Teaching your kids about Halloween is a very simple thing: be honest. A lot of people might like to pretend that it isn’t a real holiday, that it’s just a day for make-believe, and that, somehow, wishing that were true hard enough would somehow make it real. However, this kind of self-delusion is hardly a good example for the kids. Teaching your children to ignore history is even worse.
It seems that the heart of this issue deals with fears of ‘devil worship’ being an unavoidable aspect of Halloween. Worry not! Halloween has never been a tool of Satan.
In ancient times, Halloween was a festival in memorial of ancestors long gone and all those who passed during the year. It was a sort of community funeral service, but in a celebratory format. The Christianized version deals with All Saints Day, much like Christmas Eve precedes Christmas Day. Halloween is literally short for “Hallowed Evening”, or ‘Sacred Night’ – not night as in ‘Prince of Darkness’, but night as in Christmas Eve is ‘the night before Christmas happened’.
Kids are smart. The truth will suffice better than any lie, no matter how well intentioned. Halloween isn’t about candy and costumes any more than Christmas is about presents; Halloween is about honoring the memory of loved ones who have passed. The costumes and Jack-o-lanterns are just regalia, like robes at a baptism. They are tradition meant to set the celebration apart from ‘every day’ as something special, something sacred.
Sure, there are idiots out there who think that somehow the link with the dead creates some kind of unholy diabolic channel to the underworld, allowing them to work rituals dealing with what they think is the will of their lord. But again, honesty is always the best policy: if you must address this, be clear that those people are simply morons, and haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.
There is nothing to hide, and nothing to worry about, when teaching your children about Halloween. Just remember, as with any holiday, there is a real history somewhere behind the commercialism. Once you know that history yourself, you needn’t worry about silly things like Satanic rites and other such nonsense.