The spooky season comes to a close this Thursday on Halloween. Every year, “trick or treat” echoes through the streets as people of all ages run through their neighborhood knocking on people’s doors dressed as their favorite fictional character, hoping to get treats, not tricks.
However, some religious groups frown on this holiday, including the Baptist church, which my family and I went to worship at, do not believe in celebrating Halloween. The Baptist church’s problem with the spooky holiday is that they believe it is a day to celebrate darkness, evil and death.
If you are a Baptist and are on the fence about celebrating Halloween or not, I say go for it! But, you do not have to. Halloween has always been a fun and harmless holiday for me and I did not have to worship darkness to participate. Pick what feels right in your heart this Halloween season.
My family despite being Baptists have openly celebrated Halloween for years. We never received backlash from the leaders of our congregation or any fellow members. But the negative message about Halloween was always delivered every year around this time.
Halloween was originally a holiday celebrated by Christians, to honor the martyrs and saints of faith and departed. The celebration established by Pope Boniface IV came to be known as All Saints’ Day which was held on May 13 of every year. That is until Pope Gregory III changed the date to Nov. 1, according to stadfaslutherans.org.
The spooky holiday we know today can trace its ancestry to All Saints’ Day through the Bible which has days begin at sundown. So on Oct. 31 at sunset the day becomes All Hallows’ Eve which the word Halloween is derived from.
Almost every year during my childhood and adolescence, I dressed up as a television show character and went trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. It’s the one night where I could be whoever I wanted and you can too, regardless of faith.
Whenever Halloween comes around, I do keep my own beliefs in mind. I do not participate in any activity that could possibly affect the way I see my religion: witchcraft, fortune telling or maybe some form of summoning a ghost. I choose not to participate in these activities for both personal and religious reasons but I still have fun.
“Halloween reminds us [Christians] that we are supposed to be different,” said Christina Reyes, youth leader at Bay International Church in Hayward that focuses on christian beliefs. “Just because we miss one night of costumes and candy doesn’t mean we’re missing out on anything at all.”
Baptists and other Christians still debate whether or not celebrating Halloween is good or bad. A 2015 Facebook poll conducted by the Christian Broadcasting Network found that 87% of people say that they choose not to celebrate Halloween while the 13% believe that it’s okay to celebrate the holiday.
“The bible obviously doesn’t say much on things like Halloween specifically and that ambiguity is purposeful,” said Trinity Dubrow, President of City Cru, a Christian ministry at SF State. “I believe that God gives us free will because He loves us, so the free will to choose if Halloween is something we want to celebrate is given to us.”
Many Catholic and Christian churches host Halloween themed parties and fundraisers. My church has encouraged kids and families to come to church in their Halloween costumes and have the families trick-or-treat together to make it a safer environment despite their beliefs about the holiday.
“Personally, I believe if Jesus was here today, He’d be passing out the biggest candy bars and putting effort into making the best community events during this season.” said Dubrow. “He’d show us love and He’d want to see us enjoy the things life has to offer.”