Christianity & Halloween
Growing up, Halloween would be an occasion in which my siblings and I would attend the Light Party at our local church. There would be a tuck shop for purchasing sweets, games and often movies. We were able to connect with others through alternative celebration.
Many Christians do celebrate Halloween. However, my family believed Halloween to be a celebration of evil and sin (the devil). God is a God of life, but Halloween focuses on death. Numerous religions don’t celebrate Halloween, and for different reasons.
Childhood & Halloween
Belongingness is important especially to young people who are still developing and exploring their own identity. The desire to fit in is normal.
When I attended school (going back 10yrs), many of my peers who weren’t Christian, didn’t understand why my beliefs and traditions differed from them.
Often difference can make individuals more vulnerable to bullying. At school, I felt there was a social hierarchy in which to gain popularity, power, or attention bullies would pick on their vulnerable peers.
My younger sibling takes pride in his religious beliefs, and I have witnessed the clash between his beliefs and morals and others. The clash often happens because there’s a lack of acknowledgement and respect, “we might think differently to each other but that’s ok”.
At times, Halloween felt lonely despite attending the Light Party. It also made me feel more vulnerable to being challenged about my beliefs especially by bullies. As a young person, I just wanted to fit in, but there always felt a difference, ‘us and them’.
Celebrating your own way
As an adult, I don’t feel a need to celebrate Halloween. I enjoy dressing up and pumpkin carving and meeting with friends, but I’m also very happy to curl up at home with a Disney movie, comfortable in my own company.
What really matters for our mental health and wellbeing is that we’re able to make our own choices, about how we celebrate and connect with others and are accepting of the way in which others celebrate or choose not to.
Festivities often won’t look like the TV ads, we might have different traditions to our friends, but that’s ok. Do what makes you feel happy.
If you are experiencing bullying, help is available.
Report bullying in school to an adult i.e., teacher, principal or school counsellor and/or parent.
If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation and would like to speak with someone, you can contact:
Samaritans – offer emotional support and a listening ear 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year. Call them on 116 123.
Connection – is a 24/7 phone helpline for people of all ages in Dorset who are experiencing mental health issues and need support. Call 0800 652 0190.
Childline – is open to young people 18 and under. Open 23hrs a day, 7 days a week. Call 0800 1111 or use webchat.
Kooth – Online mental healthcare service which aims to provide mental health support young people under the age of 21.
Find out more about mental health support for young people at Dorset Mind: https://dorsetmindyourhead.co.uk/
Read student Lucy’s blog ‘Bullying and Mental Health’: https://dorsetmind.uk/blog/bullying-and-mental-health-2/