I’ve learned more stuff researching this topic this year.
First off, Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, including All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day, are all a Catholic co-opting of a pagan holiday of Northern Europe and the British Isles. All Saint’s Day is there because the pagan holiday was there and a positive spin on it was needed…nobody was going to keep the locals from having their festival, so the festival had to be converted, too. This fit in with the need to have a feast day for all the saints who wouldn’t fit on the calendar.
As nearly as I can tell, the pagans used to dress up as all sorts of fantastic animals for this festival, a festival in which they imagined the spiritual world, including the world of the dead, was very close.
One of those fantastic animal types would be a ram or a bull, which was symbolic of the masculine…and whether that was abstract aspects of one divinity or not, who knows, because they didn’t write any of this down.
The human with the horns, then, became the symbol of evil when the Christians did their dress-up, because it was a recognizable version of the pagan diety. Christians would dress up not just as saints, but as angels, demons, and, as nearly as I can tell, virtues and vices. It was kind of like a morality play run amok. The festival became one in which one would keep in mind one’s eternal fate.
Interestingly, the natives in Mexico had a similar festival in mid-summer. When the Christian missionaries arrived, it was moved to coincide with the European All Saint’s and All Soul’s Day, which is why the Mexican Days of the Dead now fall at the same time.
If one dresses up as a devil for Halloween, the whole point is to remind people that their present choices have eternal consequences! Remember, we used to have gargoyles and demons depicted on our cathedrals and churches.
Jesus did, you might remember, allow the demons to speak occasionally…just occasionally. Remember, also, that he was accused himself of being allied with demons because he was able to cast them out. Confronting our fear of evil is not in and of itself evil.
What children must learn to avoid is seeking to have power in anything other than God. Dressing up like a devil is not the same as consulting tarot cards or ouija boards or casting spells with the intention of working one’s own will through supernatural or spiritual means. When we are in the world of the spiritual, we need to be certain that the only spirit guide we will accept is the Holy Spirit.
As for the satanists, there appear to be two kinds, both of which are small groups. One is a bunch of atheists who like to tweak the noses of Christians by doing exactly what the Christians won’t do. They don’t believe a word of it, but they like the fear and consternation they can provoke by doing it. The other group, which appears to be even smaller than the first, are as nearly as I can tell a bunch of sociopaths and psychopaths who are mentally incapable of understanding what love is on an emotional level. I won’t go into it any more except to say that they are some sick cookies. This is not something a normal kid is going to go do.
There are very few people like this, but they are the people who make it necessary to lock the tabernacles.
Those who attempted to re-create the European nature religions did go back to celebrating Halloween, but theirs is nothing like the secular blood and gore thing. The wiccan celebration attempts to make contact with the spirit world. They don’t do trick-or-treating or dress up like ghouls. Wicca is a religion with a sense of being under persecution and a religion that can be practice privately. It concentrates on ritual and finding one’s own personal unique connection to the universe, as well as a sense that one can make a difference in the world through spell casting. It seems to have a great attraction to young people who feel disaffected from organized religion or to those who don’t have a mystical tradition in their own religion.