable for sourcing practices, and despite their knowledge about the travesties that occur on cocoa farms, they lack the will to change. (source)

If you care about child labor, human trafficking and slavery, might we suggest you rethink those Hershey kisses and M&Ms? Makes me want to swear, too. Boogers and snot…

The candy our kids are given this time of year is not usually fair trade, equal exchange, and organic. Boogers, boogers, boogers….

8. Trash It!

Think of all the stuff that will likely be going in the trash come November 1: candy wrappers, plastic bags, disposable costumes, jack-o-lanterns, disposable cups, plates, etc.  Such a disposable holiday.

9. Distraction….wait, what were you saying?

November 1, being All Saints Day, is a solemnity to remember the saints–known and unknown.  We all need role models right? I mean, role models aren’t just for children. We need some one to whom we can look and say, “aha! Now there’s an example of the Christian life for me to follow!” Halloween is a huge distraction from taking the time to remember the holy ones who have gone before us.

“…looking at Jesus is like looking directly at the sun: His virtues are brilliant, blindingly so, and they give light to everything else. Looking at the saints is like looking at the moon: They reflect the light of Christ, but in a way that’s a little easier for our imperfect eyes to take in. When we’re striving for holiness and intimacy with God, it helps to look at these little moons – to look at the men and women who faced the same struggles as us and emerged victorious.” ~ Colleen Carroll Campbell quoting Father Robert Barron

10. Coulrophobia.

Clowns are creepy. Need we say more?

So what do we do? Sit home. In the dark. With the lights off. So no one comes to the door begging for candy.

Just kiddin’. We believe in more than cursing the darkness.  We believe in lighting candles.

Not a fan of the “Christian” Halloween parties, because all the above concerns still exist. So instead, here are some ideas for things we have done:

1. Celebrate light.

“Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness. The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared. The light spread until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure.” (A Wrinkle In Time)

Who are the light-bearers?  Take some time to remember them. John the Baptist, Hildegard of Bingen, St. John of the Cross, Blessed Mother Teresa, Clara Barton, Maximilian Kolbe, William Booth, Martin Luther King Jr., and on and on.  Talk about them. Share their stories.  And light all the candles in your house as a reminder to be a bearer of light in this dark world.

2. Sacred Music

This year we have assigned each of our children a different area of Church history to study (from Jewish liturgical music, to Medieval, to the Azusa Revival…)  On October 31 they will share their reports with us and give a sampling of sacred music.  There will also be time for the children to try to compose their own hymn of praise.  Music from David’s harp soothed King Saul and put his demons to flight. Sacred music has always had that power.

3. Love and Mercy

It’s a great day to “come in the opposite spirit.”  Volunteer your time at a soup kitchen, gather donations for the homeless shelter, rake your neighbor’s leaves, deliver flowers to a rest home.  Remember that our primary call as Christians is to love–Love God and Love Others.  On this command hangs all the law and all the prophets.

  1. Love this share! Love everything about it. I grew up with Halloween but never cared for it. Now my husband and I would rather encourage the Solemnity rather than the bizaar holiday. only wish my parents wouldnt take it personally.

  2. I love your list — so interesting to hear all of this! Did you or your husband grow up trick-or-treating? And I’m also curious to know if/how your family might celebrate All Saints Day? We haven’t done much in the past, but I think we should 🙂 

    • My husband grew up in Mongolia, where they do not celebrate Halloween. I did celebrate it a little bit. I think my parents stopped when I was about 9 or 10? I can’t recall. So, I do have a few vague memories of trick-or-treating. My kids have never done it, so they don’t know what they are missing. 🙂

      For All Saints Day we have done various things, depending on the ages of our children and what we felt up for. This year our homeschool group will be having some sort of All Saints celebration. So, we are looking forward to that. In my old parish (before I moved East) the Missionaries of Charity would have an open house and invite the children to dress up as their favorite saints. Isn’t that great?!

  3. Jan Davis - November 26, 2014

    Enjoy reading your posts

  4. Great post pinned it!! Trish

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