Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween...Jewish or not?

I am not a big fan of Halloween. Perhaps stemming from my first grade experience when the principal scared me half to death with his costume, I struggle each year with the way Halloween has become so "big" these days. Lights, costumes, candy, decorations, months of build-up...

Many Jews justify Halloween as "just like Purim." In fact, it's just about the opposite.

On Halloween, we send our children out to beg for candy.
On Purim, we send our children out with gifts of candy and other food.

On Halloween, our costumes glorify death and evil.
On Purim, our costumes glorify the struggles and triumphs of our people.

With that said, I know that even my own children will dress in costumes and engage in the practice of trick-or-treating...so....

Filing this under "if you can't beat-em, join-em"....here are some ways to add Jewish values into your Halloween:
- carry a UNICEF box or other tzedakah collection instead of or in addition to collecting candy.
- donate your uneaten candy to Children's Memorial Hospital or other groups.
- collect your Halloween costumes after the holiday to send to children in Israel or the Former Soviet Union for their Purim celebrations.
- talk to your kids about the origins of Halloween, what it means and where it came from.
- discuss with your family the merits of "begging" for candy and how that works in our society. What does it mean to be a "beggar" and how can we help those who are truly in need?

Read more here:
Should Jewish children trick-or-treat? This was a question posed to bloggers on Mixed Multitudes, the blog for MyJewishLearning.com.

Here is an interesting article about Halloween and Jewish law.

Making Peace with Halloween (a cute idea for telling the Midrash of David and the spider!)

Can you give but not get?

What do you think about Halloween?


NancyJones said...

I really like your blog. Im not jewish but I share some of your beliefs on halloween. My little girl is scared to death of it. so .. we are doing some fun whimsical things and im taking her early to go candy begging. 2 of her little friends will come over and have a tea party and eat their treats (get wigged out on hallween candy before bed time smart thinkin from me huh!) anyway. just wanted to say HI and I like your blog.

Head Gaggler said...

That was a very good post. I often wonder how to guide my kids with non-Jewish holidays and most of the time that is easy (Christmas and Easter) but Halloween is different. I teach my kids that giving is just as fun and dress up is just dress up. I find it very hard to steer them away from such commercial holidays when it is so shoved down their throats earlier and earlier each year.

Candace said...

this was great. I love the idea of bringing jewish values to halloween. and to everyday life. what great things to teach my children. my daugher attends the JCC and they do not allow any bit of Halloween to be celebrated.
Purim is my favorite holiday. I used to dress as Hamen. (please excuse the spelling.......)
love your blog.