Oh, here we go again. The Pope has declared Halloween 'dangerous'. He is an idiot and I know the Catholics out there will take great offence but I don't care at all. He is completely off his head.
Halloween is a number of things these days. It used to be one thing. Before that it was nothing at all.
Go back to the time before humans. Use any timescale you want because science and creation both agree there was a time of no humans. Even later creation has a time of humans but no death.
Before humans there was no Halloween. There was also no Tuesday and no February. None of those things can exist before someone thought to give them names. Halloween is not a component of Earth. It is a component of humanity. As is every other festival of every religion. There can be no 'communication with the dead' until someone dies and that can't happen until someone is alive. Someone who can be defined as human. Communication with an ancestor who says 'oook-ook' isn't helpful.
The Celts, and possibly many before them, measured things starting from what we might now consider the end. For us, the day begins when the sun comes up. For the Celts, the new day began when the sun went down. For us, the year begins in spring. For the Celts, it began with the onset of winter. The time when everything died. They preferred to get the bad stuff over first.
Halloween, then called Samheim (spell it how you like. Until Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, there were no fixed spellings in English) was the end and the beginning of the year. The time of renewal. The Celts built a bonfire and leapt through it to cleanse themselves of the demons following them. They believed that at this time of renewal, the barrier between life and death was thin. It was a dangerous time. Not a time of devil worship because nobody did that at all until the Christians invented Satan. A time to beware of demons and the dead. They did not revel in death. Winter was sure to provide as much of that as they could deal with. The Halloween festival was to ward off death and scare away demons.
Christianity took over all the old festivals. The renewal of the sun on December 25th following its 'death' on the 22nd was replaced with the birth of Christ. The tinsel and balls on the trees are a relic of the Druid sacrifice, which was followed by draping entrails over trees. The fairy on top is a Celtic vision of a ghost. The fertility rite became Easter but kept the rabbits and the eggs. Halloween was harder to shift until Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament. That allowed the moving of the bonfire to November 5th and the reclassification of November 1st (the first day of the new year) as all saint's day. All organised religion is scared of Halloween just as they are terrified of the paranormal in general. We aren't supposed to know about this stuff. It messes up the belief and the control.
Halloween went quiet for a long time. In the UK we had ducking for apples and other relics of harvest-end but then America revived the 'guising' aspect of dressing up to scare away the demons. Halloween came back.
The devil-worshippers (who did not exist before Christianity) took Samheim as some kind of Satanic calendar date. It was never about that. It was all about dispelling evil and forming protection for the coming winter. Not about worshipping evil. That would not be a clever move for people about to overwinter in rough huts.
The Pope is wrong. Halloween offers no threat to Christianity and never did. Children in costumes have no idea what they are celebrating, indeed they are not celebrating anything at all. They are having a bit of fun with dress-up and fake blood and free sweets and that is all. They know nothing of Satanism, of witchcraft (NOT the same thing), of communicating with the dead, of protection from demons, of the appropriation of the festival by Christians, none of the history has seeped through and I'll bet there is not a teacher in the world who both knows that history and is willing to tell the children about it. They would not dare.
The barrier betwen the living and the dead is still at its thinnest tonight. Earth didn't do that. Nature didn't do that. Humans did it with collective conviction. A conviction so strong that it's still true today. For a few, Halloween means what it once did. For some, it means they can prance around the woods naked and call up a horned god who isn't Satan but who will probably play along because it's funny. Pan always had a sense of humour and it's not always a gentle humour. For most people it means masks and sweets and nothing more than that.
It's still a time to be very careful but dressing up as Frankenstein or other fictional monsters presents no danger to children at all. They don't come out unless you're looking for them. The dressed-up children are not.
I will be.