Is Halloween celebrated where you live? In the United States and Canada, Halloween is widely known and celebrated every year on October 31. Halloween customs, though, can be found in many other parts of the globe. In some places holidays are celebrated that, although named differently, share similar themes: contact with the spirit world involving the spirits of the dead, fairies, witches, and even the devil and demon angels.—See the box “Celebrations Like Halloween Worldwide.”
PERSONALLY, you may not believe in supernatural spirits. You might simply view taking part in Halloween and similar celebrations as a way to have fun and teach your children to explore their imagination. Many people, though, regard these celebrations as harmful for the following reasons:
“Halloween,” explains the Encyclopedia of American Folklore, “is integrally related to the prospect of contact with spiritual forces, many of which threaten or frighten.” (See the box “Halloween Time Line.”) Likewise, many celebrations like Halloween have pagan origins and are deeply rooted in ancestor worship. Even today, people around the world use these days to make contact with supposed spirits of the dead.
Although Halloween has been viewed mainly as an American holiday, each year people in more and more countries have been adopting it. Many newcomers to the celebration, however, are unaware of the pagan origins of Halloween symbols, decorations, and customs, most of which are related to supernatural beings and occult forces.—See the box “Where Did It Come From?”
Thousands of Wiccans, who follow ancient Celtic rituals, still call Halloween by the ancient name Samhain and consider it to be the most sacred night of the year. “Christians ‘don’t realize it, but they’re celebrating our holiday with us. . . . We like it,’” stated the newspaper USA Today when quoting a professed witch.