So now that I’ve gotten some traditions and history of Halloween out of the way I think we can get into some of the propaganda and garbage that is inevitably floating around about Halloween.
Is Halloween/Hallowmas “The Devil’s Holiday?”
Certainly not. This is ridiculous. It does not now, nor has it ever had anything to do with the devil, demons or hell. As from my last three articles you can see that the current traditions surrounding October 31st to November 2nd are almost entirely Christian in origin. What pagan traditions happen to surround that time of year aren’t about human sacrifice, worshiping the devil or any of that nonsense. The Celtic Samhain was about making sure you were prepared for winter, moving livestock, and celebrating the end of summer, and the beginning of their new year. While the Roman Lemuria was about appeasing the dead, it took place during a totally different time of year, and Hallowmas may or may not have anything to do with it.
The devil, demon and witch costumes are, oddly enough entirely Christian conceptions of devils, demons and witches. I would find it odd if actual evil ancient pagan cults bore any semblance at all to them. There are hardly any evil pagans, pagan religions and any pagan religions that might have been evil were probably wiped out by their pagan neighbors a long, long time ago. They probably didn’t worship anything remotely like a Christian concept of the devil, much less have anything much like a pointy hat wearing old crone.
If you are a Christian and that sort of thing makes you uncomfortable, remember, all the silliness is fairly new. Most of it isn’t ancient tradition, it goes back to the late renaissance at best, some of it is even new world tradition that goes back to the middle ages. If you want to “Take back Halloween” go back to 609 and remember what Hallowmas was supposed to be. Take back those real thousand year old traditions. Light candles, put them out on your porch and hold the vigil for the dead. Tell your children stories about their dead ancestors. Take them to the cemeteries on All Souls day. Remember the dead, this is the time for it. That’s what the early Christians did.
Do the spirits of the dead really roam the world during Halloween?
I was surprised to find out that this was in fact a Christian belief. It seems to not have been borrowed from pagan traditions at all. There seems to be a lot of thought that it was the other way around, somewhat like the jack-o-lanterns and candles might have been borrowed from Christians by Pagans.
However, this could be a holdover from Lemuria. Though, again, it’s possible that this is a legitimate early Catholic, or early Christian belief, that at certain times the saints might be able to communicate with or be seen by the living. For my fellow Protestants consider the dead rising during the crucifixion and the idea of Lazarus talking to Abraham from hell. While I’m not a believer in this idea, I find it interesting that this is not in fact a borrowed belief. I think most Christians, Catholic or not have probably forgone this idea today though.
Do Satanists practice human sacrifices on Halloween?
I tend to think not. Your basic modern Satanist is either a teenager wanting attention, or a humanist. Either way they aren’t likely practicing human sacrifice. The great “Satanic Panic” of the 80’s and 90’s was a huge load of horse crap. You can check out some resources here and see for yourself. Even if it were true, why even worry about it? Do you know any hardcore devil worshiping cultists that sacrifice people, and animals? That sort of thing tends to draw attention. If so please tell local law enforcement immediately. Human sacrifice is murder, period. Fortunately it’s almost unheard of.
Do pagans practice weirdo rituals on Halloween?
Probably. Some neo-pagans, and practitioners of your western non-mainstream organized religions (I’m referring to the big ones and their variants: Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism) might have some things they do during the season. Lots of Wiccans, and other neo-pagans, and shamanistic practitioners will have some ceremonies and stuff they do during the season. Don’t bother them unless they’re doing something illegal in your particular jurisdiction.
I’ve heard of people doing animal sacrifices and stuff during different parts of the year. This is not typical. I would contact law enforcement if you see this sort of thing going on. It depends on your region, and whether it’s on private property. It might fall under animal abuse, or it might not. Again, for most neo-pagan groups, this isn’t normal and they don’t do this, and you’d have to be pretty brazen to sacrifice chickens or whatever right in the open. I’m all for religious expression, but there are some lines you really shouldn’t cross, at least in public.
Frankly, Christians do weirdo ceremonies this time of year what with masses, church services, candle vigils and prayer groups. The Wiccans doing a circle or whatever in the park or around their home isn’t any different. Go watch, sometimes it’s pretty interesting.
Did that small girl/teenager/hooker get eaten by that axe murderer/snake/wolf/dog/rabbit on Halloween back in ’34 in the haunted house?
Every town has these awesome urban legends. My own town has this amusement park called “Wonderland” that has one of those scary house rides called the “Fantastic Journey” that was built by the original owner (By hand! He bent the rails himself!). When I was a kid the story was that someone’s pet python once had gotten lose in the ride and you could see it slithering around in bottom of the ride, and it would occasionally kill people and eat them during the ride, especially on Halloween night. Occasionally someone would say they saw two people go into the ride and one come out, or there’d be an empty cart come out of the ride. The same story would be told as a murderer or even “Jason” from the Friday the 13th movie series.
Now while the snake story is totally true in our case, it’s never true anywhere else. The Jason thing is made up, but I swear I saw that snake once. People tend to associate scary things with Halloween, because it’s a scary night.
Check out my other articles on Halloween debunking some of the other nonsense: