Halloween's Origins

Although Halloween as we know it emerged from several sources, its name has a Christian beginning. In Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church, Laurence Hull Stookey explains that the early church ran out of days on which to commemorate its martyrs and saints. To solve this “crisis,” one date became “a kind of omnibus occasion” commemorating them all. Believers in different places kept this festival on various dates until, in 837, Pope Gregory IV fixed November 1 as All Saints’ Day. In medieval England, it was called Alholowmesse, “All Hallows’ Mass.” The night before was “All Hallows’ Eve,” ultimately shortened by the 18th century to “Halloween.” 

Halloween encompasses a theme of death (how the saints died), as well as anything frightening. More conservative Christians say that it is of the devil. But fear, and fear of death, is something that is real for anyone, and not a sign of abandonment of religion. It's reality – children have fears, and ignoring them is not necessarily the best way to overcome. 

So, on Halloween, let the kids dress up as something fearful. Laugh with them, then give them candy. Fears don't hang around much after that. 

Frightfully, Jeannie