Why I Don’t Celebrate Halloween
LAST YEAR, while his neighbors were busy preparing for Halloween—in some countries, a popular annual holiday with strong spiritistic overtones—14-year-old Michael in Canada had other things on his mind. In an essay that he wrote for school, Michael stated:
‘Tonight is the night before Halloween. As I look outside my window, I see that all my neighbors’ lawns are decorated with tombstones and skeletons and that jack-o’-lanterns light their windows.a Parents are making adjustments to their children’s costumes; children are dreaming about how much candy they’ll get tomorrow.
‘My family is different. Our lawn isn’t decorated, and our windows aren’t lit up. People ask me why I don’t celebrate Halloween. Basically, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate it because of its origins.b
‘Surprisingly, I like Halloween time. “Why?” you may ask. Because it makes me think. It makes me think about the reason I choose not to do certain things. Each person has to answer for himself whether the origins of a custom matter. I think that the origins do matter. For example, most people would get upset if their neighbors got dressed up as Nazis. Why? Because of the origins of Nazi uniforms and what they stand for—principles that most people find offensive. I find the principles offensive that the devil, wicked spirits, and witches represent, and I don’t want to be associated with them. It’s good to think about the choices we make and our reasons for making them and to make choices based on principle rather than on what is popular. That’s why I like this time of year. I am proud to be different and to stand by what I believe in.’
a A jack-o’-lantern is a hollowed-out pumpkin that has cuttings making it resemble a face, with a nose, a mouth, and eyes. A candle or other type of light is placed inside.
b For more information, see Awake! of October 8, 2001, pages 5-10.