Witch one is better?

So here's a funny cultural dynamic.

Today is Halloween. The day for folks to dress up in all kinds of costumes and do stuff. No, not prom, that's more expensive. And in the spring. More in a later post on the similarities between prom and Halloween. Anyway - so we have a child and we're in the USA and so we're rolling with it.

Deacon will be a turtle. If you have a religious reason for Deacon not to dress up as a turtle, please enlighten me. And it's not a Teenage nor a Mutant turtle - just a turtle. With a velcro-removable shell. And a little turtle helmet.

So here's what's funny to me. We're looking at what to do so Deacon can experience a little American culture and we have two options: Trick-or-treat, or Harvest Festival.

Trick-or-treating involves dressing up, going out in a neighborhood (with us, of course) and going door to door asking for candy. We both did it as kids and it's sort of a threat-for-candy ransom. You knock on the door and tell the occupants that they have 2 choices. Either they give you some candy (because you dressed up in something cool or cute or scary or funny) or you will do something bad to them (typically vandalism - named for the Vandals who sacked Rome). I mean, that's what it is. And I had a hoot at it as a kid. After you fill up your plastic pumpkin or pillow case or whatever, you return home, check the candy for razorblades, and eat until you slip into an insulin coma. At least that's how I remember it.

A Harvest Festival is the Christian equivalent. Held at a church or somewhere public, kids usually dress up as something (but not usually something scary) and attend fun, harvest themed events. Go home, don't have to check for razorblades, and eat until they slip into an insulin coma. This is an alternative to celebrating Halloween as a pagan holiday. Or a safer alternative, which is a good idea given all the sickos out there. But the alternative to celebrating it really?

I'll give you that there are some people who celebrate All Hallow's (All Saint's) Eve ("hallowed be Thy name" - same word there. fascinating) as the night for evil before a day of good. I know Wiccans and druid type folk are about and that there really is evil out there and that celebrating evil is always bad. But going to a Halloween party versus a Harvest Festival - what's the difference?

I don't see any...anyone have some insight?

We're doing both.


Anonymous said...

I don't have insight, but I do have a dinner invite. Email me firstname_lastname at intuit dot com (to my chagrin I don't have your email)


cookiehawk77 said...

I learned something interesting recently. In Israel, the pumpkin has a special meaning. Way back who knows when, people worshiped their false gods by child sacrifice. Those who fulfilled their obligation were given a pumpkin to put on their doorstep to ward off the evil spirits. Interesting. Not just the Druids, I guess.

Personally, I'm not a fan of Halloween. I can't see anything redeeming about it -- even the sugar coma. But other christians embrace it wholeheartedly. We have done the Harvest Festival, but I even prefer it when it is on another night.

Do they have something akin to Halloween in Guatemala? What do they think about our American obsession with it?

Tina said...

I've personally always struggled with Halloween. It's fun to dress the kids up and meet new neighbors, etc, but the only reason we really participate at all is because of extended family's obsession with the whole thing. Every year, I think it would be great to not participate at all and just treat it like another day, but then, there's explaining to the kids once they are old enough to understand... Isn't parenting in America such a fascinating and scary experience?? :)