Should Jews celebrate Halloween?

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Within the Jewish community, there are many different beliefs about celebrating Halloween. A significant number of American Jews choose not to celebrate Halloween, as it originated from ancient Pagan tradition. However, I believe that American Jews should be able to celebrate Halloween, as it is an exciting and fun experience.  

Originally, Halloween was a Pagan festival. It was believed that the devil came to life on this day and that the souls of the dead revisited their homes. On this night, ghosts, witches, hobgoblins and demons of all kinds were said to roam around the streets.

In the Early Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church instituted “All-Saints Day,” which took place on the same day as the Pagan festival, reflecting the Church’s desire to Christianize it.

The origins of Halloween are Pagan and Christian, and according to Halacha, Jews have the obligation to avoid Gentile religious customs. This has caused many Jews to opt not to celebrate Halloween as they believe that it is their religious obligation not to take part in these customs.  

In theory, I agree with this thinking. However, Halloween has changed over time. While it used to be an exclusively religious holiday, the vast majority of people who currently celebrate Halloween have no religious motives to participate. Generally, Halloween is no longer viewed from a religious perspective –– it is simply an excuse to wear costumes and run around the neighborhood collecting candy with friends.  

Due to the shift in motives behind the celebration of Halloween, Jews should no longer separate themselves from celebration. Celebrating Halloween is not a religious custom anymore, so Jews do not violate Halacha by trick-or-treating.  

In every aspect of our lives, Halacha is there to guide us in the right direction. However, if we blindly follow Halacha, we accept restrictions into our lives where there is no logical need for them. We should understand the Halacha and apply it to our lives to the best of our abilities. 

To put it simply, Jews should be able to celebrate Halloween. In the modern world, Halloween is disconnected from religion — it is a fun night for children to collect candy and be mischievous with their friends. Jewish children should have the same opportunities as other children, so why create divisiveness where there is no need?