Halloween, a seemingly harmless tradition, is celebrated by several countries in the world including the Philippines. People of all ages dress up as ghosts, vampires, zombies and other dark characters hoping to creep out other celebrators, while others prefer to depict lighter characters like fairies and superheroes.

But did you know that behind the sweet treats and plastic pumpkins, Halloween has a dark history?

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Halloween: A Pagan Practice

In his interview with ABS-CBN News, Pastor Ramil Corpuz of Sola Scriptura Christian Church disclosed that Halloween started from a pagan practice known as Samhain by the Celts in Asia Minor and Europe.

During the feast, people would light candles outside their houses in order to help visiting spirits find their way back to the afterlife.

Department of Education senior high school research coordinator and sociologist Professor Fe Atanacio-Blas said people also dressed up as ghosts in order to be one with the wandering spirits.

These practices were eventually brought from Europe to the Americas, which were then shared to the Filipinos during American occupation. Since then, Halloween celebration has become a common practice in the country as parents passed on to their children the tradition.

Dress up as Lighter Characters

Nowadays, the dark pagan practice has evolved into a celebration that mostly involved trick or treat and dressing up activities.

Professor Blas suggested that parents dress up their children as lighter characters.

“Kung masyado dark, gawin natin medyo gray, pag-costumin natin ng fairy, ibang characters. It will not do harm to children. Sa inosenteng isip ng bata, it’s all fun kasi naka-costume siya, may candies. Pero pagtanda niya, how are you going to process it?”

Is it alright to celebrate Halloween?

Pastor Corpuz noted that the celebration of Halloween is “the work of evil spirits” based on the Bible.

“It is God’s command for believers to stay away from any guise of the devil. So Halloween activities today teaches wrong doctrines and it is often characterized by exaltation of imaginary evil characters like Dracula and zombies,” he explained.

However, Corpuz stressed that it is alright for people to celebrate Halloween as long as they don’t focus in the dark aspects. He also reiterated that Christians should pray for the deceased on Halloween.

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