Hello Elias. Thanks for your question and welcome to Fall. During this time of year when the air gets crisper, the days get shorter and for many young Americans excitement grows about which costume they are going to wear for Halloween. I know many of the children in my congregation have already been excitedly sharing with me what or who they want to dress up as this year. Retailers in our community and across the Country also anticipate revving up their cash registers and payment apps to receive an average of $109.82 per household. With decorations, costumes, candy and greeting cards Halloween is expected to bring in approximately 8 billion dollars this year.
Like most holidays that we celebrate and revere in America, Halloween stems from a Christian celebration. Specifically the original idea came from the Christian practice of honoring those who have died in faith by celebrating All Saints Day. The day spotlights saints of the Church who have lived their lives in faithfulness to God and who have gone on to another reality called Heaven. We honor and remember these people and have for centuries by dedicating a day just to them. Not unlike Memorial Day or Veterans Day where we honor those who serve our Country and who have given “the last full measure of devotion.” Halloween was first called All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Saints Day which was then contracted to Hallow-e-‘en which then became the word we know as Halloween.
As Christianity spread throughout the world other pagan celebrations were encountered that fell on the same day or around the same day as this and other Christian celebrations. Our ancestors were so creative that they chose to move the decidedly Christian holiday to the day of the pagan one to offer a crystal clear alternative. Halloween didn’t become an American holiday until the immigration of the working classes through Ellis Island in the late Eighteenth Century. Today Halloween is almost exclusively an American secular Holiday but its roots are heavily entrenched in its Christian history. So yes, it is perfectly fine to celebrate it.
Hollywood has added fun to the mix with a number of family friendly movies most notably the 2017 Disney film Coco. In this cartoon loved ones cannot return to visit from “the place of the dead” on Halloween unless their photo is placed on the mantle of their families home and they are remembered by these loved ones. While completely fictional it is a beautiful concept to remember loved ones who have gone on before us and honor them at least one day a year and more frequently than that, in my opinion.
Our Church is hosting our Annual Trunk or Treat in the parking lot of Epworth United Methodist Church on October 25 from 5-7pm. This year it will be Drive-through only but we still expect more than 3,000 friends to participate. So dress up with kids of any age and enjoy safely packaged candy and socially distanced servers wearing masks and gloves for safety not entertainment purposes in this case. You and all of our friends across the community are welcome to participate. It’s absolutely FREE for all.