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Could We Tone Down the Halloween Mania a Smidge?

OK, I admit I grew up in a rural area of California where we didn’t celebrate Halloween. I mean, we did have “harvest festivals” at our church where we took hayrides (through the cemetery, no less) and bobbed for apples and some people dressed up. But when you have to drive 15 minutes to each house to trick-or-treat, it’s just not a big holiday. Plus, it was right around both Reformation and All Saints Day, two big Lutheran holidays.

Then we moved to Colorado, to a suburban area, where we did …

  1. Foxman

     “The great self-deception of modern life is that nothing will be pulled into that vacuum”

    Nature abhors a vacuum.  So do bachelors if the condition of my place means anything.

  2. Foxman

     Halloween started as a pagan (Druid) holiday.  The Catholic Church co-opted it by putting their own set of holidays on top of it.  All Soul’s Day on 31OCT, All Saint’s Day on 01NOV. 

    We stole this holiday from the pagans and the (expletives) are stealing it back.

    Christmas is much the same.  Nobody who has studied these things thinks that Jesus was born on 25DEC.  It is celebrated on this date to replace the pagan solstice celebration.

  3. Claire Berlinski
    C

    I guess the recession isn’t that bad if consumers have $6.86 billion to spend on Halloween.

  4. Pilli
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Also, licorice can kill you. I learned that today and felt it my civic duty to share this key news with my fellow licorice lovers. ·

    Just how many tons of licorice does one have to eat to have a heart attack anyway?  I love the stuff although I don’t eat very much.  Trying to maintain my figure you know.  Round is a figure isn’t it?

    Speaking of Halloween decorations, has the Easter decoration fad hit your neighborhood as well?

    I think everyone needs to decorate for August 10 day (my birthday).  Just saying…

  5. tabula rasa
    Pilli

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Also, licorice can kill you. I learned that today and felt it my civic duty to share this key news with my fellow licorice lovers. ·

    Just how many tons of licorice does one have to eat to have a heart attack anyway?  I love the stuff although I don’t eat very much.  Trying to maintain my figure you know.  Round is a figure isn’t it?

    Speaking of Halloween decorations, has the Easter decoration fad hit your neighborhood as well?

    I think everyone needs to decorate for August 10 day (my birthday).  Just saying… · Oct 27 at 8:51am

    Just started my seventh decade.  Have eaten licorice my whole life (I like the rough old black kind).  

    If it kills me in my mid-eighties, so be it.

  6. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Foxman:  Halloween started as a pagan (Druid) holiday.  The Catholic Church co-opted it by putting their own set of holidays on top of it.  All Soul’s Day on 31OCT, All Saint’s Day on 01NOV. 

    We stole this holiday from the pagans and the (expletives) are stealing it back.

    Christmas is much the same.  Nobody who has studied these things thinks that Jesus was born on 25DEC.  It is celebrated on this date to replace the pagan solstice celebration. · Oct 27 at 8:43am

    Not true. Common myth, though. Date was chosen based on belief in “integral age” — Jewish tradition that prophets were conceived and died on same date. Since Jesus died on Passover (what worked out to equivalent of March 25 that year), the church added 9 months and got … Christmas on Dec. 25. This is why Feast of Annunciation is celebrated March 25, too.

  7. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Pilli

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Also, licorice can kill you. I learned that today and felt it my civic duty to share this key news with my fellow licorice lovers. ·

    Just how many tons of licorice does one have to eat to have a heart attack anyway?  I love the stuff although I don’t eat very much.  Trying to maintain my figure you know.  Round is a figure isn’t it?

    Speaking of Halloween decorations, has the Easter decoration fad hit your neighborhood as well?

    I think everyone needs to decorate for August 10 day (my birthday).  Just saying… · Oct 27 at 8:51am

    Actually, the article I link points to the fact that the vast majority of “licorice” isn’t even licorice these days. We can resume our gorging.

    And I would welcome Easter decorations, but they’re not too big of a deal here … yet.

  8. Sisyphus

    People with too much money and too little to do and even the slightest competitive streak crank everything up to 11. Just a candy and costumes and scary stuff children’s holiday most places. While I respect the objections on grounds of demonism or whatever, I don’t share them. It’s play time, not religious indoctrination.

  9. r r

    The increased… enthusiasm for Halloween is just another marker of the decline of Christianity in the US – like football instead of church on Sunday, the popularity of Twilight and Harry Potter and zombie stories….etc.

    I wouldn’t quite call it a “pagan” holiday.  Even pagans made sacrifices to gods of some sort.  Our citizens are too lazy for sacrifice, even sacrifices to made up gods for hedonistic reasons.  Unless you consider eating an entire bag of fun sized snickers a sacrifice….

    As GK Chesterton says, when a man stops believing in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing… he believes in anything.

  10. Pilli
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Pilli

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Also, licorice can kill you. I learned that today and felt it my civic duty to share this key news with my fellow licorice lovers. ·

    Speaking of Halloween decorations, has the Easter decoration fad hit your neighborhood as well?
    Actually, the article I link points to the fact that the vast majority of “licorice” isn’t even licorice these days. We can resume our gorging.

    And I would welcome Easter decorations, but they’re not too big of a deal here … yet. · Oct 27 at 9:23am

    Plastic eggs hanging from trees.  Blow-up bunnies with baskets.  Giant baskets with candy and eggs.  No mention of a risen Christ though.

  11. Nathaniel Wright

    I wish I lived in your neighborhood Molly.  After spending half a decade in Crenshaw where no one came by to trick or treat, I would have loved to be in a community that over did it for a period of time.  As it is  — though parts of Glendale have trick-or-treating and much has decorations — we currently visit a dear friend’s family in Torrance so that our daughters can have a nice time going from house to house.

    I also don’t know if this has anything to do with a faith vacuum.  I would argue, though I would also love to test it before holding this as a truism, that it fills a “consumer” vacuum.  America is a wealthy country that started with few celebratory traditions, while at the same time being a society that loves to celebrate — often to excess.

    Think about all of the holidays our communities celebrate, and how much effort goes into them and you’ll see what I mean.  Oktoberfest — in October instead of Sept. — St. Patrick’s Day, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Halloween, the 4th, New Year’s.  Heck, watch the classic film “Holiday Inn” and this is nothing new.

  12. Pseudodionysius
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Foxman:  

    Not true. Common myth, though. Date was chosen based on belief in “integral age” — Jewish tradition that prophets were conceived and died on same date. Since Jesus died on Passover (what worked out to equivalent of March 25 that year), the church added 9 months and got … Christmas on Dec. 25. This is why Feast of Annunciation is celebrated March 25, too. · Oct 27 at 8:57am

    Edited on Oct 27 at 08:58 am

    In the spirit of Peter Robinson stomping all over a James Lileks segue, I’d like to interrupt this thread to remind the Catholics reading that the new, improved 4th edition of the Manual of Indulgences is now available again on Amazon.com. I had to order mine direct from the USCCB offices, where it was delivered by a blind, albino monk who skulked off in the middle of the night. November 1st and 2nd have some big indulgences attached (especially Nov 2nd), so start your spiritual preparations now before the New World Order and One World Currency make that impossible.

    Back to you, Mollie.

  13. Casey
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Foxman:  Halloween started as a pagan (Druid) holiday.  The Catholic Church co-opted it by putting their own set of holidays on top of it.  All Soul’s Day on 31OCT, All Saint’s Day on 01NOV. 

    We stole this holiday from the pagans and the (expletives) are stealing it back.

    Christmas is much the same.  Nobody who has studied these things thinks that Jesus was born on 25DEC.  It is celebrated on this date to replace the pagan solstice celebration. · Oct 27 at 8:43am

    Not true. Common myth, though. Date was chosen based on belief in “integral age” — Jewish tradition that prophets were conceived and died on same date. Since Jesus died on Passover (what worked out to equivalent of March 25 that year), the church added 9 months and got … Christmas on Dec. 25. This is why Feast of Annunciation is celebrated March 25, too. · Oct 27 at 8:57am

    Edited on Oct 27 at 08:58 am

    I love stuff like this…. would you have enough material to start a thread on common religious myths?

    Also, if the rain stops, I’m dashing out for some licorice.

  14. Casey

    No need to call the suicide hotline… it’s just my sweet tooth.

  15. Casey

    Although you may want to keep the poison control number nearby just in case…

  16. Tommy De Seno
    C

    No we can’t turn it down.  Because it’s fun.

    Halloween fills a religious vacuum?   Ask any kid if his or her dressing up and getting candy has anything to do with religion and the answer will be no.  Whatever religious underpinnings it once had are gone for good.   It’s just fun now.

    Amity Shlaes sounds like a pschobabbling half-smart.   Does the first amendment really have to cover everyone?   

    Tell Amity to put a “no candy” sign on her front door and hide inside.

    There’s peanut butter cups out there for the having, and I want to have as many as my kids can get their hands on – in two sessions of trick or treating each. 

    In fact, I don’t let them back in the house without full baskets.  We usually score 50 lbs of candy.

    A pox on Amity Shleas, and all the cavity free halloween haters!

  17. Trace

    I’m with Tommy.

    Halloween has flourished because it fills a post back-to-school excitement gap that Columbus Day just doesn’t match. It’s an occasion for parties, works for young and old and has a sense of humor. I WISH there had been elaborate pumpkin patches with giant corn mazes and rock climbing walls when I was a kid. Yes it’s more indulgence and pampering of kids, but the payoff relative to the investment is completely worthwhile. It is a holiday completely void of obligation which makes it refreshing in its own right.

    If I wanted to write a pretentious article about the societal meaning of the holiday, I might speak about the community that is created by decorating your house and (these days) whole families going door to door and bumping into your neighbors on the Street. I live in the Big City and it has the feel of a giant block party.

    It’s entirely secular, good, clean, fun, and I say bring it on.  

  18. r r

    Good points, but there’s a difference between dressing up and trick or treating and making Halloween a month long event, complete with house decorating etc…

    One is fun… one is kinda weird….

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the whole “holiday” has really ramped up in popularity in the last decade.

  19. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Samwise Gamgee: Good points, but there’s a difference between dressing up and trick or treating and making Halloween a month long event, complete with house decorating etc…

    One is fun… one is kinda weird….

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the whole “holiday” has really ramped up in popularity in the last decade. · Oct 27 at 10:28am

    Right, it’s the extremism that strikes me these days. You don’t really need to spend so much money or energy to have a fun time this time of year.

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