For me, Halloween has always been a time of carving out pumpkins, fun costumes, trick-or-treating and candy. There is the excitement of dressing up, whether cute, funny or scary; the scariness of ghosts, goblins and witches etc. I remember it being a time that I looked forward to.
Today, for little children, however, Halloween can be very scary. The emphasis has become so evil and gruesome. It seems as if we went from celebrating Halloween dressing up as clowns, firefighters, nurses, construction workers, cats, bears, tigers etc,,, to costumes being ‘all about’ monsters, vampires, witches, demons, the grim reaper etc.
A couple of weeks ago, I took my 6 year old daughter shopping. We were looking for a Halloween costume for her. I was astonished at my daughter’s reaction when we walked in (what should have been) the ‘party’ store. It should’ve been a fun experience. Instead she was horrified! We were greeted at the entrance by gruesome, horrific loud décor. My daughter grabbed my arm and wanted to leave. I encouraged her. I told her there are nicer costumes and we should continue looking. To my surprise there was little to choose from other than many horrific costumes.
Halloween has become a big and frightening business. For many it isn’t ‘fun’ anymore between costumes, scary décor, gloomy music, blood and gore, Halloween lights, when trick-or-treating grownups answering the door in scary costumes and/or startling children with sound effects or saying “boo,” and people turning their front lawns into graveyards, complete with skeletons and the decaying dead.
When I was my daughter’s age a simple pumpkin carved with a happy face, some Indian Corn, a costume (usually home-made) and a group of kids and parents trick-or-treating would have been more than enough for a GREAT time.
Perhaps it's time for Catholics to take control of the message we send.
Halloween is not all about "hell and horror" Instead it should be a celebration of “good” over “evil”.