When I was a child I was told that Halloween was “the Devil’s holiday”. To this day, I really don’t know what that means. I was given books and pamphlets about why I wasn’t allowed to participate in Halloween activities, but I think maybe I blocked the information out. 🙂 My friends at school would always ask me every year why I couldn’t go trick or treating with them. That was my go to answer, mostly because I didn’t know any better. “Halloween is “the Devil’s holiday.”
Usually when people find out that I’ve never been trick or treating they freak out a little bit. What do you mean you’ve never been trick or treating?!? I’ve come to realize over the years that their childhood memories of dressing up like Cinderella, Batman, Rainbow Bright, or the Lone Ranger (I’m trying to span a few generations here) come flooding back to them at this moment and they feel kind of sorry for me. You never got to dress up? EVER? Really? Not even as a fairy or something harmless?
I am not trying to bash my parents. (Love you all, because I know you are reading this!) My parents are very strong Christians, a fact that I am eternally grateful for and has definitely helped shape me into the woman that I am today, so I am not complaining. I had a great childhood, and if not getting to celebrate Halloween was the worst thing that came out of it, I would be the luckiest person alive for sure. Still, it’s still a bit of a sore spot.
I don’t want to get into a religious debate in this post, or really even go in that direction at all. What bothers me most about the whole thing is that for whatever reason I feel like I’ve missed out on some integral childhood experience that almost everyone else I know has had at some point. Some adults still get really excited about Halloween, which further fuels my irritation. Without the foundation of childhood memories related to Halloween, it’s really no fun as an adult now that I can dress up and go to Halloween parties if I want to. I have never really had the desire to mess with the whole thing, even though I wish I wanted to. I haven’t yet, but I vow that someday I am truly am going to go all out and dress up from head to toe!
I know my parents had my best interests in mind when they made their decision to not allow me to go trick-or-treating or carve Jack-O-Lanterns, etc. Children are impressionable, and I’ve found that since I’ve grown up they’ve loosened up a bit on things that they used to be sticklers about. I’m pretty sure I was in my 20’s before my Mom wrote “from Santa” on one of my Christmas presents. I was definitely made aware at an early age that I was receiving presents on Christmas because we were celebrating Jesus’ birth, not because I had been a good girl that year and Santa had stuffed his jolly self down our chimney. I have no problem with this, because I believe Jesus’ birth is the real reason we buy presents for our loved ones on Christmas. Santa Clause embodies the spirit of giving and generosity too, so I don’t really see what’s wrong with that either.
As I’ve found my own path through life, I don’t really see what the difference is between going trick-or-treating and having an Easter basket or setting out cookies and milk for Santa. They’re all traditions passed down from generation to generation. They’re all moments for family and friends to come together and make memories. When I have children, I may decide to explain to them the reason that Halloween came about, and why I didn’t celebrate the holiday when I was a child. On the other hand, I may not. I might just let my children be children; have fun, eat candy, play dress up, and then worry about the grown-up reasons behind everything when they get old enough to really understand them.