Friday, October 29, 2010

Trick??? or Treat???

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.
Halloween and Its Christian Roots
The true origins of Halloween lie with the ancient Celtic tribes who lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. For the Celts, November 1 marked the beginning of a new year and the coming of winter. The night before the new year, they celebrated the festival of Samhain, Lord of the Dead. During this festival, Celts believed the souls of the dead—including ghosts, goblins and witches—returned to mingle with the living. In order to scare away the evil spirits, people would wear masks and light bonfires.
When the Romans conquered the Celts, they added their own touches to the Samhain festival, such as making centerpieces out of apples and nuts for Pomona, the Roman goddess of the orchards. The Romans also bobbed for apples and drank cider—traditions which may sound familiar to you. But where does the Christian aspect of the holiday come into play? In 835, Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration for all the martyrs (later all saints) from May 13 to November 1. The night before became known as All Hallow’s Even or “holy evening.” Eventually the name was shortened to the current Halloween. On November 2, the Church celebrates All Souls Day.
The purpose of these feasts is to remember those who have died, whether they are officially recognized by the Church as saints or not. It is a celebration of the “communion of saints,” which reminds us that the Church is not bound by space or time.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that through the communion of saints “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things” (#1475).

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”.

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Take a moment and visit the MOSJ website.