Halloween

Discussion in 'Prayer Request Forum' started by kingsworker, Oct 9, 2004.

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  1. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    Oct 9, 2004

    This is in response to a recent thread "Seperation of Church and State". However, I feel this is an entirely different topic, so I thought it a good idea to start a new thread. Anyway, some people were discussing Halloween and whether or not we should celebrate it.
    As a teacher at a Christian school, this has been a touchy subject. We have some students who truly have no clue about Christianity. They are not taught it at home, their parents expect us to teache it and then they do whatever at home...fine. Then we have others who are the exact opposite; they take religion to the extreme.
    Our school's policy (unwritten of course) is that we won't be celebrating Halloween at school, however, you can do whatever at home. It's up to your parents to decide. I've given the kids a historical look at the origins of Halloween, because many kept talking about it being Satan's birthday and it was driving me nuts that no one had told these children why they didn't want them to celebrate Halloween. Instead they had simplified it to "Satan's birthday" which of course we teach the opposite. Satan didn't have a "birthday" just the same as God was never "born" and will never "die". The kids in my class are old enough to know there was more to Halloween than Satan and started asking questions. I gave them a brief overview, and basically told them to talk to their parents and pray with them before they make a decision about Halloween.
    Personally, I have no problem with kids dressing up and trick or treating. I can't say that I'd want my kids going to haunted houses or dressing up as demons, but there is nothing wrong (in my opinion) with a little girl wanting to dress up as a princess and go get some candy.
    The great thing about where I live is that there are so many other fun things to do for Halloween than to make trouble. We have a corn maze, pumpkin patch, fall festivals. Even some of the churches have a "fall fest" where the kids can come get candy and prizes, even dress up in costume. Some of the churches have a lock in where the kids stay up all night eating junk food (of course :p ), playing games, and watching movies. A lot of the older kids enjoy this a lot more than "boring haunted houses".
    Okay, I've rambled enough...that's my two cents worth (if you think it's worth that) :)
     
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  3. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    I've heard an argument that it's wrong to even have alternative activities, because it makes it seem as though we're 'missing out', since we don't celebrate halloween. Myself, I don't agree with halloween but we do go to harvest/fall festivals. My main gripe is with people who go back and forth- it's okay this year, but not okay next year. You can't have it both ways.
     
  4. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Oct 9, 2004

    I think that is good advice: "I gave them a brief overview, and basically told them to talk to their parents and pray with them before they make a decision about Halloween."

    Isn't Halloween rooted in a Christian holiday? From the limited studying I have done on Holidays, there are a lot of holidays featuring opposite beliefs that occur at the same time of the year.

    Does anyone know?
     
  5. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    Oct 10, 2004

    Halloween is actually rooted in a Druid celebration, the Christian celebration came along later as All Saint's Day. Eventually, it all got kinda' blended together (as most traditions do by the time we get them) and became Halloween. A good website with an overview of the main facts about Halloween is: www.historychannel.com/exhibits/halloween/
    if you're interested in finding out more. I checked it out a few days ago just to be sure I wasn't confusing any of the things I thought about the holiday. I'm glad you agreed with my advice, Amanda. That was a tough discussion b/c I knew there were so many different opinions at home.
     
  6. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Oct 10, 2004

    In my old school, everything depended on the personal whims of the many, many different principals who came and went, came and went, throughout the many years I taught in this building. When my own kids were lower elementary, they got to dress up and parade through the entire K-8 building and show off. Kids without costumes made them in Art. The older kids stood in the doorways and admired the little parades of young students. In later years, with other principals, rules about 'no costumes, no masks, no makeup, etc' were made and sometimes even followed. With my own older students, we concentrated on the evolution of the word, rather than the holiday itself. In old textbooks, it is spelled "Hallowe'en," and in some cultures, it is a time to remember and grieve over our beloved dead. The next day, All Soul's Day, was a time to grieve yet rejoice that we had known them. The people who look for Satan and evil everywhere will always find them in anything and everything that exists; let us try to remember that this works both ways: the people who look for God and good everywhere will always find them in anything and everything that exists, too.

    I'm sorry for the Satan-seekers; they seem to be such dismal, gloomy people. There is so much joy and love in teaching and parenting; why give any of it up because of someone's opinion?

    I do NOT wish to start or participate in any philosophical arguments; this is just the way I think. You can think your way, different or not. This is America, and it's still allowed.

    Sure, there can be evil in Halloween, just as there can be evil in anything if people look hard enough. But there is also great fun, so why can't we concentrate on that aspect of it? And on everything else, too?

    Look for, and concentrate on, the good things about everything you possibly can. Maybe we will graduate happier kids that way.
     
  7. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I have an opinion that I would like to express regarding Halloween. As adults we make the choice whether or not to celebrate Halloween or any other holiday for that matter. When our children are little we pass our beliefs onto them. Children's feelings are tender and they want to please their mom and dad. I do my best to help them do that and many times it involves not celebrating a particular holiday. It doesn't matter what I want or the Administration wants. As for the families that want their child to celebrate Halloween(or some other holiday), they can do so at home. It is a perfect opportunity to teach compassion and tolerance and not infringing on the rights of others.
    This is my opinion and I do not intend to start a debate...we are all entitled to give our opinions...so don't take it personally.
     
  8. Grammy Teacher

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    Oct 10, 2004

    Amanda,
    I have studied religion and the Bible extensively and am very familiar with the roots of all of the holidays. There is so much information about it, I don't even want to begin. If you look up the holidays on the net , there must be tons of information. Maybe under specific holidays such as Origin of Easter. You will be surprised to find that most all holidays have bits and pieces from early Christianity and non-christian ...other "Gods", Etc. I will not discuss it because it would start a huge debate. I personally, don't care what other people believe and don't care to dig into all the whys and wherefores...I did that for too many years ... and learned too much...I feel it is much better to follow your heart.
     
  9. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Oct 10, 2004

    I think my point of view on many issues in this forum is somewhat different because my students are older. I've never taught young children; frankly, they scare me to death!

    I've taught 6th grade through college. Middle school is my favorite. There is just something about that age that I find absolutely charming.
     
  10. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    Oct 14, 2004

    I have to agree little kids scare me....but then again older ones really scare because I'm afraid some are just plain smarter than me!!! heheh! :)
    About what Amanda said, you're right, lots of holidays have both Christian and non-Christian roots or traditions. For that matter, if I'm not mistaken, the date for Christmas was chosen b/c of some other non'Christian holiday that the church wanted to distract from. It was on the 25th and they figured it would be a good day to have Christmas. I can't remember the exact holiday it ended up overshadowing, now. But, Bible scholars agree that Jesus wasn't born in December, he was most likely born in the summer months. Just goes to show how we influence each other, I think.
    -PS it's nice to be able to talk about something and share what we know or ask questions without a debate getting started....so far! :)
     
  11. Grammy Teacher

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    Oct 14, 2004

    Regarding Christmas: In Babylon, the feast of Isis(god of nature) was celebrated on Dec. 25th. It was a time of partying , drinking and gift giving. Regarding Jesus birth...he was most likely not born in December because at the time of his birth, the shepherds were tending their sheep in the fields and that probably would not have been the case ... so scholars figure Jesus was probably born sometime in September.
     
  12. Mamacita

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    Oct 14, 2004

    Much of the Christian doings maintained ties with the pagan; most people don't switch beliefs easily, and having them come to the same old place, even to do something different, probably helped lots of people with the transition. Doing something concerning the new religion at the same times as the old ones probably helped a lot, too. Most of the huge old cathedrals in Europe were built over spots already considered sacred by the ancients. I've heard that one theory about why Jesus changed water into wine was because that was already considered a stock miracle for the Greeks and Romans; therefore, seeing it done would be sure-fire proof of a genuine miracle being done by someone other than Zeus, etc. This is, of course, just someone's theory, but it does sound plausible. (Old as I might be, I wasn't around then to know for sure.) Mythology has always been one of my favorite subjects, and my students always loved it, too. It's surprising how many Greek and Roman mythological references there are in all aspects of our lives, including the Bible!

    As for Halloween (sigh. . . .) anything can be made evil by people who seek to make everything evil.
     
  13. Grammy Teacher

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    Here is my opinion...I don't think it's a matter of people making Halloween "evil." I believe it is all about their personal beliefs and they believe it truly IS evil...and let's face it, there is a lot evil-doing associated with this holiday. There is the fun side and there is the dark side. I personally wish it didn't exist. In our area, black cats have come up missing around Halloween. Now tell me that's no evil doing. Kids dressing up on costume is cute...but candy with poison in it is not...it is a day of pranks and many of them are not funny. We can get by just fine without celebrating this holiday, or any other one for that matter in our schools. There are too many different ways that families believe now days and my feelings are that they can do their celebrating at home. Now I repeat...this js my opinion...and I am not attacking anyone in any way. Believe what you wish...I do not care.
     
  14. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    Oct 16, 2004

    Well, as I've said, my school doesn't celerate Halloween because it is a Christian school and about half of the families don't celebrate it at home. Personally, I've always celebrated it and will this year. Mainly because my fiance and I went on our first date to a "Haunted Forest". We laughed our heads off at how silly we felt each time we jumped! Anyway, we plan on going back each year for an anniversary of sorts as long as they have it. So, really I kinda' look forward to the Halloween season, although not so much Halloween itself. It can be a bit scary, especially living close to the woods with just one neighbor that can actually see the house. You'd better believe I'm gonna' have a tape recording of my dad's dog or something playing near the doors! :)
     
  15. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oct 16, 2004

    A parent of one of my students is a published author. He is going to come in and tell scary stories. We will play lots of games that day, too.
     
  16. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    That has to be pretty cool. Having a published author that you can call on to come talk to your class and read to them!
     
  17. kaislerama

    kaislerama New Member

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    Oct 19, 2004

    I am an education student at a Christian university. Each year, our children's ministry group hosts an event called "Candy, Carving, and Christ" Children from the area come dressed in their costumes. We take them trick-or-treating through the dorms, have Puppet ministry skits, do crafts, and carve pumpkins. Everything relates to Jesus. We talk about how our carving pumpkins is kind of like what Jesus did for us--He got rid of all the ucky stuff (sin) and puts a light inside us to show the world (or something to that effect). Just an interesting way for us to spread the Gospel message even on Halloween!
     
  18. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    Oct 20, 2004

    I Like!!!
     
  19. Nanny

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    Oct 22, 2004

    I teach preschoolers and our program doesn't allow for us to celebrate holidays in the traditional form. On Halloween, we have a fall festival. The children are still allowed to dress up and have a party. Parents have the right to keep their child home if they don't want to participate. Halloween is just like any other holiday, there is going to be meaness from those people that have evil in them. It doesn't matter what the day is, one just hears more about it on Halloween.
     
  20. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    Oct 23, 2004

    Our kids don't get to dress up for Halloween at school, but next month we have a Story Book Day. All the kids get to dress up as their favorite story book characters. We still have to make sure the parents know that witches, ghosts, and ghools aren't allowed (it IS a church school after all), but no one has a problem with it. I think that is the advantage of having such a small (and private) school though. I could see how in public schools it could be a much bigger issue, because there are so many different faiths. I'm just glad I don't have to deal so much with that.
     
  21. krisla

    krisla Guest

    Oct 23, 2004

    The pagan holiday that Christian's were inticed away from was Yule, celebrated around Winter Solsice. Who care's what the holiday is, we all need cause to party during the gruelling winter months.

    :angel:
     
  22. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    I have to agree...with the gray skies being more prevelant in the winter months, I'm all for a reason to party. And more importantly, get a week or so out of school/work!!! :) (And eat lots of food that is full of sugar, carbs, and fat, and get presents, and need I go on? hehehe!)
     
  23. omiof5

    omiof5 Rookie

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    Jane, you're a woman after my own heart. :D
     
  24. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Thank you! I appreciate your kind remark!

    Middle school kids. Old enough to do just about anything you ask of them, and young enough to obey you. Add hormones, stir. Sprinkle with angst. Listen, listen listen. Love them in spite of yourself. Lather, rinse, repeat.
     
  25. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I truly admire you folks, Jane and omiof5 and all of you other middle school teachers. I am elementary through and through. My one exposure to Jr. High almost sent me home from teaching. *shudders* Give me my 4th graders any day! :D
     
  26. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Little kids have no concept of personal space. This freaks me out. Middle School kids understand about personal space very well. Very well indeed. But, when they NEED a hug, they'll initiate it. And when that happens, you know they REALLY need that hug. It's not a "mine mine mine" thing, it's an "I need you" thing. And I am a person who needs to be needed. Or, maybe it's just that I was such a rotten kid that I figure it's payback time. Who knows.
     
  27. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jane

    :p I bet I was more rotten than you were.
     
  28. SleddingSister

    SleddingSister Rookie

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    yeah..it is usually considered all saints day in the catholic schools....
     
  29. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Betcha weren't.
    Personally, I think bad little kids make the best teachers.
    Just like bad teenagers make the best ministers.
    If you've never tried anything yourself, how can you be believable when you teach or counsel others about it? I know I wouldn't give any credence to some Perfect Polly teacher.
     
  30. omiof5

    omiof5 Rookie

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    I agree!! When we first moved to this state, I subbed for a year. When I taught little people, I would walk out to supervision with kids hanging from my arms, legs, and clothes -- they were really cute, but I had to fight the urge to shake them off!! :D

    Jane, have you seen my post at http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=6704? It's called "What Is a Junior Higher" and you would love it.
     
  31. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I teach those "little creatures" and I know what you mean...the hanging on the leg thing, but it only happens if you allow it. That's when I holler at the top of my lungs, 'LET GO OF ME! I AM NOT A TREE!" We all have our places in the line up of teaching and mine is with the cling ons.
     
  32. krisla

    krisla Guest

    Oct 24, 2004

    Anyone working with kids of any age has my respect, thank goodness we all have different preferences. I work with middle schoolers during the summer - what a hoot, hormones in action, and preschooler during the school year. I hear what you all are saying about personal space, but everyday they are teaching me/reminding me how to strive to be a good human being. And I must say my general knowledge of insects, dinosaurs, the planets etc. has improved.
     
  33. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Oh...I must be the exception to that rule...I know I was perfect as a child! :angel:
    A couple of years ago I had Jane as a student. She was a stunningly beautiful little girl, but BAD. She would make herself cry and get away with murder, until she met me. I told her I invented that, and that she would get no sympathy from me. She didn't believe me, so I proved it. I stared at her and started crying. It freaked her out for a minute there. I was crying "Why are you doing this to me? I thought you liked me..." I told her when her crying ability reached the caliber of mine...then we'd talk. I never had a lick of trouble out of her after that...ok, so I didn't have her crying to get out of trouble after that! :D

    Christy
     
  34. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Christy, you're fabulous. :) That's great!
     
  35. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Oct 25, 2004

    I did not. (tee hee)

    And anyway, that wouldn't have worked on me. I never cried. I had other devious means.

    I'll have to agree with you on the 'stunningly beautiful' part, though. The rest is mere coincidence of name.
     
  36. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    :D Chalk it up to being awake too late when I really need to be in bed 'cuz I have to get up extra early in the morning. I'm sure you never even attempted anything like that! :D
     
  37. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Little ones don't need to be impressed as much as the older kids do.
    It takes so much less to keep their attention.
     
  38. kingsworker

    kingsworker Companion

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    I have 4th and 5th graders who remind me way to much of me in 8th grade!!! They're so much more mature now than I remember being! But, in all the bad ways. Like the rolling their eyes because they're too old or too good or too something!!! GRRRR!!!!!!!!! It drives me nuts sometimes! Okay, I feel better....:)
     
  39. learner

    learner New Member

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    Oct 21, 2005

    hi, i am a learner teacher in scotland and for my first ever whole class lesson i am looking at halloween poetry. i was also a little unsure about how it related to Catholicism so had a look at the history channel link. i just wanted to let you know that halloween is a big thing in Scotland. young children go guising. this is similar to trick or treating but as well as dressing up, the children are expected to sing a song/ recite a poem/ perform a wee play etc before they receive any sweets.
    it is nice to read the views of real teachers- one day i will hopefully be in that position!
     
  40. gigi

    gigi Groupie

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    Oct 21, 2005

    I agree with everyone! (how's that!)I LOVE Halloween. I think Thanksgiving gets kicked to the side.By that I mean the stores go from Halloween to Christmas. If you want Thanksgiving items you might be lucky enough to find a small display of paper plates and napkins, know what I mean? Besides Halloween, Thanksgiving is my favorite. We have so much to be thankful for, everyone is gathered together, the food, the laughter.
     
  41. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Oct 21, 2005

    Its amazing. I never remember Halloween or Christmas causing any major problems in school. My high school (2000) had a secular "x-mas tree" which to my knowledge there were no problems over. Easter and Columbus Day always did. Easter because of differences in doctrine beliefs and Columbus Day because of History of Colonization, and displaced peoples.
    We had costume parties in school up through my senior year. Today schools sometimes have fall festivals, without costumes because of the controversy. Some schools here are highly diverse culturally and there are conflicts from religious to just not being part of the student's culture. I am a Christian and understand some concern....but Halloween is not bad itself, I don't think it is.
    Also in school, I remember being uncomfortable because a teacher told me my tree was wrong. I didn't draw a star or angel on top. I told her my tree doesn't have a star or angel, it has a spinner top. After explaining I don't observe Christmas, or Easter as religious holidays she was understanding and told the other students insisting I was wrong, that it was OK I didn't have to celebrate Christmas religiously.
     
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