On Halloween: Let the Kids Play

Yes, we get that it’s a pagan ritual. But at what point can the harmless modern celebration of a holiday finally put to rest any pagan roots?
For the first time in a long time, I had a good old-fashioned suburban-American Halloween. While my oldest child was off at some Mall of America event, my son and I joined a few neighbors and walked the neighborhood. The group of nine kids ran from house to house, filling their bags with treats while the parents walked and talked and wished we had warm beverages, preferably the type that includes Bailey’s or Brandy. Before last night, I had no idea how many families I know from the Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School lived in the neighborhood. South Golden Valley is really crawling with our people.
And here’s another thing I learned last night about the Jewish Day School… The children were forbidden from speaking about Halloween at school. I maybe can understand not celebrating it at school (not really, but maybe), but forbidding it as a topic of discussion? This goes back to my question above, at what point can we just let the kids enjoy what Halloween has become and let go of whatever long time ago evil ritual it signified (by the way, my minimal amount of research discovered Halloween’s history focuses more on a harvest festival and less on neo-pagan sacrificing)?
I am very comfortable, despite my children dressing up as a devil and demon (the most adorable devil and demons ever by the way), that last night has not inched them any closer to the dark side, that they are not now contemplating ritualistic sacrifice, and that they will not decide the goth look should be their daily dress. They had fun, I had fun, and the people giving out candy had fun. The holiday brings people and neighborhoods together in a way really no other day of the year does. Let’s embrace and encourage that.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there is something inherently evil in the holiday and its celebration. I’ll admit to not knowing specifically the Jewish views and reasons for the dissent. Fortunately, there’s a comment section below, so please leave a comment and let’s discuss.

In the meantime, I would say let the kids enjoy Halloween, talk about it in school, and even dress up at school that day if they want to. Looking back on last night, I felt the holiday to really be about community. And in today’s insulated digital world, a little community time with neighbors and friends isn’t such a bad thing.
(Image: Randy Son of Robert)