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Posted by: frankiepup ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 02:46PM

I live in a heavily evangelical area and many of the churches around here have "Harvest" festivals to counteract Halloween because they think Halloween is Satanic.

(Although I have since come to dislike, intensely, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, one of my favorite moments during my conversion to Catholicism was discovering that Halloween came from All Hallows Eve, the precursor to the Feast of All Saints, which was introduced by the early Church to counteract a pagan harvest ritual called Samhain. For years, Halloween was celebrated by Catholics dressing up as saints and collecting symbolic "alms"--candy and sweetmeats--for All Hallows Eve. In other words, churches that try to replace Halloween with a Harvest Festival are actually bringing back the pagan tradition that the Christians were trying to eradicate. I giggle now every time I pass a Baptist church advertising a "Harvest Festival" at Halloween. But I digress.)

Anyway I wondered what the Mormon take on Halloween is. Do they celebrate it? Do Mormon kids go trick or treating, or do they have festivals in church? I'm just curious.

(Edited because spelling is important.)

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/03/2012 02:48PM by frankiepup.

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Posted by: rise ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 02:48PM

I always trick r' treated while being raised by TBMs, but I do know some mormon families that would only let their children dress up as BOM characters, and they would only go to church sponsored functions.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 02:52PM

We always had fun on Halloween: we often dressed up in costumes, the kids went Trick or Treating in the neighborhood and often attended costume parties. The only restriction was no face masks for LDS parties at the church.

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Posted by: james ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 03:05PM

I grew up in the Midwest, not Mormon, surrounded by evangelicals and Catholics. Halloween was hardly every celebrated and even my mother would go for years without letting me trick or treat. When I came to Utah, I was amazed at what a big holiday it is. Except for the no masks rule and no trick or treating on Sunday rule, everything seems okay. The nightmare on 13th street stuff is alive and well. My own conclusion is that really religious societies appear to go two ways on Halloween: they either ban it or they relish it as a way for people to release their inner evil urges.

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Posted by: Serendiptiyhappens ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 03:25PM

Grew up outside the morridor... Halloween was HUGE in our ward. We had a big party with lots of games and everyone in costumes... The only thing unusual was that masks were not allowed at church functions, but plenty of us wore them at non-church halloween functions.. My former bishop has a full-on haunted house at his house complete with creepy cemetery in the front yard... he also always give the FULL size candy bars ;-)

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Posted by: omreven ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 03:35PM

Trunk or treat seems to be the trend in a lot of Mormon areas - they trick or treat car to car in the ward's parking lot. Not allowing face masks has been discussed here often. Also, no transgender dressing - a girl can't be Spiderman, for example.

In my experience, everyone trick or treats unless Halloween falls on a Sunday. I've known a couple non-LDS Christian kids who were not allowed to trick or treat at all, but they will go to their church's Harvest Festival if it has one.

Before one church around here got their own building, they would hold services and the Harvest festival at the neighborhood school's campus. That was a lot of fun. We would trick or treat and then walk over to the harvest festival for some games.

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Posted by: slatheredtwice ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 05:41PM

I was once in SLC in late October and was amazed at the number of "Leather / S&M" parties being touted at various venues for adults. I lived in California and have never known of so much interest is these fetishes in any other city. My reaction was that Halloween must be the time to shed the inhibitions and supression.

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Posted by: jenn ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 08:21PM

For some reason you can't wear masks. Anyone know why? Its not about safety.

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Posted by: bona dea ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 08:40PM

You couldn't wear masks in the church, but there was no rule about masks for trick or treating. We always wore masks. now it is Trunk or Treat which pretty much ruins it, IMO. Not sure about the masks. One theory is because the mob who killes JS wore masks. Another was that some masks had unholy connotations. In schools the rule is so that kids can see where they are going and so that teachers can tell who is who.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/03/2012 08:53PM by bona dea.

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Posted by: Queen of Denial ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 08:47PM

My kids can't wear masks to school either. I don't think it's related to religion...

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Posted by: bona dea ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 08:50PM

Queen of Denial Wrote:
> My kids can't wear masks to school either. I don't
> think it's related to religion...

It isn't in the schools where I have taught. It is wild enough without kids falling all over themselves or down the stairs because they can't see and misbehaving because no one can tell one kid from the other.With the church, I have heard so many explanations that I think no one knows. Some old guy made the rule years ago and now it is doctrine.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/03/2012 08:50PM by bona dea.

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Posted by: Lostmypassword ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 08:50PM

As long as the kids tithe 10% of the Skittles it should be cool.

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Posted by: rationalguy ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 08:50PM

Morridor here, and it's always been perfectly acceptable among 95% of TBM's to trick-or-treat. It's a big kid's event. They will have masquerade dances for the older youth sometimes as well, but as others have said, no masks. Makeup is ok, though. Another definite taboo at these dances, almost always specified in print on the handbills, etc... NO CROSSDRESSING!

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Posted by: Tara the Pagan ( )
Date: October 03, 2012 11:32PM

Sigh...just try to tell a Mormon that the ancient Celtic fire festival of Samhain (from which Halloween was eventually derived, after the Catholics appropriated it) has nothing to do with Satan. They don't get it, because they think *everything* connects up to Satan one way or another.

(Pre-Christian Celts had never heard of Satan, much less dedicated a religious holiday to him, but I digress).

So, in the Morridor, most people engage in the same sort of pleasant denial that allows them to head straight over to Walmart after church, still dressed in the white shirt and tie. They celebrate Halloween, all right. When else can you consume that much chocolate and sugar in one night, whilst pretending you're someone else, to boot? Here's how it goes:
-- 2:30-4:30 PM: the businesses on Main Street (of whatever small Morridor town you're in) hand out candy to hordes of infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers hauled around by parents in lame costumes and/or mommy jeans.
--Everyone goes home and eats pizza or franken-wieners. The weather turns horribly cold.
--5:30-7 PM: Everyone meets in the church parking lot for trunk-or-treat. One parent hauls the costumed tykes around to 20 or 30 trunks while the other hands out cheap candy to all the other little monsters.
-- 7-?PM: The older kids and teens go out and have fun. Some trick-or-treat. Some just tell their parents they are trick-or-treating so they can do other fun things and nobody will be able to identify them. Younger children stay at home watching "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and feasting on their loot.
Single adults will go to parties or dances and anonymously hit on each other.
-- 10 PM: After taking token pictures, scrubbing off makeup, hiding the loot, putting cranky, wired kiddies to bed, and cleaning up the huge mess from the candy-feasting, the parents will grumble about Satanic holidays and then start discussing their plans for a much purer, more Christ-centered holiday: Christmas.

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Posted by: Itzpapalotl ( )
Date: October 04, 2012 09:32AM

We always celebrated Halloween in my childhood ward. I always wenet trick or treating with friends/family and dressed up in costumes. When I live in Utah, kids always trick or treat at my door unless it's Sunday of course.

In the 80s, my ward had the fun partiess with apple bobbing, donut on a string, trunk or treat, and a haunted house in the YM/YW room one year. That was never allowed again, lol.

I mentioned this story before, but one year, I went in the Catwoman costume from "Batman Returns." The mask didn't cover much (if you remember the movie), but the leaders held firm about the no mask rule. One even suggested I use black costume make-up instead on my sensitive and blemish prone skin. So instead, a few people thought I was dressed as a hooker.
Nice, eh?

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Posted by: frankiepup ( )
Date: October 04, 2012 10:50AM

For several years I gave talks about this at RCIA (Catholic conversion) classes in my parish. Most of the people in those classes came from evangelical Protestant denominations and were really, truly startled to learn that a) what they thought of as "pagans" did not worship Satan because, like, they didn't HAVE Satan, and b) Halloween as we know it was originally a Christian holiday. These days I get an unholy amount of glee from decorating my house for Halloween and freaking out all the Baptists in my neighborhood, although given the way they feel about Catholics I think I could get the same effect by putting a statue of the BVM in my front yard.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/04/2012 10:51AM by frankiepup.

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Posted by: Lethbridge Reprobate ( )
Date: October 04, 2012 03:28PM

We always embraced it for the fun aspect that it TBM folks never worried too much about all the demon-worship horse$hit the "born agains" go on an on about. We've got a family living down the road that are evangelical Christians, WTF that means and their kids never had any fun...too much sinnin' involved.

Ron Burr

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: October 04, 2012 03:31PM

Halloween (wiki it) has 'always' been one of those half-way holidays: More $ for Hallmark & the costume manuf's & sellers (transpo too), That's For Sure!

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Posted by: John_Lyle ( )
Date: October 04, 2012 05:11PM

Can anyone tell me what the deal is about the masks?

My best friend wasn't lds. The week before, we planned out our route, carefully. We planned tactically, minimizing walking and maximizing return. When we had 'harvested' all we could, we went back to his house, sort stuff out, and watch 'color' TV (It was a big deal to have a color TV then) and his parents would get blitzed on champagne and we could pig out...

I never even thought about what the church cared about...

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Posted by: anonow ( )
Date: October 04, 2012 05:21PM

Especially for "trunk or treat" they specify no masks because kids love to run when they're excited and they can't see what's coming from the sides with a mask on. More chance for falls or collisions with other people or cars. And since they are on church property it could mean a lawsuit if there's an accident.
Secondly, if both kids and adults are not wearing masks any unwanted strangers coming through who is wearing a mask would stand out in the crowd.

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Posted by: karin ( )
Date: October 04, 2012 05:28PM

I think the no mask rule was because you could do stuff in a mask that you wouldn't do without one. Probably (i'm just guessing here) because at mardi gras masked people do allsorts of weird stuff.

It was probably an adult rule that got foisted on the kids, kinda like the modesty stuff of nowadays.

that's what i remember or thot it was for.

Anyway in the 70's and maybe some of the 80s trick or treating was normal fare except on Sundays, but in those days most communities (in Ontario) chose to do halloween on a saturday or monday anyways so it wasn't a problem. Sometiimes the youth did a haunted house for the primary kiddies on Mutuel night but that way waaaay back when.

Not sure if trunk or treat has invaded Canada also.

Another difference is that in the 70s my sibs and i got bags of treats and went all over the neighborhood. This was our years candy stash. Our allowence was a pittance.

My son, otoh, only wanted to go out for maybe an hour. He did't feel getting candy for free was all that big a deal!

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Posted by: honestone ( )
Date: October 04, 2012 09:44PM

They love Halloween. They go door to door here in Vegas....even the teens. And they dress up and have their own Halloween parties in their homes. MY convert daughter loves Halloween and all her hubby's family does too. I think some of the big families probably encourage it so they get free candy and they don't have to buy any for 2 or 3 months.

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Posted by: swampwife ( )
Date: October 09, 2012 09:16AM

I'm a Christian by grace and I worship in a Baptist church. Baptists know exactly the history of Halloween both in the U.S. and its origins. Some choose to participate, some do not, it is not mandated by the church. For my family, it's a wonderful opportunity to mingle with our neighbors, welcome their children, and be hospitable.

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Posted by: among the party poopers ( )
Date: October 09, 2012 12:37PM

I'm in a very mormon Utah neighborhood. Here, trunk or treat has pretty much completely replaced traditional trick-or-treating. I HATE trunk or treat. For one thing, you have to be in church to hear the announcement of when to get down to the church for the very festive plodding around in a circle in a cold parking lot (it's not always on Halloween). Secondly, I don't want to feel like I'm crashing a mormon party if my kids want to celebrate Halloween in their community....I don't want it on church property or sponsored by "the church." Thirdly, although my kids love candy, they have always thought trunk or treat was boring. "Why did we have to go walk in that dumb circle to get our candy?"

When I was a kid, here in very Mormon Utah, Halloween was a lot of fun. Everyone handed out treats from their homes, the homes were often very elaborately decorated, and it was a really fun wasn't really just about collecting as much candy as you possibly was a fun game, a treasure hunt around the community of sorts. Even at church, when primary used to be during the week rather than tacked onto sunday meetings as it is now, we were allowed to wear our costumes into the church and primary for that week wasn't sitting still in your Sunday best listening to people drone on and on about how we need to try to be perfect. Instead, we sang spooky songs that had nothing to do with church, had a parade around the church in our costumes, and had games and treats. It was the best primary of the year!!

If trunk or treat hadn't infested the mindset here, Halloween would still be lots of fun and celebrated full on.....mormons don't seem to have a problem with the concept of celebrating Halloween. It's just that the parents think it's super convenient and you can get it over with and go back to your TV if you cram all the candy collecting into one lame circle in the parking lot. I've even heard parents extolling the virtues of trunk or treat because "you can get tons of candy in a very short time." I thought the idea wasn't just gorging yourself into a sugar coma....I thought it was supposed to be about making childhood memories and, heaven forbid, investing an entire night once a year to do something fun and memorable with your kids? But I'm outvoted where I live. People do trunk or treat and then turn off their porch lights because "everyone who wanted to has already been down to the ward house for their candy." :( Some years my kids don't even want to get a costume.....I still try to have a celebration for them, but if they don't want to walk around a boring parking lot in their costume and no one in our community is participating in trick or treat, they don't bother picking out a costume. Sad since the costumes, I think, had a big part in the richness of my own childhood memories. Halloween is different, and not in a good way, for my kids thanks to trunk or treat being the default choice thanks to lazy and/or "too-busy" parents.

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