October 29th, 2010
Halloween seems to be a tricky kind of holiday and many religious people just don’t know how to interpret it. Some believers have asked me if atheists celebrate Halloween while others ask why atheists celebrate Halloween.
While I can’t speak for all atheists, I love Halloween and to my knowledge all of my atheist friends seem to love this holiday too. This is a holiday that has become more secularized than Christmas. Not only is there little hint of religion left in the holiday, but the more fundamentalist the believer the more they try to distance themselves from this day leaving most atheists and everyone else alone. So it really is a holiday for us.
There are many aspects of Halloween that I find appealing. First, I enjoy dressing up in costumes and seeing other people dress up as well. It is an opportunity to explore our creativity. I like seeing the funny costumes, they sexy costumes, the scary costumes, the politically relevant costumes, the creative costumes, the cute costumes that kids wear, and of course my favorite the politically incorrect costumes. Oh, did I mention the sexy costumes?
Then there is the candy. Who doesn’t love eating candy? I like the idea of people sharing candy with neighbors and strangers. It appeals to my humanistic sense of community.
Finally, I like how the holiday deals with death as not something to be afraid of, but rather as something to laugh at. Don’t get me wrong; while Halloween celebrates death, it certainly doesn’t encourage death. It just puts it in the greater context of life. We can be entertained by death without being entertained by dying.
Most mainstream religious believers have no problem celebrating Halloween just like any other holiday. In fact, in recent years Halloween has become the second largest holiday of the year (just behind Christmas). But the more fervent religious believers show just how crazy and superstitious they really are in reaction to this holiday. They’re the ones that make this holiday really fun.