Mean Girls represented it, Hocus Pocus represented it and well the religious – they just resented it!
In the true spirit of Halloween and dressing up in costumes, Gretchen Wieners once asked Karen, “What are you?”
Karen replied, “I’m a mouse, duhh!”
Standing between Fall and Summer, attempting scares and jumps, thinking of life and the dead, Halloween is the time for celebrations and superstitions.
Since before any of us can remember, Halloween has always been the time of year when people dress up in spooky costumes, go to parties and (best of all) get good scares out of innocent civilians. We celebrate the spooky, embrace the gross and gory and go out of our way for a fright.
After all the kids are done trick or treating and the adult Halloween party is just getting started, the more sinister meaning of Halloween takes its place. Ever seen Hocus Pocus? It’s kind of like that. The innocent children go out to trick-or-treat and the adults party at an old haunted mansion, whilst the Sanderson sisters mess around with unearthly powers to scare the weak.
There are generally two types of people when it comes to Halloween: those who go all out and those who loathe it with every fibre of their being.
Dating back to the eighth century, it all began when Pope Gregory the 3rd designated the 31st of October as a time to celebrate all the saints and believers. This time became known as ‘All hallows Eve” meaning the evening before ‘All hallows Day’.
The classic Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating is represented by the All Souls’ Day parade in England. During these festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called soul cakes in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The idea of dressing up in quirky costumes was represented by both European and Celtic roots, where they believed that unearthly spirits would roam the Earth on Halloween. So to avoid being seen by one outside, they would wear masks to cover their faces.
Since I was a kid, the one thing my parents taught me was that Halloween was not a holiday I would be allowed to celebrate. To us, it was just the 31st of October – another date in the year.
I envied children my age who were allowed to roam the streets collecting sweets, dressed up in different Halloween costumes and attending themed parties.
My parents always came across as very stern when it came to this topic, mainly because they didn’t like all of the satanic and evil connotations that hid behind it, even though they knew all the ‘spooky’ and ‘ghostly’ happenings weren’t real.
Growing up in a Christian household and growing up a Christian, my parents despised anything relating to the devil and you probably guessed it! Halloween in their definition is, “celebrating the devil and all that is bad”.
I clearly remember the day I dressed up as the witch from the Wizard of Oz for Halloween dress up for Book Week. Going to a Christian school, I was rejected and told to immediately return home and change into a costume that didn’t signify the devil or anything evil. Immediately I felt angered by the solid fact that I wasn’t attempting to disrespect my school or God, I was aiming to have a good day and dress in character to match my friends.
Since that day, the pictures taken always looked strange. I mean what’s the Wizard of Oz without the ugly witch!
Now a young adult, I look back and realise all the hardships and endless quarrels with my parents about going to Halloween parties with my friends and going trick-or-treating was so pointless. Halloween has now become so overly advertised that people don’t even understand the true meaning of it. Believe me, I would have loved to go to one or two parties and experience the “Halloween scene” but now it all seems so meaningless to me.
I respect my parents for sticking to their beliefs and informing me of those beliefs. Now being grown up and looking back through the years, I realise all the hype about Halloween, all the cobwebs and spiders hanging on the doors and bricks of the homes along my street was all insignificant.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good scary film or a jump scare but for myself, religious or not, Halloween is just another day in the 365 days in a year.
At the age of six, seven and eight, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why my parents wouldn’t let me have all the Halloween fun that all my friends seemed to be having. All I knew was that they were having the time of their lives going to parties and planning costumes and trick-or-treating expeditions and I wasn’t.
I came home every year and begged to be allowed to go trick-or-treating (just this once) and got the same disappointing response. All I wanted was to join in and dress up. What harm could there be in that? I loved costumes and playing pretend more than anything as a child and being told that on the one night everyone else was doing it too, I couldn’t was a terrible injustice as far as I was concerned.
I recently asked my parents what it was about Halloween that they’d been so firm on keeping my younger sisters and I away from and I have to admit some surprise when I heard their response. Being actively involved in churches and the Christian community, I always assumed it was to do with Halloween celebrating the supernatural and “bad”. I knew other kids whose parents had held those views. For my parents, it was more about avoiding a commercialised American holiday that had nothing to do with us or our history and everything to do with selling more stuff.
I’m now a month out from twenty and I have to admit, it makes sense. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love a good excuse to dress up more than almost anyone I know, but what purpose does it serve other than to sell stuff? As much fun as it is to decorate and bake and create, it’s not all that meaningful here. – Emma Reece and Ariana Norton
Image from Flood G.’s Flickr.