National Costume Swap Day 2017 is on Wednesday, October 11, 2017: Why do British and Irish parents allow their kids to go Trick or Treating?
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 is National Costume Swap Day 2017. logo_web.png National Costume Swap Day
SEAMUSLA, you surprise me with your opinion which is both justified and interesting as well.
I read all your previous answers, especially your "best" answers and it shows me that you are analytical, thoughtful and intelligent, although a bit provincial,as, indeed many of us are.
Being a "human behaviour" buff I'd like your permission to explain your feelings. They deserve to be explained because they are honest and meaningful.
Regarding your question "why do non-Irish want to celebrate St. Patrick;s day?" That's an easy one, as one Irish friend of mine said to me about 80 years ago (I'm 92 now).
He said, " Ron, there are only two kinds of people in the world: those that are Irish and those that wish they were !"
So the answer is, if you were a kid (and we are all kids at heart) and you saw a group of kids having a great time, wouldn't you want to join them?
Who would NOT want to be in a St. Patrick's day parade?
I was in New York City, one 17th of March and as I walked down 5th Avenue watching the thousands upon thousands of celebrants, someone offered me a green hat and a shamrock to pin on my lapel. I took it eagerly and stepped out into the throng. We marched all the way to the Cathedral and later I found myself in one of those Irish pubs with a few of the folks I had marched with. It was like being with lifelong friends. We swapped stories and I told them about my first experience in Dublin at the Hibernian Hotel where the Irish coffee is brought to your table and the waitress pours the cream on top over a silver spoon. Now that's Ireland !
(Would you believe I still hear from two of those nice people at Christmas time.)
Your second question re Halloween is that all countries copy events that appeal to them . The best example I can give you is that in Canada, where I live we actually BUILT a theatre for the purpose of putting on IRISH PLAYS !
Some might say, "why don't we build that theatre for CANADIAN plays or British plays or American plays?"
But NONE of those are ever put on in that building. Instead each year a dozen plays by Sean O'Casey and Bernard Shaw are offered and are immensly popular.
We copy Irish music, Irish food, Irish clothes and last Saturday I was in a bar where two friends and I had a drink of Irish Whisky because it tastes so good. (I also like Glenfiddich and Jack Daniels).
In our city (Kingston) we celebrate many ethnic celebrations, Portuguese is the most colorful of all, Native Indian days are celebrated in our town square and everybody goes and enjoys the music and dance of the native people (who were here 10,000 years before the white man arrived)
Every year I've lived it seems that the world blends its different peoples and cultures into a beautiful melting pot.
The most recent is Oriental. When I was a kid I never saw a Japanese or Chinese person. Now we have 10,000 in our city and here is the most startling fact I can tell you:
Last year more than 100 of our local citizens adopted CHINESE BABIES ! Isn't it wonderful?
Finally your distain for Hallowe'en is shared by lots of people here in America. Some actually hate it. We have friends who shut off all the lights that night to avoid visitors.
BUT the kids seem to enjoy it ! My great grandchildren prepare for weeks and make their costumes more innovative every year. I think they like Hallowe'en as much as CHRISTMAS !!
Thank you for your most provocative question, Seamusla. I wish I could meet you as I think we would enjoy each others company. Keep in touch. (email@example.com)
What do you think about allowing kids in todays world to go trick or treating?
Halloween compromise faith?
By Jody Genessy and Lynn Arave
Deseret Morning News
This weekend, in the spirit of Halloween tradition, people will dress up as all sorts of frightening creatures: ghosts, goblins, witches, devils, monsters, ax murderers, vampires, French maids and Elvis.
Keith Johnson, Deseret Morning News
Halloween decorations light up the night at a yard in Lehi.
With the goal of spooking the bejabbers out of each other (or getting dates to squeeze a little tighter), spooked souls will swap scary stories, stroll through haunted houses, make trips to cemeteries and watch horror flicks.
And before or after all this wicked fun, a lot of them will go to church for their weekly worship, though probably minus the fake blood and the arrows protruding from their skulls.
It's an interesting concept, Christians, Jews and Muslims celebrating a pagan-rooted holiday that's so filled with unsavory and ghoulish customs.
Let the trick-or-treating begin — and with it the debate over whether this is harmless entertainment or an evil sacrilegious ritual for God-fearing folks.
Steve Russo, a co-host of Focus on the Family's "Life on the Edge — Live!" national radio program, wrote a book on the subject, "Halloween: What's a Christian to Do?" For starters, he'd like to dispel one anti-Halloween myth.
"Halloween is not Satan's birthday," Russo said. "People tell me that all the time, and I ask them to show me a Bible verse that says that, because there isn't one. Actually, what the Bible says (in Psalms 118:24) is 'This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.' "
Russo believes Christians can benefit from one of Halloween's most popular activities.
"Some parents think trick-or-treating is wrong, but it offers a unique opportunity to Christians — the ability to meet your neighbors and be a positive influence," he said. "Give out the 'good' candy, set up a table with hot coffee or cocoa for the parents and don't be afraid to talk about the holiday and its meaning."
According to some legends, Halloween was originally concocted in A.D. 835 by Pope Gregory IV. The Catholic Church feted All Saints Day (also called All Hallows Day) on Nov. 1 — supposedly to both honor saints in heaven who didn't have a feast day reserved for them and to turn people away from the pagan holiday, Samhain or the Witches New Year. The partying often started the night before, which became to be known as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween.
The pope might be surprised to learn that jack-o'-lantern carving, bobbing for apples and school costume parades have become part of the annual commercialized event that generates about $7 billion.
Also worthy of friendly fodder, it was on Oct. 31, 1517, when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses for Church Reform to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, kick-starting the Protestant Reformation. Many Christian groups continue to celebrate the day as "Reformation Day."
But for self-proclaimed witches (or practicing Wiccans) such as Tia Bartholoma, 21, of Magna, the revered day marks the celebration of the final fall harvest and gives them a chance to remember those who have died and are passing along to a spirit world. It also gives Bartholoma and her friends a good reason to enjoy each other's company and drink some brew.
"It's a religious holiday for me," she said. "I love it."
That this Halloween happens to fall on a Sunday adds another element to the issue. Some don't mind participating on Saturday but are spooked by the idea of a Sabbath Day secular celebration.
Savannah Memmott, a college student in Cedar City, said her family devotes the Sabbath to godly things like church, not Halloween parties. She believes most Utahns will trick-or-treat Saturday. So does her mom, Leslie, who added: "When it's been on Sunday before, nobody's come to our house."
Some "Bible belt" Christians don't sugar-coat their feelings about Halloween.
Barbara Braswell of Georgia told the Associated Press: "It's a day for the good Lord, not for the devil." And fellow Georgian Sandra Husley believes you just shouldn't trick-or-treat on Sunday. "That's Christ's day. You go to church on Sunday, you don't go out and celebrate the devil. That'll confuse a child."
Pat Robertson, a religious broadcaster and founder of the Christian Coalition, would like to see the United States "close Halloween down," and says children who dress up as witches are "acting out satanic rituals."
The issue escalated in the 1980s, when evangelicals' influence increased in the political arena along with the movement concerning school prayer and abortion, said Charles Haynes, senior scholar for the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va.
"Some evangelical and conservative parents asked, 'If we can't have Jesus in (the schools) in December, why can we have witches and ghosts in October?' They see it as a religious issue, but it does not have much of a legal basis," Haynes told the Chicago Tribune.
"No court is likely to see the secular use of ghost or witch images as a religious imposition. But that does not mean it's right to do it. Halloween has become a big public-relations issue, especially in schools. And districts that have the least problems have learned to compromise."
Some Utah churches are attempting to do that, giving alternatives to the re-paganized festivities surrounding All Hallows Eve.
The Calvary Chapel of Salt Lake City, for example, is holding a "Halloween Tract Outreach" in members' neighborhoods on Halloween night. The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, 1131 S. Main, Centerville, will hold an alternative event to Halloween tonight. This will be a family event, with carnival-type games to raise money for the food pantry.
And last night, Southeast Baptist Church, 1700 E. 7000 South, held another "Fall Family Festival," an evening of games, candy, food and appropriate costumes (no monsters, witches, etc.) that was billed as "a fun, safe Christian alternative to Halloween that's great for the whole family."
The Rev. Mike Gray of Southeast Baptist says it's intended as an alternative, not a replacement, for Halloween and encourages families to attend the festival and then go trick-or-treating if they want. He noted that some people are not comfortable with the history or theme of Halloween, and the festival provides a less scary option.
"We just want to be more positive," he said. "We don't do what we do out of fear. It's a faith thing."
Some wards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have also begun having spook-free fall festivals and "trunk-or-treat" events, allowing kids to safely load up on sweets in a church parking lot by going from car to car. Some LDS members reported on chat site www.nauvoo.com that they dress their children as Book of Mormon characters to stress their belief in this text they revere as scripture.
But other religions embrace the traditional Halloween celebration. The St. James Episcopal Church of Midvale held a Halloween Party on Oct. 23, complete with a "Spook Alley." And First Congregational Church, 2150 S. Foothill Drive, will hold a Halloween Carnival on Sunday from 6:30 to 8 p.m., complete with carnival games and a "Fright Alley."
Despite traces of Christian origins and efforts by some believers, Russo will concede that Halloween today is a much darker holiday than it was 20 to 30 years ago.
"Halloween used to be a children's holiday, but it has gotten darker, and now the day is much more occult-oriented," he said. "There's a lot more emphasis on the devil and adult themes. In fact, it is one of the most popular holidays celebrated by adults, third only to Christmas and New Year's Eve."
Russo stresses that concerned parents can strike a healthy balance.
"Parents need to decide if they're going to celebrate what Halloween has become in our country or participate in an alternative," he said. "Participating in an alternative doesn't mean you are celebrating what Halloween has come to represent in today's culture."
As an example, he said he doesn't believe there is a danger in wearing a costume. "The issue isn't letting your kids dress up. Kids dress up all the time. But what are they dressing up as? Some parents should be more discerning."
More Halloween-related family information is available on the Focus on the Family Web site at www.family.org.
And, of course, it will be easier to navigate the Web site if you take off your Freddie Krueger fingernails first.
The celebration of Halloween on 31 October each year goes back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Indeed this is still the pagan name for the festival that falls around the 31st October, depending on the moon.
There are many different suggestions as to what actually happened on this night, but it appears that many people thought that the barrier between the human world and the supernatural world was broken down.
"Central to the festival of Hallowe'en was the celebration of the dead. The Celtic New Year festival was known as the celebration of Samhain... The eve of November 1st, the day on which the old year died, was a very appropriate time to honour death." - Hallowe'en Treat or Trick, David Porter, 1993, p.24.
This evening has always been associated with the ‘dark side’ and evil supernatural realms but we should not imaging from this that everyone sacrificed babies and the Devil roamed freely and did whatever he wanted to.
In Celtic and Anglo-Saxon times, this was also the eve of the New Year, and bonfires were lit to ward off evil spirits. At other times it was felt that this was a good evening to invoke the Devil's help concerning marriages, health, etc., by means of divination.
"The ancient Celtic (Irish, Scottish, Welsh) festival called Samhain is considered by many to be a predecessor of our contemporary Halloween. Samhain was the New Year's Day of the Celts, celebrated on 1 November. It was also a day of the dead, a time when it was believed that the souls of those who had died during the year were allowed access to the land of the dead. It was related to the season: by Samhain, the crops should be harvested and animals brought in from the distant fields. Many traditional beliefs and customs associated with Samhain, most notable that night was the time of the wandering dead, the practice of leaving offerings of food and drink to masked and costumed revelers, and the lighting of bonfires, continued to be practiced on 31 October, known as the Eve of All Saints, the Eve of All Hallows, or Hallow Even. It is the glossing of the name Hallow Even that has given us the name Hallowe'en The spirits of Samhain, once thought to be wild and powerful, were now said to be something worse: evil. The church maintained that the gods and goddesses and other spiritual beings of traditional religions were diabolical deceptions, that the spiritual forces that people had experienced were real, but they were manifestations of the Devil, the Prince of Liars, who misled people toward the worship of false idols. Thus, the customs associated with Halloween included representations of ghosts and human skeletons -symbols of the dead- and of the devil and other malevolent, evil creatures, such as witches were said to be. - Halloween and other Festivals of Death and Life, Jack Santino, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1994." - Quoted from the Darkside Parlour Web Site.
Mrs. Gloria Phillips of Mobile, Alabama gives further background to this festival in an article entitled "Halloween What It Is From A Christian Perspective."
"The custom of Halloween is traced to the Druid festival of the dead. At that time the Roman Pantheon was built by Emperor Hadrian in 100 A.D. as a temple to the goddess Cybele and other Roman deities. It became the principle place of worship. Roman pagans prayed for the dead. Rome was captured and the Pantheon fell into disrepair. Emperor Phocas captured Rome and gave the Pantheon to Pope Boniface IV in 609. He reconsecrated it to the Virgin Mary and resumed using the temple to pray for the dead, only now it was "Christianized", as men added the unscriptural teaching of purgatory. In 834 A.D. Gregory IV extended the feast for all the church and it became known as All Saint's Day, still remembering the dead."
David Porter also goes on in his book to show that the Druids too regarded Halloween as a sacred time. He quotes on p.26 of his book from The Elements of the Druid Tradition by Philip Carr-Gomm, p.70.
"The Druid rites… were concerned with making contact with the spirits of the departed, who were seen as sources of guidance and inspiration rather than as sources of dread… The dead are honoured and feasted, not as the dead, but as living spirits of loved ones and of guardians who hold the root-wisdom of the tribe."
Many felt that this was also a time when the souls of the dead revisited their homes, therefore the preoccupation with ghosts, demons and the like. This led to many feeling they needed to placate the supernatural powers, especially those controlling nature. Sacrifices of animals, vegetables or maybe even humans were made to this end.
The church wanted to divert the thinking and preoccupation away from these pagan ceremonies and so introduced special services for All Hallows Eve and 1 November, All Saints Day. This effort however has largely failed and to most Halloween evening is still very pagan.
"Hallowe'en today is part of a trilogy of celebrations: Hallowe'en, or All Hallow's Eve (observed on 31 October), All Saints Day (celebrated on 1 November), and All Souls' Day (celebrated on 2 November). Of these the second and third (sometimes referred to together as 'Hallowtide') are festivals created by the Christian church. Hallowe'en however, is a festival whose roots are deep in pre-Christian religion and which in modern times retains much of its pagan symbolism." - Porter, pp.22/23.
We need to be aware that this evening is special to a great number who practice Witchcraft and Satanism. Many witches will give testimony to the fact of what happens at Halloween is very special to them and indeed how much they enjoy it.
You can also notice that every year around the third week of October informative articles by witches begin to appear in local newspapers.
It is an evening where those in Witchcraft gather, and through various means, seek to release supernatural power. The particular 'brand' of Witchcraft will determine where the power will be used to effect. We hear stories that it is directed against churches and families and in a small number of cases this could be true. Nevertheless, whichever way the power appears to be directed, clearly it is not from God and consequently, it is often a night for much evil activity in the spiritual realms as well as on earth.
Halloween has developed over the years. In some countries it is used as a commercial enterprise and in other countries hardly celebrated at all. The fact of the matter is, that whatever the 'outward' signs are, the witches will be using Halloween as part of their celebrations, because of its pagan and occult roots.
As we point out in our various publications on the Occult, there is a vast difference between Wicca - 'White' Witchcraft - and Satanism. Consequently Halloween celebrations will mean different things to different covens, but the link with the occult will be very clear.
"Yet there are much stronger survivals in modern Hallowtide. Ancient rituals are being recited today much as they were a thousand years ago, and gods and spirits are being worshipped who were worshipped in the West before the birth of Christ. Some groups actively worship the devil; others (the majority, in fact) claim to repudiate satanism and to devote themselves to caring for the planet and for their fellow human beings. Some regard Christianity as a recent religion, of little enduring worth; some regard themselves as in amiable co-existence with Christianity; others hate Christianity and would destroy it if they could. For all these, Hallowe'en is a special occasion in a way that other traditional festivals are not." - Porter, p.31.
Whatever the dangers and questions about Halloween a poll in 1999 showed it to be more popular than ever.
"A third of the people surveyed in a new Gallup poll said they believe in ghosts, three times the number who said that two decades ago. One of five said they believe in witches, twice the rate of the late 1970s. Almost nine of 10 people in the new poll said they have no objections to Halloween on religious grounds... Two-thirds of American parents in the poll said their children will go out trick-or-treating, slightly more than in 1978. More than four out of five parents say their children will wear costumes this Halloween... The telephone poll of 1,005 adults taken Oct. 21-24 had an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points." - Associated Press
SCHOOLS, YOUTH GROUPS, ETC.
There has been some turning against the intense celebration of Halloween in schools. Some Local Education Authorities recommend that the subject be kept low-key and others that if it is mentioned, the dangers of the occult realms must also be mentioned. However there are still many who take the opportunity to highlight, sometimes unintentionally, the occultic realms.
Some schools are finding Halloween too scary as the following 1999 newspaper report shows.
"Hallowe'en is being shunned by schools who say it is too frightening for children. Staff at schools such as Gavinburn Nursery in Glasgow have decided not to celebrate the event on October 31 for fears that it will give youngsters nightmares... The nursery is not the only one to take a hard line. The adjoining primary school and some church schools will also give the occasion a miss. St John and St Francis School in Bridgwater Somerset, says the festival is not part of the Christian calendar and therefore not something it marks."
TRICK OR TREAT
This common practice, associated with Halloween, was introduced by the Irish immigrants in America and at first was quite malicious. As it developed down the years it very often turned into harmless pranks. Much today is still harmless, but there is also an element of the destructive and malicious that has come back in.
Many Halloween parties are harmless on the surface and we must not think that demons are waiting to strike at every fancy dress party. However, we do have to realise that again the themes of most of the parties are a preoccupation with the evil supernatural realm.
IN THE CHURCH
This is essential as we approach Halloween. Arrange special prayer times to include:
• Awareness that we are against principalities and powers not people. Seek the Lord to rebuke these powers in your area.
• That there maybe a positive witness of the Lord to teachers, scout troop leaders etc.
• That there will be a lack of involvement of schools, etc., in Halloween.
• Protection of local children.
• That no one is drawn into the occult as a result.
• Many will arrange a night or half night of prayer on the 31st itself.
We do not recommend that Christians just hold a party on the 31st, as this could confuse children into thinking it is a Halloween party. There is scope however to hold a party, that exalts the Lord Jesus and gives a positive message, as well as allowing kids to have fun. Such a time is also an outreach evening and may keep other kids off the streets that night.
First, we do need to have a regular participation in school life. If we just go once a year to complain, then we will often be dismissed as cranks. However, if we have been involved with the life of the school over the year, our feelings are noted more readily. We should not go in as 'raving evangelical loonies' but present a careful argument that shows the possible dangers of Halloween.
Underline the fact that we seek to provide a safe environment for our kids at school and so it is not appropriate to teach our children that experimentation with the occult world is okay.
If however they feel they must talk about Halloween, ask them to also warn of the dangers.
TRICK OR TREAT
Trick or Treat boils down to 'blackmail to prevent vandalism' and we would suggest is not healthy for Christian children to be involved in it. We should also, where possible, encourage our friends and neighbours not to allow their children to do it either. Not only do we have the preoccupation with the occult but also the danger of talking to and taking sweets from strangers. We should also consider how we might frighten some young or old people with gruesome costumes.
The evening might also produce another way of building a bridge to preach the gospel. Take care of the elderly who live alone in your neighbourhood on Halloween.
Understand that it can sometimes be difficult for your children with peer pressure and activities at school, etc. Do take time to explain the dangers to them and not just say 'NO!' It will of course help if there is a Praise Party or similar event being run in your locality.