Harvest Party vs. Halloween Trick or Treating

Many parents, for varied reasons, are getting out of the traditional Halloween spirit of trick or treating. To replace the door to door trick or treating or Halloween parties, parents are instead choosing Harvest or Fall parties. These are basically a watered down version of the traditional Halloween.

Many of today’s parents who are Christians themselves placed Christmas as their favorite holiday as a child. Many of those same parents chose Halloween as one of their favorite holidays as a child too. Back then, they had no idea that Halloween could be a huge offense to Christians. Just as the Christian holiday of Christmas can be an offense to the non-believer. 

In the 1970’s and 1980’s there were reports of razor blades and needles being put into apples being handed out to trick or treating children. Around the same time there were reports that candy and taffy were being laced with poison.

To my personal knowledge these incidents ended up being unfounded or even the parents’ involvement for one reason or another
. Ann Landers and Dear Abby spoke of the dangers of trick or treating, but all over America concerned parents began to make changes either closely monitoring their children’s activities or changing their activities altogether when it came to Halloween and trick or treating.

Church sponsored parties for neighboring children first became popular in the 1980’s. During the hours of trick or treating it was common to find the church doors open offering children an alternative to traditional trick or treating. These alternatives still had every kid’s favorite part of the holiday – candy, but also included games and an overall safer way to spend the night. This was the start of Harvest parties replacing the trick or treating and scary Halloween parties.

This leads us to wonder: Where Exactly Did the Worry About Halloween in Christianity Come From?

Follow along as we see how it all came to be that many Christian parents’ now choose to celebrate Harvest without the evil and scary side of Halloween.

The Celtic’s celebrate the end of summer on Halloween by sacrificing to the gods of the Druidic tradition. Their belief was that the lord of death (Samhain) would send out evil spirits to attack the living. The only protection from the lord of death was for them to disguise themselves as evil beings or spirits, thus the costumes.

Wicca followers celebrate Halloween as one of two high and “holy” days. Following the Celtic belief as outlined above and worshipping Samhain, Halloween becomes a very evil day in the eyes of the Christian believer.

Fourth Century Christians, in an attempt to get away from this evil, began to focus and celebrate Christian saints.
This is what we now know as All Saints Day on November 1st. It was during this time that parents, realizing that they could not completely get away from this day, began to allow their children to dress up in costumes that were non-evil such as brides, princesses, pumpkins and football players.

October 31st will come each year. I hope this brief history on the emerging Harvest parties and Halloween will give you some insight when choosing how you will spend this day. No matter which tradition you follow, be safe!

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Christy said...

I love Halloween, All Hallows Eve, and I think people are too easily offended these days. I love pumpkins and candy corn. All Hallows Eve began a long time ago, 16th century, with farmers who were trying to save their harvest so their families would make it through the winter. Hallow is the same word for "holy" that we find in the Lord’s Prayer, and e’en is a contraction of "evening." The word Halloween itself is a shortened form of "All Hallows Eve," the day before All Saints Day.

Halloween also invites us to talk openly about death in a culture that labors mightily to deny it.

Auntie E said...

In the 50's through 80's I celebrated Halloween. Loved it. Somehow in the 90's things changed. Maybe it was becoming a Mother and learning more about the Holiday. I felt a need not to force my child to think of a darkside as fun. However now that my daughter is a teen, I think I will let her decided for herself. I really did enjoy the festival as a child. However as you stated in your article the rash of trickster and even the recent drug drink dropping had me worried for our children.
I have instilled in our daughter the dangers.

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CB said...

Halloween is one of my favorite Holidays. For the kids it's all about dressing up, pretending to be some character they aren't for a night and getting free candy! I don't think of it as a dark or evil holiday. As long as you are careful it's fine.

Our baby is too young to Trick or Treat so we are going to visit the Grandparents all dressed up. ;) When she is older, three or four years old, my hubby and I will have lots of fun going around with her. :)

Mary said...

I found this website that can create a super-realistic mask of anyone from just a photo. Imagine going as yourself, your boss, your favorite celebrity or worst enemy to a Halloween party!

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