How Should Catholics Approach Halloween?

This month, I’ve been talking about our Blessed Mother, but today I want to talk to you about a different topic, namely Halloween, which is commonly celebrated on the 31st of October. Often, Catholics will say, ‘Oh all of these ghosts, witches and skulls and costumes based on these things are evil, we should stay away from all this’, and on the other hand, other Catholics will say, ‘I have faith in God, so I’m not scared to celebrate anything’. Let me offer you a middle ground by telling you a little of the history of Halloween.

As Catholics, we celebrate All Saints’ Day on the 1st of November, and All Souls’ Day on the 2nd. If you’re Catholic, I’m assuming you know this and are planning to go for the Mass on both these days. All Saints’ Day used to also be called ‘All Hallows’ Day’ because both words are ultimately the same, like we say in the Our Father, either “may Your Name be held holy”, or “hallowed be Thy Name.” The meaning is the same.

Another thing to keep in mind is that in the Church, we have the concept of eves and vigil Masses, like how we go on Saturday evening for Sunday Mass. Just like this, people can also go for Mass on the evening before All Saints’ Day, i.e. on 31st October and it used to be called ‘All Hallows’ Eve’. That’s where the idea and celebration of Halloween came from. It was our own celebration, not something started by some Freemasons to encourage demonic activity or something. So with this understanding of this day, I don’t think the celebration of the day in itself is wrong. That being said, let’s talk about some practicalities.

Although the origin of this festival has some Christian roots, today’s reality in the West is that it has become an excuse for all kinds of nonsense: sexual promiscuity, drinking and drugs, improper clothing, and even occult practices. All of these are obviously wrong and especially with that last one regarding the occult. Yes, the devil is real, and I don’t think I have to explain why you shouldn’t play around with him. In India, Halloween is not really a public affair, but young people do dress up in their costumes and go for parties and all. Whether it’s a Halloween party or any other kind of party, the usual reasoning and prudence will apply. But the question is, is it okay to dress up as ghosts and witches and skeletons? Or is there some danger in that?

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