In my daughter’s day school, talk of Halloween is off-limits, because of its origin as a pagan holiday. If I had to guess, I would bet that 96% of the 100 students who attend her school celebrate the holiday, which, judging from the number of gravestones popping up on our neighbors’ lawns, is taken far more seriously in New England than it was in Baltimore, where I grew up. Still, she’s been instructed not to discuss her cheerleader costume (thank God – how can I live that one down?) between the hours of 8 and 3:15 for the next week. Mama, however, will definitely post pictures.
I’ve blogged earlier about my general indifference to the holiday, but I don’t really have a well-articulated opinion about whether it’s too pagan for us Jews. Frankly, it seems to me that lots of our own traditions have vaguely pagan-y origins, and our celebrations are all the richer for it. (But please don’t ask me to back up that statement with any actual facts.) There are lots of reasons that I’m firmly opposed to pretending that Christian holidays are secular, but Halloween? It’s just not my issue.
Fortunately, others far wiser and more thoughtful than I have blogged about the topic. Check out this post by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield of CLAL, an Orthodox Rabbi who manages to be open minded and wise about everything from Hitler to circumcision. Plus, I used to daven with him.