In an article appearing on Catholic Exchange, journalist Mary Rezac interviewed Father Vincent Lampert, an exorcist and parish priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis who travels around the country teaching people how to protect themselves against the demonic.
When it comes to deciding what to do about Halloween, he recommends that parents remember the Christian origins of the holiday and to celebrate it in Christian ways, rather than in ways that celebrate evil.
"Ultimately I don't think there's anything wrong with the kids putting on a costume, dressing up as a cowboy or Cinderella, and going through the neighborhood and asking for candy; that's all good clean fun," Fr. Lampert said.
Even a sheet with some holes cut in it as a ghost is fine, he added.
But parents should draw the line when it comes to costumes that glorify evil or instill fear in others. They should also avoid costumes that refer to “special powers” such as magic or witchcraft. Even when doing so just for entertainment, this is a problem.
"In the book of Deuteronomy, in chapter 18, it talks about not trying to consult the spirits of the dead, not consulting those who dabble in magic and witchcraft and the like," Father Lampert said, "because it's a violation of a church commandment that people are putting other things ahead of their relationship with God."
"And that would be the danger of Halloween that somehow God is lost in all of this, the religious connotation is lost and then people end up glorifying evil."
One of the best things parents can do is to use Halloween as a teachable moment, Fr. Lampert said.
"A lot of children are out celebrating Halloween, perhaps evil is being glorified, but we're not really sitting around and talking about why certain practices are not conducive with our Catholic faith and our Catholic identity. I think using it as a teachable moment would be a great thing to do."
Rezac interviewed Kate Lesnefsky, a mother of seven children ranging in age from three to 16 who says it’s important for Catholics not to shun Halloween completely.
"I think as Christians we're so used to being against the world, that sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot, even though it might have been something that actually came from us," she said. "But then we lose the history of it, and we think, 'Oh well this is the devil's day,' just because some people say it is."
While she allows her children to pick out their costumes for trick-or-treating, anything too scary or demonic is off-limits.
The next day, her children attend Mass for All Saints Day, and the family uses this time to talk about what it means when someone passes away, and what it takes to become a saint.
"I have a sister that died when I was 19, so we talk about different people that we know in heaven, or my grandparents, and we'll talk about different saints," Lesnefsky said.
For her family, Halloween is a time to be a witness in the culture.
Regardless of one's level of involvement in Halloween, everyone should agree on the fact that it originated as a Christian holiday and the only way to preserve the true meaning of this night is to take advantage of this very valuable teaching moment!
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