By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
Tonight is All Hallows’ Eve – more commonly known as Halloween – and thousands of Bahamians will be taking their kids trick or treating and attending costume parties dressed up as their favourite superheroes, celebrities or storybook characters.
It’s harmless fun for most, but there are those Christians who refuse to participate in any and all Halloween festivities. Some say it’s because of the day’s pagan origins, while others go so far as to call it the “devil’s birthday”.
Shauny Ferguson, a member of the Catholic Church, sees nothing wrong with parents letting their kids take part in the Halloween fun. Preventing them from dressing up and going trick or treating is denying kids the chance to be kids, she said.
“Growing up we were told that Halloween was the ‘devil’s birthday’, but is it really? Where in history is this really documented, besides old folklore? I know Halloween to be the ending of harvest and the beginning of Christmas. If we take away kids dressing as superheroes that do not exist, then we should take away Santa Clause,” said Ms Ferguson.
A firm believer that God looks at the heart and a person’s intention, Michelle Bethel, an Anglican, said there is nothing wrong with children who are dressing up in a fun wholesome environment, enjoying a fun event, as God knows there is no evil in the intent.
“Dressing up in any kind of costume cannot be compared to a devil worshipper or someone who dabbles in the dark side. I am a Christian and we always dress up around this time of year and we have a fun family party where the kids can just enjoy the day and there is no evil. As a parent I just ensure the environment is wholesome and that my kids know there are two sides to everything. There is dark and there is light, and we always chose light,” said Ms Bethel.
Melanie Turnquest, a Baptist Church member, added that for her the problem is never with the costumes and the treats, it is when people take it too far.
“If it’s celebrated to welcome witchcraft and all sorts of evil rituals, then it becomes a problem. There are a lot of persons who are into wickedness on a normal day and then judge when Halloween comes around. I would be naive to believe witchcraft isn’t real and happening right here in this Bahamas, but I would encourage persons to not have anything to do with it,” said Ms Turnquest.
Chanel Thomas, a young parent who identifies as “spiritual”, told Tribune Religion, she truly believes there is a higher being whom she refers to as God, but she does not agree with how the Christian churches and those who attend them operate as an organisation. She also sees nothing wrong with children dressing up as their favourite superheroes or other characters who inspire them and bring them joy.
“What does a Christian define as a hero? Would it be your mother, who sacrificed her dreams and gave you everything within her means to make you happy? Or was it your grandfather who helped raise you and be the person you are today? Or maybe it was your second grade teacher who made you fall in love with learning. Maybe your hero is God, for His divine creations and unwavering love. Whoever it was/is, your hero made you the person you are today and gave you hope and inspiration to look forward to the future. It’s not about the costume. It’s not about the dressing up or the candy. It’s about the joy one feels celebrating who inspires them the most. Who makes them genuinely happy,” said Ms Thomas.
“Your joy...has nothing to do with anyone else’s opinions. It’s individual based. So disallowing children to dress up as their favourite character or superhero is stealing that same joy you feel when someone tells you how or who to worship. Don’t block someone else’s joy.”