The time of year when the Halloween/All Hallows Eve posts starting getting dredged up, passed around or published anew. Since imitation is the best form of flattery, let me just say in reference to that last link, "I'm soooo done apologizing for not liking Halloween!" There I said it. I just don't like it. And it's not because I think it's a secret Satanic celebration. It's not because I'm a helicopter mom who doesn't allow her children to move 2 feet away from her without a bike helmet and knee pads on lest someone skin their pwecious wittle knee. It's not because I think I'm a better/holier/truer Catholic for not celebrating it. I promise it's not. Please believe me, friend. We are on the same team, right?
Honestly, I don't like to be scared. I never have and my childhood "friends" can testify to that. (I'm looking at you Stephanie Durocher who used to delight in hiding around corners or behind doors and jumping out at me!) Roller coasters never interested me, spooky houses never even crossed my mind as a fun thing to do and it only took one Freddy Krueger movie to turn me off the whole scary movie genre. And my kids don't like to be scared. They like to be warned when a jump scene is coming up in a movie. They love watching battles but they don't like gore. They like to know where the Halloween section is at the local store so that they can avoid it because it creeps them out and will come back to haunt them at bedtime making their night (and my night) miserable. And frankly, some people, just don't get that or allow for that. They think we are wimps, coddling our girls or raising unmanly/wussie boys. We prefer to call them "gentlemanly" and they can describe for you in detail the differences between the various Gladiators who fought in Ancient Rome. They just don't want to watch Gladiator. Then again, I didn't either... my dad made me and I kept my hands in front of my face the whole time.
I made the Zebra costume and the pumpkin was a hand-me-down.
We tried trick or treating for the first three or four years of having kids and it just never clicked for us. Now, there are other reasons we don't trick or treat that include reasons like a neighborhood with rolling hills and fast driving teenagers, no side walks and very few street lights. But frankly, I know those are just our preferences and not really arguments. But I'm not here to argue about it. I'm perfectly happy to let you go pound on doors, scoop up all the free candy you want and eat it to your heart's content! In fact, I make sure we set out a bowl of candy no matter what we are doing so that we aren't perceived as spoilsports. If the first kid who comes along grabs all of the candy and runs, he's ruined it for everyone else, not me.
|My candy for the neighborhood kids ready to go.|
And it's the GOOD stuff!
Aside... Hallowmas is a real word (it refers to the Mass of All Hallows just like Michaelmas is the Mass of St. Michael and Christmas is the Mass of Christ's Nativity) but there is not and never has been a Hallowmas Triduum! The word "Hallowmas" doesn't even include All Souls Day (which was added later) so how can it be coupled with the secular celebration of Halloween to create a "Triduum"? We are smarter than that, people! Just because someone wrote it on the internet doesn't make it true. /end rant
But it's really no surprise that there is so much bad history behind this holiday since most experts can't even agree on how the traditional American Halloween got started. Yes, Scottish immigrants probably brought over the idea of "guising", dressing up and going house to house performing for treats but that wasn't just an All Hallow's Eve custom.
In our country there are carried on at Christmas time a sport call’d Mummery by the English Borderers and Guisardery by the Scotch. ~Sir Walter Scott, 1826
But it doesn't matter how it got started, it is what it is now. Kids get dressed up in fairy tale or scary tale garb and get to step out into the night (usually with the hand of Mom or Dad nearby) and knock on doors saying "trick or treat" when what they really mean is "Just treats, please!" and it's all innocent good fun and it's relatively easy and one less thing that makes you "weird" because it's something that can be shared and enjoyed with neighbors and friends no matter their political or religious beliefs. Nobody likes feeling like the weirdo all the time.
You'll notice that I am intentionally ignoring all arguments about slutty costumes and freaky weirdos who answer the door with live snakes around their necks because I recognize that those are probably not the majority of the people participating in the kiddie fun.
All I ask is that you all who celebrate Halloween in the traditional American way (because they didn't do it in Europe until we imported it a few decades ago) please ignore the mostly Protestant condemnations of being Satan's spawn. Because, from what I can tell, it's not us, your fellow Catholics who are laying that charge on you. And if it is a fellow Catholic, it's most likely someone from a small group of radical traditionalists. You don't pay attention to them any other time of the year, so why start now? (UPDATE: I have been informed that some fellow Catholics who are not of the the Rad Trad variety are the ones saying that it's a Satanic celebration. Bad history, my friends! It's done so much damage. Don't let it do anymore.)
Oh YES I made that Thomas costume and then gave birth exactly 13 days later!
And that was before I started blogging. I did it just for him.
Just like fireworks on the 4th of July, Halloween is optional. If you want to celebrate it with princess zombies and pirate witches, go for it. Have a blast! But don't bully us for opting out. We promise not to call you Satanists, m'kay? And let's both agree to celebrate the feast day (you choose when you want to start) with just as much gusto and vivacity because that's what's really important, right?
Wow.... The Thomas picture really hammers home how much your smallest fry looks like her big siblings! :)ReplyDelete
I know, right?! But to me, his face has changed so much that he doesn't look like that anymore. I don't know who Cupcake will end up looking like most.Delete
Very well stated! :)ReplyDelete
We're the opposite of you! We started out not celebrating when "Joe" was a baby. I remember out in Boston handing out little prayer cards and one kid was like, "What the heck is this?" So we were that Catholic family back then. : )ReplyDelete
Now it's one of my kids' favorite holidays and I'm the "cool" mom handing out jumbo Pixie Sticks of reparation.
You and I have talked before about this. My kids don't get scared as easily, although last year we watched Archnaphobia for family fun night and Felicity later told me that it FREAKED HER OUT. Woops! I blame Simcha and her review over at NCR. ; )
Live & let live & love love LOVE each other. Stop judging unless, you know, that costume is really, really raunchy.
In truth, what really freaked Felicity out was that her English teacher mom couldn't spell Arachnophobia.Delete
This is really nicely stated. Thank you. Last week, my academically oriented husband made his internet debut on this topic. He wrote his article after reading all the posts you mentioned plus many more, but not finding much at all that supports our own position. He thought articulating our position might help someone out there who thinks the way we do but feels pressure to do otherwise. http://catholicexchange.com/the-mystery-modern-mayhem-of-halloween/ReplyDelete
Little did we know what a torrent of abuse that would unleash! Yikes! The weirdest of all is the accusation that we are like Protestants for wanting to celebrate our holy feasts. lol! Or that he simply wants to be contrary. Or that we don't leave our homes and are anti-evangelizism. I lost followers and people thought he wrote the article because he hates everyone. It got a little ridiculous all the way around. What ever happened to good old-fashioned classical debate? G.K. Chesterton, pray for us! (If you're up there.) Anyway, we have never participated in secular Halloween and our kids are fine and have plenty of costumes, candy, and fun in their lives. And our real friends (who often do things differently) and members of our community don't seem to be bothered by our choices at all. Your kids are adorable, btw.
GK Chesterton....hahahahaha.... Okay hang on. That made me laugh out loud and wake the babies.Delete
Charlotte, well done on this post. We celebrate Halloween and I'm tired for you folks who keep having to defend your position.
Can't we all talk about something interesting now?
And Melody- really? You lost followers over that? People are so weird...
Melody, I read that piece on Catholic Exchange and didn't know he was your husband. Please tell him it was well done. My husband and I opt out of Halloween for many reasons none of which is puritanical. After reading that article and many others I respect including this post that I fully agree with, I finally had to blog about it. It was great to read Halloween from a father and dad's perspective.Delete
Oh my goodness I understand and agree so much!!! I don't like Halloween. I don't have any reason for not liking Halloween--I am ok that it is a secular holiday, that you go around asking for candy, and even that you dress up like a witch or a ghost (and yes lets not mix in costumes that are just an excuse to wear lingerie out of the house.). I just plan old don't like and I don't have any plans this year to participate not out of protest but out of I just plain don't want to.ReplyDelete
Ditto! I couldn't agree more. We have tried the trick or treat thing in the name of being friendly to the neighbors but my then 6you (and 5yo the year before) was completely freaked out by kids in masks--even the unscary ones. WE have reverted to our All Saints' Day eve celebration that we did when we lived in the UK--it includes candy, carved pumpkins, Saint Costumes and even grave stones and the kids love it. That's our plan and we're stickin' to it. :)ReplyDelete
Yes! I don't get the lists that come out this time of year about the top 10 scary movies to watch. I'm still recovering from Alfred Hitchcock's "Birds" and "Psycho" I saw twenty years ago! I just don't find fear entertaining. And I don't like gratuitous ugliness. So I don't like Halloween and haven't encouraged it in our house; although we do take advantage of the marked-down candy the day after! Our area doesn't do a lot of trick or treating since most of the population is on country roads spread out around a small town. A lot of seniors and old-timers live in town and they were getting upset that the kids in the outlying areas (instead of just neighborhood kids) were "dumped" in their neighborhoods on Halloween. It was getting expensive! Many churches and organizations have "safe night out" Halloween events instead. I think what my own kids most remember about this time of year is our annual visit to the local cemetery to pray for the dead on All Souls Day.ReplyDelete
Wonderful post. Just wonderful. We do Halloween, but on a very small scale. My kids grab a costume from the dress-up box and we visit their grand-parents and friends. They like giving out candy to the kids who come through the neighborhood. But it's just a blip on the radar in terms of our celebrations, and I'm always SO glad when it is over and all those horrid decorations get taken down. Can't wait for Friday! And your kids' costumes are so cute!ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing! We did actually make the decision to not celebrate halloween because of the scariness of it and the evil things that do go on. My CCD teacher in high school first told us of the evil things of halloween and it was confirmed on EWTN by Mother Angelica. I don't believe that people who do participate are evil or wrong, but this is a choice my husband and I have prayed about and feel it best for our family. We feel it is best to fast on the eve of All Saints Day and allow our children to dress as saints and celebrate on All Saints Day and to pray for those on All Souls Day.ReplyDelete
My thoughts almost exactly. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Yes! Thank you for writing this. We plan and organize a big All Saints' party every year and I just don't have it in me to do both so for me and where I choose to direct my limited energy, the solemnity has to take precedence. Some of the comments on the Halloween posts are pretty hurtful.ReplyDelete
Signed, Someone who also didn't take our kids to see fireworks this year in lieu of hosting a huge party ;)
See, I dislike Halloween for other reasons. Firstly, I don't understand the appeal of going door to door and begging for candy. It's awkward and it's just plain odd. Secondly, we tell our kids all year long not to take candy from strangers and then this one night of the year we toss all that out the window and it's a free for all of accepting candy from people we don't know. Then, let's talk about the kids who 1. Can't be bothered to say "Trick or Treat" in exchange for free candy and 2. Don't have the words "thank you" in their vocabulary. It irritates me to no end. The funny thing is my kids who do Trick or Treat don't really seem to like it. They complain about having to knock on doors and having to talk to people they don't know, not to mention they don't like getting candy they don't like and won't eat which we then have to hand out in heaping handfuls to other trick or treaters. This year I offered my kids each a bag of candy of their choosing in lieu of begging from neighborhood households and they were happy to take me up on the offer.ReplyDelete
I mostly hate the build up - I am sick of Halloween a full week before Halloween. We do it very small - make our costumes, trick or treat neighbors, hand out candy early when it is mostly little cuties, and then head back to the patio for a fire. I'm nervous because we have friends coming over this year and I need to get kids in bed so we don't totally make a scene at mass Friday morning. I scheduled the All Saints party for after mass, and I feel bad that people are already planning to skip mass and go just to the party, but then I didn't want to do the party on Halloween.ReplyDelete
Good for you! I hate trick or treating. Even before we had a local celebration here, I would just hide candy around the house for the kids to find. It was so much better than taking candy from strangers, bringing it home, and sifting through it to make sure it was safe. How many times have I stared at one of those Tootsie Pops and hated throwing it away but it would be just to east to unwrap it and do something evil to it and then hand it out o unsuspecting kids! So there, I am an overprotective mom too. And all the candy! All the junk! The kids fighting over ti and getting sick on it. Ack.ReplyDelete
I think we are so blessed that Jessica throws a party here locally (when are you moving to Oregon, btw??). Otherwise, I would still be hiding candy around my house, waiting for this day to end, lol.
whoops, should have read it before published, lol. Sorry. :)Delete
You don't drag your kids to fireworks every year? Communist! (me neither)ReplyDelete
Since my hubby does not read your blog, I feel it is safe to confess that I HATE Halloween. The holiday itself in its current form is unbelievably stupid (begging for candy? why do we parents encourage this?) but mostly the time and energy my husband feels is justifiable for costumes worn in the dark for about 2 hours drives me crazy. Details that nobody sees...and worst of all, his perfectionist tendencies have rubbed off on the kids, so they don't like to "make do." But since he loves it, I put up with it.
This was funny... I didn't realize there was such a hubbub, although you are right that there is awful lot of articles out there at this time of year if you go a-searchin'. Of course, I love Halloween; I think it's my favorite next to Christmas. I love dressing up my home in elegant, gothic like black and white items. I only do it the week before though and we've had a spooky adult dinner party for two years now. Then, it's onto All Saints with costumes and parties at school...and then finally, that celebration of All Souls, which now that I have a child born on All Souls and a husband with Mexican heritage -- it all becomes another reason to party and so we do a Day of the Dead party. WoW! It's an awful lot of partying at the end of October here!ReplyDelete
And I did make that faux pas of calling it a "triduum of sorts" -- told that to my kids...although I didn't read it on the internet. I was just thinkin' about it and realized there were three celebrations in a row, making it a sort of triduum, but yes, we are smarter than that (tongue firmly planted in my cheek!) and we do know there is no "real" triduum (as in defined in the Church calendar type of "real"). But I am whole heartedly with you on your main point! There is no reason to judge, have to defend, and make it sound like any of us are any less Catholic. I'm so with you on that. Too much of that thinking going around among us folks who are practicing the faith.
Thank you for your comment, Carla. The biggest problem that I have with the phrase "Hallowmas Triduum" is that triduum is defined as a religious observance. It literally only means "three days" but it has come to mean three days of religious observance. Halloween is not a religious observance, not the traditional way it is celebrated in America these days. It's completely a secular holiday. Which is fine! There is nothing wrong with celebrating a secular holiday. But let's not turn it into something that it's not. For the people who say it's akin to souling for soul cakes, well then, you're doing it on the wrong day.Delete
I tried the other night to give you a quick response only to be kicked out a couple of times. Just wanted to state on this forum that I appreciate your willingness to dialogue and your balance in discussing the faith life. There was a time in which I was rather "narrow-minded" in the sense that I believed there was only "one way" to be living Catholic tradition. I am thankful to God for humbling me and helping me return to a path that I had in college (UD) -- one which allowed for genuine dialogue and healthy disagreement. There is a broad vista in the living out of the truth. I actually enjoy reading differing opinions and challenging my own thinking. So, again, thanks and know that your blog continues to be one that I come back to again and again over time for the balance that is reflected. Cheers!Delete
"it is what it is now." I like this line the best, because it's a reminder that regardless of how it started or what it used to signify or what the practices used to be, we're all free to choose our views on it based on what it IS today. Times change, customs change, and if Halloween changes enough, it's very possible my views many change also :)ReplyDelete