What’s all this fuss about Halloween?
Stores have been displaying merchandise for the day since August, and many homes have Halloween decorations like they do at Christmas time. As a youth, we participated in those activities, dressing as a Panda bear one year, because we had an outfit left over from a dance recital, if one can believe that. A couple of years, we were Bugs Bunny?
Usually, we were a cowboy. That wasn’t too tough because that’s the way we dressed all of the time, with the exception of adding a Lone Ranger mask sometimes, and a bandana over our face other years. We walked in the Halloween parade, but never won any prizes in the costume judging. Painting pictures on business windows was a big deal.
We usually carved a jack-o-lantern, but seldom did we go trick-or-treating. We sure didn’t turn over any outhouses, because we were too young, and besides there weren’t any left in town. Neither did we knock over cemetery tombstones or even go near there. Likewise, no straw or old tires were spread up and down Main Street.
Witches flying on brooms, black cats, ghosts and goblins really didn’t play much of a role in our thinking about Halloween. However, many of the customs of Halloween have to do with fear of the dead. It was believed by some people that evil spirits roam the earth on October 31, and they work mischief among the living.
All Saints Day is November 1. It was originally known as All Hallows Day, and the day before became known as All Hallows Eve and was shortened to Halloween. All Saints Day honors and celebrates all saints, known and unknown, asking for their prayers and intercessions. Saints of God are alive and constantly intercede on our behalf.
Friday, Nov. 2, is All Souls Day to remember and pray for faithful ones who’ve passed away. Christians have been praying for departed family and acquaintances since early days of Christianity. Inscriptions on catacomb walls attest to the ancientness of prayers for the dead. Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day tie closely together.
In Mark 12:26-27, Jesus insisted, “As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.”
Importance of prayer for the dead is clarified in Second Maccabees 12:44-45,“For if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought.”