Well, its nearly Halloween, and I often wonder if we really understand what the effect it has on the young.
In an article called “The Truth About Popular Celebrations”, written in 2001, a school inspector from France with more than 20 years of experience in teaching was asked about the influence of Halloween on young children.
I am worried that going from house to house threatening adults in order to obtain sweets can have long-term negative consequences on children. It can foster a selfish and egocentric personality. They learn that by exerting pressure, by demanding with threats, by making others afraid, they can obtain what they want
Not surprisingly, many families, mine included, find that giving in to childish demands for treats and costumes can be an expensive undertaking.
Robert Rochefort, general director of France’s Research Center for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions observes
Halloween . . . is not a holiday, it is event marketing. Halloween fills a shopping lull prior to Christmas.
Commercialism has embraced it, making it one more thing pressuring people to spend money—money that in many cases they cannot afford to spend.
For instance, halloweenstats.com points out that Halloween costumes and props are becoming a big part of the holiday. The number of specialty stores are increasing each year with the popularity of the event. Props are also becoming more elaborate as technology progresses. Tends to support the Rochefort’s view don’t you think?
The newspaper Le Monde stated
Halloween, which coincides with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 1 and 2) and could even replace them, is making shopkeepers happy and panicking churchmen
Church representatives in Europe have expressed concern over the decline of these traditional Catholic holidays in favor of Halloween, seeing it as a sign of the “paganization of society.”
Spokesman for France’s Conference of Catholic Bishops, Stanislas Lalanne said
Halloween ‘distorts the meaning of life and death.’
The bishop of Nice, Jean Bonfils, stated
this festival and its rituals have nothing to do with our Mediterranean and Christian culture [and is] the most important festival of Satanists the world over
Interestingly, it could also dangerous for children.
As far back as 1971 it was reported that, on Halloween, children throughout the United States were going about threatening residents with a trick if not treated. Often they were accompanied by their parents. Some view this as teaching extortion to children, while others view it as an innocent pastime. There were however reports from all over the country of razor blades, needles, pins and drugs being put in some of the candy and fruit given such children.
Of course, we need to be tolerant of those that do not celebrate the custom when knocking on our neighbours doors.
For instance, Islam teaches that virtually all Halloween traditions are based either in ancient pagan culture, or in Christianity. From an Islamic point of view, they all are forms of idolatry.
Others though, like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has no official opinion about the Halloween holiday. Individual church members are left to decide for themselves whether or not to observe Halloween, and how to celebrate it if they choose to do so.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Halloween and celebrations like it are steeped in paganism. They will often quote scripture to support their view, like “I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.” (1 Corinthians 10:20-22, New International Version)
Jews also believe Halloween has many elements in it that are simply wrong and contrary to Jewish values.
So when you go out trick or treating, perhaps spare a thought for those around you that don’t want to participate for whatever reason. It is all food for thought.