(How) Do You Celebrate Halloween?

Some people celebrate Halloween, while others don't. My family?--we enjoy the heck out of it. (Not quite as much as the people who made the guy in the picture at the right, but...) What's your take on Halloween?

Last year, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke on Halloween at the Tuesday morning BYU devotional. As if to erase any doubt about the LDS church's stance on Halloween, he started out his speech by asking the camera person to zoom in to get a close-up of his jack-o-lantern tie.

Some friends of ours absolutely will not celebrate Halloween. Their kids do not dress up, and they do not go trick-or-treating. Their family actually leaves the house on Halloween night and does something fun together, in part so they won't have to answer the door and hand out candy.

Our kids are going all-out dressing up for school today. They are dressing up as Jack Sparrow, a Civil War hero, a US Army soldier, Cindy-Lou Who, and Sandy-Lou Fifties Who. We need to get better at the outdoor decorations at our house. We talked about having a coffin with a skeleton coming out (pulled by a string) when trick-or-treaters come knocking, but we ran out of time. Next year, though!

A friend of mine and his wife had a strong disagreement about whether to celebrate Halloween. Because of this, and several other things, they are no longer together.

The LDS Church simply teaches people to be responsible Halloweeners. The only thing I am aware of is that the Church discourages the wearing of masks.

What do you think of Halloween? How do you celebrate? Or don't you?


  1. I'm usually game for carving a pumpkin and handing out candy, but we just aren't feeling it this year.

    But seriously? Marital tension over Halloween? That's pretty silly to me.

  2. Growing up in South Africa, I was always taught that Halloween was a satanic festival.

    I think celebrations are what you make of them though. The argument could be made that Christmas and Easter have similar sinister roots.

    For me and my family, it's a great time to decorate and just have a ton of fun. I actually think it might be more fun than Christmas, simply because it's not about getting stuff, but enjoying yourself.

    In July my kids thought we should dress my 1 year old son up as Curious George. It fits he personality to a tee. So he;s Curious George, and naturally I get the be the Man in the Yellow Hat - The hat is fashioned from construction paper and yellow duct tape, and surprizingly resiliant.

    We also have a Sleeping Beauty, Kelsey from High School Musical, Black Spiderman, and hopefully my wife can piece together a witch costume by tonight. The only marital strife we have is from bonehead comments from yours truly like "Geez sweetheart! Do you really need a costume to pull that one off?"

  3. Jesse,

    I agree about the marital tension. I actually agreed with the guy's wife. He was (and still is) a bit strange.


    Sounds like you're even more into it than me. I take pictures of them in their costumes and answer the door when the candy seekers come knocking, but a couple of my kids are real hams, so I'm sure my Halloween adventurousness will improve.

  4. I celebrate, and love to take the kids trick-or-treating, or go to parties. Next to Christmas, Halloween is my favorite holiday. Interestingly, I just got done reading an article about how Halloween (and other holidays) came to be part of the Christian tradition.

    Having been raised as a Jehovah's Witness, I really enjoyed the article.

  5. I LOVE Halloween- However, it seems like the newest tradition is to dress like a prostitute. Watch out America cause Halloween is being hijacked by Slut-O-Ween.
    A Holiday for Sluttiness

  6. If I were a kid again, I'd definitely be Captain Jack Sparrow. If I had kids, I might give them the option of a family outing or trick-or-treating with their friends. Tonight I'm answering the door and handing out about a hundred bags of candy...

  7. Until recently I was standing near those who think Halloween is satanic. i was never quite in their camp, but it's not my style and I thought it was pointless. My position has softened a lot in the last year. So much so that I wrote about it today.

  8. I love halloween. I have 3 girls. Only one of those girls is young enough that I still get to pick her costume...she's going to be an alligator. The others are being princesses....zzzzzzzzzzzz

    Great post...one question. Why does the church frown on masks?

  9. That's not a bad looking gang of kids!

  10. Jeremy,

    An alligator? I want to see that one! That sounds cool.


    Thanks. A good friend of the family told my wife and I that my kids all got their good looks from me...because my wife still has hers!

    (rimshot--although wikipedia says I'm using the term wrong...)


  11. Misty,

    Cool article. I agree. Life is to stressful to find bogeymen under every bed and behind every tree anyway, to think that halloween is another bogey man. I particularly liked the second-to-last paragraph

    And this is the reason I have found it worthwhile to mount, from time to time, a Christian defense of Halloween. Because one day — perhaps not too long from now — my own friends and relatives are going to feel forced, by their own careless presuppositions, to drop the other shoe on all holidays, to spend December without Christmas, and springtime without Easter, to go to a ballgame and refuse to sing the National Anthem.


    I wasn't aware that that was becoming a problem. That's strange, and to bad, but I guess I'm not surprised.

  12. Halloween... meh. I'm not a big fan.

    I don't view Pres. Hinckley's tie wearing as some sort of Church sanction for halloween festivities. When the leadership expressly condones such activities (in words), then that'll be a different story. But just wearing a tie? That's like saying that we should all eat grits for breakfast simply because Pres. Hinckley does so. (Note: I have no idea what Pres. Hinckley eats for breakfast).

    My wife and I will also be leaving tonight and doing something non-halloweeny.

  13. Encourage? Maybe not. But condone, as in "to pardon or forgive (an offense); excuse." (from Dictionary.com). I think he does.

    By the way, Jeremy asked about masks. I'm not sure the official reason. I just know it is something that is in the LDS Church Handbook--LDS activities shouldn't include people wearing masks.

    I'll see if I can find out why, or if anyone else knows, please fill us in.

  14. Mobbers wore masks or otherwise covered their faces, or painted them. To early LDS, masks were not politically correct (within the faith) and that lingers today.

    At least that's what I've been told.

  15. The LDS Church handbook of instructions does not specify why masks should be prohibited at church events, but they are. And it's not just Halloween; it's any church event. Cross dressing, gore, and costumes that promote "evil" are also frowned upon.

    We do Halloween, but we're not head-over-heels into it. I am a stick in the mud. I haven't dawned a Halloween costume for a couple of decades. The younger kids dress up in fun costumes. The older ones follow my example.

    We don't hand out candy. We have always purchased cheap-o toys from The Oriental Trading Company (yeah, I know — Chinese toys) to give out. Fortunately, we avoid toys with paint. Halloween revelers seem to enjoy getting the toys instead of always getting candy.

  16. I love Halloween. It is my favorite holiday. We decorate the house more for Halloween than we do for Christmas. I love the little children and all the fun costumes. I love to dress up as scary as possible so I always dress as an IRS agent since Mormons fear the IRS more than God.

  17. Koda,
    You said, "I was always taught that Halloween was a satanic festival.

    I think celebrations are what you make of them though. The argument could be made that Christmas and Easter have similar sinister roots.
    " I think that's dangerous. Christmas and Easter have PAGAN roots. Paganism is NOT Satanism. Paganism is simply the worshipping of other gods. The Greeks and Romans were pagans. We Mormons know what it's like to be labeled just because someone doesn't like or understand us.

    I dressed up in a sweet mask and black robe but after I made a couple of little kids cry I changed in to normal clothes. (if I hadn't , we might have seen some of that marital strife that Frank mentioned.)

  18. Christopher,

    I am laughing tears I'm laughing so hard. I think next year I'll dress up as an IRS agent or some other government person. That's a good idea!

    Ron and Jessica,

    You got me to thinking...it used to always bug me that the stores started gearing up for Christmas right after Thanksgiving (I guess those days are long gone, as I went in to JC Penney about a week ago--before Halloween even--and they have Christmas stuff EVERYWHERE) But the LDS Church spends about the entire month of December celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. So my point is, I really like what the LDS church has made of a celebration that itself has some pagan roots.

  19. And don't even get me started on Costco. They have had their Christmas Stuff out ALL MONTH!

  20. Niceeee!!!!


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