Should ghosts and ghouls be allowed in schools?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse  October 30, 2009 11:31 AM

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Tomorrow is Halloween, and this morning I dropped an adorably ferocious dinosaur and a sparklingly happy winged fairy off at preschool. They have been looking forward to their class parties all week, proudly making decorations and planning games and treats (a pinata shaped like a ghost! Slightly spooky stories at circle time! Haunted apples!).

The month-long march toward trick-or-treating with ghosts and ghouls (and princesses, and superheroes, and animals, and celebrities, and licensed characters like Harry Potter or Dora the Explorer) is considered pretty normal, by most people. Apple-picking and pumpkin carving are traditional celebrations of fall, and Halloween is a time for dressing up and having fun.
But there are many parents who consider Halloween to be a quasi-religious holiday -- and they don't want it celebrated in schools.

Most Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians and many devout Catholics consider all aspects of Halloween to be "of the occult." But before you leap to the conclusion that this is purely a Christian conundrum -- I'll admit that I thought so, at first -- let me point out that some devout Muslims and Jews also object to Halloween on religious grounds. Conservative Muslims consider Halloween forbidden (haram) not only because it's a non-Muslim celebration, but because they believe it represents the devil. Orthodox Jews discourage Halloween because of its Pagan and Christian roots.

Halloween is thought to have started with the Celtic festival Samhain, in which the souls of the dead were thought to return to their former homes to be entertained by the living, who offered food and shelter to them in order to ward off evil spells. Later -- in about 8 A.D. -- Pope Gregory IV decreed that the Feast of All Saints, which was celebrated in May, be held on November 1 instead. (Some historians say that it was Pope Gregory VII who did this, sometime around 1080; either way, the point is that it was established independently from the Pagan celebration.) The night before the feast a vigil was held, and it became known as "All Hallows Even," or "Hallowe'en."

"If you're going to kick Christian celebrations like Christmas out of the schools, and leave Halloween in, you're going to have a reaction," Robert Knight, director of cultural studies for the conservative Family Research Council, pointed out in an article on Beliefnet.com. "And if they're going to be evenhanded in not establishing religion in the schools, they're probably going to have to do away with Halloween."

Which makes a lot more sense to me than protesting over the occult aspect of October 31. Aren't carving a jack o' lantern and sprinkling blessed salt on your doorstep means to the same end? And how is a 5-year-old in a fairy costume disturbing while a little girl dressed as St. Lucy, holding her gouged-out eyes on a plate, is not?

What do you think, parents? Should Halloween be celebrated in schools? Why or why not?

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at lalphonse@globe.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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15 comments so far...
  1. What a nightmare we've been having in our school/town. We are a small school, 150 students. Our school board was just forced by a very few to adopt a policy about holidays/celebrations. I thought the same thing. If you just took Christmas away, mind you 99% of the townspeople wanted to include all the religions represented in town, than how on earth are you still allowing Halloween?! Our school board is supposed to represent the people. We voted them in. But the Jewish family that had the reindeer removed last year that the kindergarteners made that were hanging in the hallway, insisted that they adopt a policy that ultimately took our Christmas away. The people in our town want INCLUSION not EXCLUSION. Teach the children about all beliefs and tolerance, don’t create another generation of hate and ignorance!

    Posted by Jacki October 30, 09 02:41 PM
  1. Why don't we just include holidays and use that as a teachable moment?

    Start the school year off with the high holy days of the Jewish Calendar, make a point of doing stuff like Diwali and Ramadan. And seriously, let's all calm down. My kid dressing up as Dora the Explorer doesn't endanger your religious beliefs. That, or like on other holy days, let people who have a problem with it keep their kids home.

    Posted by c October 30, 09 02:53 PM
  1. Yes, let's be tolerant rather than not. Keep Halloween if you're going to teach about Christmas, Kwanzaa and Ramadan. In a lot of towns, Jewish holidays like Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana are no-school days for everyone. Just as Good Friday is in a lot of places. And does anyone really believe Winter Break isn't Christmas break? Does this mean schools are promoting these religions? No, just that they recognize they exist and are tolerant of the fact that they mean a lot to some groups of people. For a few Wiccans and similar groups, Halloween means something more too. Let's be inclusive!

    Posted by MM October 30, 09 03:26 PM
  1. Look, if you don't want your kid exposed to any beliefs other than your own, then cough up for a private religious school. Look at all the Halloween stores, merchandise, specials, movies and all that. No way is this even remotely like a religious holiday any more, regardless of the origins. It is kids dressing up and having fun. You don't want your kid to participate? Fine. But you're not going to generate tolerance by spoiling it for the rest of the folks.

    And incidentally, I am a Catholic, and every year in my Catholic elementary school we had a halloween party, with costumes and all. Somehow, none of us grew up to be axe murdering atheists.

    Posted by BMS October 30, 09 04:04 PM
  1. You could have picked a more mainstream saint you know. Saint Lucy? What about Bartholomew or Sebastian? Much more gruesome in their martyrdom.

    Catholic Home and Garden gave St. Lucy as an example of an excellent costume choice for a sweet young girl. They also suggested dressing your entire large family in black with tinfoil and red cellophane "flames" so you can trick and treat all together as souls in purgatory. Here's the link (scroll to the bottom for costume suggestions): http://www.catholichomeandgarden.com/Catholics_coping_with_halloween.htm">sprinkling blessed salt on your doorstep -- LMA

    Posted by MJP October 30, 09 05:02 PM
  1. My opinion: Halloween is a Hallmark holiday.

    My one issue: your statement that "[m]ost Evangelical Christians and many devout Catholics consider all aspects of Halloween to be "of the occult." I fit very firmly into the former category, and I grew up in latter. I don't know most of "us," so I won't make such sweeping assertions as that. Got proof? Cite it. Don't? Practice restraint.

    My example: my church had a trunk or treat last week, and we're dour Lutherans. Not one person in our very diverse congregation raised any question about it. And many of the other churches in our quite conservative part of town are holding parties and H-ween related functions, to give kids a safe place to go and for fellowship purposes.

    Jeremy(!) -- The original reference came from the Beliefnet.org article I cited later in the story. But in looking at it again, I think I wasn't clear... Fundamentalism may be the most conservative faction of Evangelicalism, but not all Evangelical Christians are Fundamentalists -- and the Fundamentalists are most likely to believe that Halloween and its trappings are of the occult. I've changed that line in the post to reflect this.

    Anyway, sources:
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/hallo_ev.htm

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1030/p01s03-ussc.html

    http://khanya.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/evangelicals-and-halloween/

    http://www.fillthevoid.org/Occult/TenReasonsChristiansShouldNotCelebrateHalloween.htm (I cited this one in the post, but for some reason it's redirecting to an error 404 page when you click through. Copy and paste to see the info)

    http://www.beliefnet.com/Love-Family/Holidays/Banning-Halloween.aspx (also in the post, above)

    I like the example you gave of what your church does -- and I agree that Halloween is a Hallmark holiday, rather than a religious one. Also: I can't quite wrap my mind around the idea of you as "dour"! -- LMA

    Posted by Jeremy! October 30, 09 05:12 PM
  1. The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos.Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won't feel
    stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith.
    Muslim schools are working to try to create a bridge between communities.
    There is a belief among ethnic minority parens that the British schooling does not adequatly address their cultural needs. Failing to meet this need could result in feeling resentment among a group who already feel excluded. Setting up Muslim school is a defensive response.

    State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue. According to a number of studies, a child will not learn a second language if his first language is ignored.

    Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual
    Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Muslims have the right to educate their children in an environment that suits their
    culture. This notion of "integration", actually means "assimilation", by which people generally really mean "be more like me". That is not multiculturalism. In Sydney, Muslims were refused to build a Muslim school,
    because of a protest by the residents. Yet a year later, permission was given for the building of a Catholic school and no protests from the residents. This clrearly shows the blatant hypocrisy, double standards and
    racism. Christians oppose Muslim schools in western countries yet build their own religious schools.

    British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism. The result is that Muslim children are unable to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leave schools with low grades. Racism is deeply rooted in British society. Every native child is born with a gene or virus of racism, therefore, no law could change the attitudes of racism towards those who are different. It is not only the common man, even member of the royal family is involved in racism. The father of a Pakistani office cadet who was called a "Paki" by Prince Harry
    has profoundly condemned his actions. He had felt proud when he met the Queen and the Prince of Wales at his son's passing out parade at Sandhurst
    in 2006 but now felt upset after learning about the Prince's comments. Queen Victoria invited an Imam from India to teach her Urdu language. He was highly respected by the Queen but other members of the royal family had no respect for him. He was forced to go back to India. His protrait is still in one of the royal places.

    There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools with bilingual Muslim teachers. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

    Posted by Iftikhar October 31, 09 04:33 PM
  1. If the [muslims] can pray 10 times a day in school, the kids should be allowed to celebrate Halloween and Christmas. This PC world is getting to be a pain in the but. Just because you don't celebrate it, doesn't mean it shouldn't be. Don't like it? Keep your kid home that day, or home school your kid.

    This comment has been edited to remove the ethnic slurs. --LMA

    Posted by Dead Don November 1, 09 11:18 AM
  1. kids like dressing up in spooky costumes and getting free candy. it has nothing to do with religion. end of story. maybe it did 200 years ago, but not now, this debate is no different than any other religious debate. they're all idiotic.

    and what if we the people refuse to stop celebrating halloween? will religious extremists eventually come blasting with their guns? will they burn halloween candy in fiery pyres in the streets? organize protests, boycotts and cross-burnings in front of stores that sell costumes and candy? might we eventually see suicide bombings of halloween costume stores? costumed children hanging from trees? how far are they willing to take their religious outrage?

    SO... if you're not going to start a religious war over halloween, then sit the heck down and shut the frak up. it's stuff like this that convinces the adults around here that religions are just houses for the insane.

    Posted by a. sane man November 1, 09 11:20 AM
  1. [facepalm] I almost blogged on this topic over the weekend (I hadn't read this yet so glad I didn't), but most of the Catholic references I found discussed Halloween safety and using Halloween as a "teaching tool" to revitalize it's significance in Catholic dogma (it's All Saints Day). There was little opposition to the idea of dressing up and begging for candy though. Well, except for a few of the very conservative sects...

    Growing up in a Catholic household, I was never made aware of this holy day either at home or in CCD. In the public schools, no mention whatsoever was made of Halloween's religious significance in either the Catholic church (in a predominately Catholic area) or as a pagan holiday. To us, it was simply the one night out of the year when we could dress up in costume, possibly win an award at school for our costume and then later, go out for the Mother Lode. Since sweets like candy were somewhat rare in our house, there was a lot of anticipatory excitement over this prospect.

    I'd be well and truly saddened if the schools around us took away all holidays, including Halloween. I'm of the same mind as a few other commenters here: If your religion is that expressly against the holiday (or any other, for that matter), you are free to keep your kids home that day and use that time as teaching tool yourself. We had 3 Jehovas Witness kids in school with us who were kept home on these days, who couldn't participate in birthday parties in class and who couldn't say the Pledge of Allegiance. No one really seemed to care, including those kids. It was what it was. Perhaps if the number of kids kept home far exceeded those in school on that particular day, the school boards should re-think their policies, but last I checked, it was majority rule, not "bend over backwards to make the minority happy".

    And FWIW, I have no qualms about giving kids instruction in other religions major holidays or having those holidays off as increasing numbers of school districts have done.

    Posted by phe November 2, 09 07:11 AM
  1. You said:
    "Halloween is thought to have started with the Celtic festival Samhain, in which the souls of the dead were thought to return to their former homes to be entertained by the living, who offered food and shelter to them in order to ward off evil spells. Later -- in about 8 A.D. -- Pope Gregory IV decreed that the Feast of All Saints, which was celebrated in May, be held on November 1 instead. (Some historians say that it was Pope Gregory VII who did this, sometime around 1080; either way, the point is that it was established independently from the Pagan celebration.) "

    And you are contradicting yourself. The "Feast of All Saints" was not "established independently from the Pagan celebration". It was established on purpose to displace the Pagan celebration, as you well noted just above. Christianity invented all these "holydays" to replace the well established Pagan celebrations because they couldn't tolerate people celebrating or worshiping something else. How pathetic is that?

    Thanks for commenting, Ogs. Please click through the links in that paragraph to get the original sources. My point is that while some are condemning Halloween as a purely Pagan ritual and/or a celebration of evil, the Church had established their own event, though originally in May and later moved to November, to celebrate in a similar way. -- LMA

    Posted by ogs November 2, 09 03:15 PM
  1. I hate PC people... This world sucks not.... If I don't believe in it then YOU can't do it in school... What a joke.... Halloween has nothing to do with religion now... Nothing.... Kids like to dress up and get candy.... Don't like it then go away...

    Posted by HatePCpeople November 2, 09 03:27 PM
  1. As a practicing witch I want to let everyone know that the American celebration known as Halloween, and our celebration known as Samhain are two very different things.

    On Halloween small children go door to door and ask for candy. People decorate their homes with cartoon versions of skulls, gravestones and mythical creatures.

    On Samhain I and several thousand people like me have a silent salt-less dinner. No one speaks at all. To allow the spirits of those who passed step over the veil between worlds. We know they are well and they know we are good. What is so terrible about a holiday where friends and family have passed on are remembered.

    Candles are lit, and photos of loved ones and items that help us remember them, and they way they were.

    When was the last time anyone reading this blog even thought about family and friends who have passed on?

    The wheel of the year then turns and a new year starts. I don't care if children do or do not put on costumes and go to school once a year. It has as little to do with Samhain as bunny rabbits and colored eggs do with the Sunday after the first full moon of spring.

    Posted by Fibro Witch November 3, 09 10:25 PM
  1. Thanks Fibro Witch--appreciate the perspective!

    Posted by a reader November 4, 09 12:44 PM
  1. Fibro Witch - I think of my family and friends who have passed on every day. I don't need a special night to do this. I welcome their spirits into my heart and home every morning when I wake up. But I'm neither pagan nor witch.

    Be care when you ask questions like that. You may actually get an answer.

    Posted by Phe November 6, 09 12:18 PM
 
15 comments so far...
  1. What a nightmare we've been having in our school/town. We are a small school, 150 students. Our school board was just forced by a very few to adopt a policy about holidays/celebrations. I thought the same thing. If you just took Christmas away, mind you 99% of the townspeople wanted to include all the religions represented in town, than how on earth are you still allowing Halloween?! Our school board is supposed to represent the people. We voted them in. But the Jewish family that had the reindeer removed last year that the kindergarteners made that were hanging in the hallway, insisted that they adopt a policy that ultimately took our Christmas away. The people in our town want INCLUSION not EXCLUSION. Teach the children about all beliefs and tolerance, don’t create another generation of hate and ignorance!

    Posted by Jacki October 30, 09 02:41 PM
  1. Why don't we just include holidays and use that as a teachable moment?

    Start the school year off with the high holy days of the Jewish Calendar, make a point of doing stuff like Diwali and Ramadan. And seriously, let's all calm down. My kid dressing up as Dora the Explorer doesn't endanger your religious beliefs. That, or like on other holy days, let people who have a problem with it keep their kids home.

    Posted by c October 30, 09 02:53 PM
  1. Yes, let's be tolerant rather than not. Keep Halloween if you're going to teach about Christmas, Kwanzaa and Ramadan. In a lot of towns, Jewish holidays like Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana are no-school days for everyone. Just as Good Friday is in a lot of places. And does anyone really believe Winter Break isn't Christmas break? Does this mean schools are promoting these religions? No, just that they recognize they exist and are tolerant of the fact that they mean a lot to some groups of people. For a few Wiccans and similar groups, Halloween means something more too. Let's be inclusive!

    Posted by MM October 30, 09 03:26 PM
  1. Look, if you don't want your kid exposed to any beliefs other than your own, then cough up for a private religious school. Look at all the Halloween stores, merchandise, specials, movies and all that. No way is this even remotely like a religious holiday any more, regardless of the origins. It is kids dressing up and having fun. You don't want your kid to participate? Fine. But you're not going to generate tolerance by spoiling it for the rest of the folks.

    And incidentally, I am a Catholic, and every year in my Catholic elementary school we had a halloween party, with costumes and all. Somehow, none of us grew up to be axe murdering atheists.

    Posted by BMS October 30, 09 04:04 PM
  1. You could have picked a more mainstream saint you know. Saint Lucy? What about Bartholomew or Sebastian? Much more gruesome in their martyrdom.

    Catholic Home and Garden gave St. Lucy as an example of an excellent costume choice for a sweet young girl. They also suggested dressing your entire large family in black with tinfoil and red cellophane "flames" so you can trick and treat all together as souls in purgatory. Here's the link (scroll to the bottom for costume suggestions): http://www.catholichomeandgarden.com/Catholics_coping_with_halloween.htm">sprinkling blessed salt on your doorstep -- LMA

    Posted by MJP October 30, 09 05:02 PM
  1. My opinion: Halloween is a Hallmark holiday.

    My one issue: your statement that "[m]ost Evangelical Christians and many devout Catholics consider all aspects of Halloween to be "of the occult." I fit very firmly into the former category, and I grew up in latter. I don't know most of "us," so I won't make such sweeping assertions as that. Got proof? Cite it. Don't? Practice restraint.

    My example: my church had a trunk or treat last week, and we're dour Lutherans. Not one person in our very diverse congregation raised any question about it. And many of the other churches in our quite conservative part of town are holding parties and H-ween related functions, to give kids a safe place to go and for fellowship purposes.

    Jeremy(!) -- The original reference came from the Beliefnet.org article I cited later in the story. But in looking at it again, I think I wasn't clear... Fundamentalism may be the most conservative faction of Evangelicalism, but not all Evangelical Christians are Fundamentalists -- and the Fundamentalists are most likely to believe that Halloween and its trappings are of the occult. I've changed that line in the post to reflect this.

    Anyway, sources:
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/hallo_ev.htm

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1030/p01s03-ussc.html

    http://khanya.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/evangelicals-and-halloween/

    http://www.fillthevoid.org/Occult/TenReasonsChristiansShouldNotCelebrateHalloween.htm (I cited this one in the post, but for some reason it's redirecting to an error 404 page when you click through. Copy and paste to see the info)

    http://www.beliefnet.com/Love-Family/Holidays/Banning-Halloween.aspx (also in the post, above)

    I like the example you gave of what your church does -- and I agree that Halloween is a Hallmark holiday, rather than a religious one. Also: I can't quite wrap my mind around the idea of you as "dour"! -- LMA

    Posted by Jeremy! October 30, 09 05:12 PM
  1. The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos.Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won't feel
    stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith.
    Muslim schools are working to try to create a bridge between communities.
    There is a belief among ethnic minority parens that the British schooling does not adequatly address their cultural needs. Failing to meet this need could result in feeling resentment among a group who already feel excluded. Setting up Muslim school is a defensive response.

    State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue. According to a number of studies, a child will not learn a second language if his first language is ignored.

    Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual
    Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Muslims have the right to educate their children in an environment that suits their
    culture. This notion of "integration", actually means "assimilation", by which people generally really mean "be more like me". That is not multiculturalism. In Sydney, Muslims were refused to build a Muslim school,
    because of a protest by the residents. Yet a year later, permission was given for the building of a Catholic school and no protests from the residents. This clrearly shows the blatant hypocrisy, double standards and
    racism. Christians oppose Muslim schools in western countries yet build their own religious schools.

    British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism. The result is that Muslim children are unable to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leave schools with low grades. Racism is deeply rooted in British society. Every native child is born with a gene or virus of racism, therefore, no law could change the attitudes of racism towards those who are different. It is not only the common man, even member of the royal family is involved in racism. The father of a Pakistani office cadet who was called a "Paki" by Prince Harry
    has profoundly condemned his actions. He had felt proud when he met the Queen and the Prince of Wales at his son's passing out parade at Sandhurst
    in 2006 but now felt upset after learning about the Prince's comments. Queen Victoria invited an Imam from India to teach her Urdu language. He was highly respected by the Queen but other members of the royal family had no respect for him. He was forced to go back to India. His protrait is still in one of the royal places.

    There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools with bilingual Muslim teachers. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

    Posted by Iftikhar October 31, 09 04:33 PM
  1. If the [muslims] can pray 10 times a day in school, the kids should be allowed to celebrate Halloween and Christmas. This PC world is getting to be a pain in the but. Just because you don't celebrate it, doesn't mean it shouldn't be. Don't like it? Keep your kid home that day, or home school your kid.

    This comment has been edited to remove the ethnic slurs. --LMA

    Posted by Dead Don November 1, 09 11:18 AM
  1. kids like dressing up in spooky costumes and getting free candy. it has nothing to do with religion. end of story. maybe it did 200 years ago, but not now, this debate is no different than any other religious debate. they're all idiotic.

    and what if we the people refuse to stop celebrating halloween? will religious extremists eventually come blasting with their guns? will they burn halloween candy in fiery pyres in the streets? organize protests, boycotts and cross-burnings in front of stores that sell costumes and candy? might we eventually see suicide bombings of halloween costume stores? costumed children hanging from trees? how far are they willing to take their religious outrage?

    SO... if you're not going to start a religious war over halloween, then sit the heck down and shut the frak up. it's stuff like this that convinces the adults around here that religions are just houses for the insane.

    Posted by a. sane man November 1, 09 11:20 AM
  1. [facepalm] I almost blogged on this topic over the weekend (I hadn't read this yet so glad I didn't), but most of the Catholic references I found discussed Halloween safety and using Halloween as a "teaching tool" to revitalize it's significance in Catholic dogma (it's All Saints Day). There was little opposition to the idea of dressing up and begging for candy though. Well, except for a few of the very conservative sects...

    Growing up in a Catholic household, I was never made aware of this holy day either at home or in CCD. In the public schools, no mention whatsoever was made of Halloween's religious significance in either the Catholic church (in a predominately Catholic area) or as a pagan holiday. To us, it was simply the one night out of the year when we could dress up in costume, possibly win an award at school for our costume and then later, go out for the Mother Lode. Since sweets like candy were somewhat rare in our house, there was a lot of anticipatory excitement over this prospect.

    I'd be well and truly saddened if the schools around us took away all holidays, including Halloween. I'm of the same mind as a few other commenters here: If your religion is that expressly against the holiday (or any other, for that matter), you are free to keep your kids home that day and use that time as teaching tool yourself. We had 3 Jehovas Witness kids in school with us who were kept home on these days, who couldn't participate in birthday parties in class and who couldn't say the Pledge of Allegiance. No one really seemed to care, including those kids. It was what it was. Perhaps if the number of kids kept home far exceeded those in school on that particular day, the school boards should re-think their policies, but last I checked, it was majority rule, not "bend over backwards to make the minority happy".

    And FWIW, I have no qualms about giving kids instruction in other religions major holidays or having those holidays off as increasing numbers of school districts have done.

    Posted by phe November 2, 09 07:11 AM
  1. You said:
    "Halloween is thought to have started with the Celtic festival Samhain, in which the souls of the dead were thought to return to their former homes to be entertained by the living, who offered food and shelter to them in order to ward off evil spells. Later -- in about 8 A.D. -- Pope Gregory IV decreed that the Feast of All Saints, which was celebrated in May, be held on November 1 instead. (Some historians say that it was Pope Gregory VII who did this, sometime around 1080; either way, the point is that it was established independently from the Pagan celebration.) "

    And you are contradicting yourself. The "Feast of All Saints" was not "established independently from the Pagan celebration". It was established on purpose to displace the Pagan celebration, as you well noted just above. Christianity invented all these "holydays" to replace the well established Pagan celebrations because they couldn't tolerate people celebrating or worshiping something else. How pathetic is that?

    Thanks for commenting, Ogs. Please click through the links in that paragraph to get the original sources. My point is that while some are condemning Halloween as a purely Pagan ritual and/or a celebration of evil, the Church had established their own event, though originally in May and later moved to November, to celebrate in a similar way. -- LMA

    Posted by ogs November 2, 09 03:15 PM
  1. I hate PC people... This world sucks not.... If I don't believe in it then YOU can't do it in school... What a joke.... Halloween has nothing to do with religion now... Nothing.... Kids like to dress up and get candy.... Don't like it then go away...

    Posted by HatePCpeople November 2, 09 03:27 PM
  1. As a practicing witch I want to let everyone know that the American celebration known as Halloween, and our celebration known as Samhain are two very different things.

    On Halloween small children go door to door and ask for candy. People decorate their homes with cartoon versions of skulls, gravestones and mythical creatures.

    On Samhain I and several thousand people like me have a silent salt-less dinner. No one speaks at all. To allow the spirits of those who passed step over the veil between worlds. We know they are well and they know we are good. What is so terrible about a holiday where friends and family have passed on are remembered.

    Candles are lit, and photos of loved ones and items that help us remember them, and they way they were.

    When was the last time anyone reading this blog even thought about family and friends who have passed on?

    The wheel of the year then turns and a new year starts. I don't care if children do or do not put on costumes and go to school once a year. It has as little to do with Samhain as bunny rabbits and colored eggs do with the Sunday after the first full moon of spring.

    Posted by Fibro Witch November 3, 09 10:25 PM
  1. Thanks Fibro Witch--appreciate the perspective!

    Posted by a reader November 4, 09 12:44 PM
  1. Fibro Witch - I think of my family and friends who have passed on every day. I don't need a special night to do this. I welcome their spirits into my heart and home every morning when I wake up. But I'm neither pagan nor witch.

    Be care when you ask questions like that. You may actually get an answer.

    Posted by Phe November 6, 09 12:18 PM
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Send your questions to her at:
meltzbarbara (at) gmail.com.
Please include your name and hometown.

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High needs/fussy baby

memes98 writes "My 10.5 month old DS has been fussy ever since he was born, but I am getting very frustrated because I thought he would be much better by now...has anyone else been through this?"

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