By Phil Schmidt
I know that in today’s world there are folks who think that Halloween is a tool of the devil and that it is wrong to recognize it. As a historian I’d simply remind us that it is a derivative of “All Saints Day,” November 1, which in medieval Europe was an important high holy day which essentially everyone celebrated. (If you have European ancestors who lived there prior to the Protestant Reformation of 1517 and they were not pagans, that means they were Catholics—the Catholic Church was the only organized Christian Church in Europe of that time period.) “Halloween” derives from the term “All Hallow’s Eve,” the time period the evening before All Saints Day when the spirits of the deceased ancestors (their “ghosts” if you will) were supposed to be coming back to the community where they had spent their lives, so as to observe and enjoy their being honored in the next day’s celebration. Under those circumstances the little kids started dressing up as ghosts in order to “scare” people, and those practices evolved into today’s Halloween. In my book it is completely harmless and a bit of fun for the kids, who deserve to be able to have their excitement—no reason to get stressed out.
Phil Schmidt is a professor of history.
By Elizabeth Hill
I was raised in a home at which we did not celebrate Halloween. For most of my life, I hated the fact my parents held me back from all the fun my friends were experiencing. Now, I respect their decision and am thankful for what they taught me through this experience. Holidays are days of celebration, and for some Halloween is seen as celebrating evil. My parents wanted me to celebrate the beautiful blessings in life instead of the things that create fear. They wanted me to celebrate who I was in God not someone or something I would rather be. Now that I am able to make my own decisions, I do participate in Halloween. My view on it is different than what it would have been without my parents’ influence. I see Halloween as a fun night to dress up and be in the company of good friends—I celebrate God’s goodness by creating good memories on Halloween
Elizabeth Hill is a senior majoring in elementary education.