Around the end of October, the Relevant Radio® hosts get lots of calls about if or how to celebrate Halloween as Catholics. And while some people in our society do take Halloween as an opportunity to glorify the gruesome and the occult, simple things like trick-or-treating at Halloween are harmless fun.
In fact, Greg Erlandson, editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service, says that not only is Halloween harmless, it’s a great holiday! He wrote an article called Don’t Let Halloween Scare You and stopped by Morning Air® to discuss the parts of Halloween that are worth celebrating.
Erlandson said, “I hate the idea that we get so caught up in either the hidden meanings or the fear that someone is going to do something to our kids that we shut ourselves off from everything. Halloween is this time when we’re actually engaging with people, and that’s to be celebrated.”
Morning Air host John Harper recalled dressing up as St. Patrick one Halloween when he was a child, and they discussed how the costumes that many children wear are something to celebrate.
On children dressing up as saints on Halloween, Erlandson said, “Some people take that really literally and we can have St. Gregory, St. Patrick, and others. But also there are people who do great, admirable work. Someone may dress up as a policeman or a fireman. There is value in that.”
“And even superheroes! Last year in my neighborhood Black Panther was probably the #1 costume for the little kids. And that’s basically the story of a superhero conquering evil and the triumph of the good guys. So it’s not a saint in the way we understand it, but certainly the idea of good triumphing over evil is a story we want to be telling.”
In a year of quarantine and social distancing, you’ve likely spent a lot more time at home this year. But have you gotten to know the people who live next door? Halloween is a great opportunity to get out, meet your neighbors, and celebrate Halloween as a community. Erlandson pointed out that for many it is the only night of the year when neighbors really get to know each other.
He said, “One of the things I think is great about Halloween is it’s really a neighborhood celebration. Fundamentally, Halloween is a time when the neighbors get to know each other. And I think that’s one of my great memories.”
“So often we live in our houses and we don’t know our neighbors. We know celebrities on TV better than we know the person living next door. And all of a sudden you’re out with your kids, you’re walking door to door, the moms are greeting the kids who come up with the candy. It’s a great moment of interaction. I think that’s something that gets forgotten.”