I never thought of it as having religious connotations until I was in jr high or high school and learned about the Spanish/Mexican Dia de los Muertos, or whatever it's called. Piffle.
I've loved costumes and playing dress-up since I was very, very small, and I still do. And the church we went to threw a costume party for the kids every year...there was never any mention of "satanism" back then. I think the loud-mouth objections to Halloween have arisen in the last 30 years...a way for fundies to show their loyalty to the party. Whatever that is.
I wish I had been able to keep my "bear skin" when I left Holiday....had more fun in that costume than anything.
Halloween is PARTY TIME!
I don't completely ignore most of the holidays, i just create better reasons (at least for me) to celebrate something. Around Christmas instead of celebrating a imaginary man's birthday i celebrate the changing of seasons with the winter solstice. I enjoy having a holiday still, and just because i don't have a religion doesn't mean i cant make up reasons to eat too much and get free things! ;)
I suppose i don't have as good of thing to make up for Easter, but i still enjoy the holiday because even though i'm approaching my mid twenties, its mandatory for my significant other to get me a basket and a stuffed rabbit. Perhaps i am celebrating the existence of rabbits, good enough.
Halloween from my knowledge is pretty safe from religion?
Well, as far as I know, most of the reasons for the things done are lost.
-Costumes were for disguising yourself as "one of them" so the crazy spirits wouldn't know who you were and hex you or something.
-Pumpkins/Carved hollow gourds were to scare away the bad spirits
-Treats were handed out to avoid 'tricks'--today you'd get tp'ed or forked or something.
None of this goes for any specific religion. In fact it could easily be turned into a "keep the devil down" sort of day(if fundies dared to research anything.....), but it's not--and really, the way it is now? It's HIGHLY secular. We haven't dressed as goblins for Halloween for years. Now a kid is more likely to be Iron Man or Thor than a mythical creature.
The day itself used to be a day when the spirits were close to the real world--when the veil "thinned" and communion with the dead was easier--that's what Dia de Los Muertos is about--you go graveside, have some booze, leave your dead relatives some food, and the raccoons eat it by the next morning. In Pagan traditions they may do similar things to the earliest traditions but no one has it quite right---really it's morphed from a highly superstitious day, to something that's completely secular. People don't actually think their pumpkins keep away goblins--they just like carving them! People don't choose costumes to keep away the fair folk, they just choose something they want to be. The reality of the situation is:
Halloween is a holiday about creepy stuff, scaring people, being scared, enjoying time in a costume, and CANDY!
Clearly if someone thinks it's 'demonic' or 'spiritual' at all has never been to a Halloween Party full of 20 year olds, or trick-or-treating.
Watch some Horror Movies, go to parties, eat some delicious candy, pick out your costume. Halloween is probably my favorite holiday--and it always has been! Ever since I was little. It's probably one of the few holidays that I'll go all out for once I get older--even if I don't have kids, building automatic candy-giving machines is fun.
For horror movies:
-Trick or Treat was one of THE BEST horror movies I've seen in a very long time. It has Anna Paquin in it, and it features some of the basic premises I've mentioned above, that we have for Halloween--the pumpkin protecting you, giving candy to avoid tricks--and it makes them UTTERLY TERRIFYING.
It, and a few others I see nearly every year:
-The Fall of the House of Usher
-Rocky Horror Picture Show
-Rob Zombie's Halloween
-The first Saw movie(Only the first, the next...5 have sort of devolved into a calvacade of Passion of the Christ-esque tortures)
-The Underworld Trio(Vampires, Werewolves, and creepy dark places!)
-Casper(the live-action one with Christina Ricci)[Casper and Wendy is pretty cute too.]
But Trick or Treat honestly set a bar for my halloween movies. It was several stories--all of them short, but all of them intertwining--it was brilliant! I would love another movie like it but I don't think it can be topped. It got in all the classic monsters PLUS some new creepy things. Brilliant.
While reading the posts about scary movies, a song popped into my (parrot) head:
"Vampires, Mummies, and the Holy Ghost,
These are things that terrify me the most..."
Jimmy Buffett (Raised Catholic)
(And now you all know another one of my deep dark secrets...I'm a Parrothead. My CD player is set to wake me up to "Kick it in Second Wind." It's so TRUE!)