Yes, Halloween does have roots in paganism… as do many other aspects of modern life, including aspects with in the life of the Orthodox Church! The question is, are these experiences of contemporary life still rooted in pagan experience, or have their foundations been reoriented?
An example: although candles and incense were used in Judaic temple worship, they were also abundant in the life and practices of multiple pagan rituals. The Christian Church organically embraced the experience of candles and incense in its life of worship—however, the foundation and understanding of these practices radically changed from previous pagan focus to Christ-centered foundations. Candles: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 Incense: “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:3,4
Back to Halloween. The common experience for today’s families include a datogether time is spent together, children dress in various costumes and create connection to neighbors by inviting their hospitality through the offering of treats. If the foundation of your Halloween experience is rooted in quality time spent with your family, fellowship with neighbors and friends, and the offering/reception of humble offerings of hospitality—then may it be blessed by God! If your Halloween experience is rooted in pagan ritual—then I encourage you to question your experience and seek the counsel of an Orthodox Christian priest.
Remind your children, that as we put on costumes and trick or treat, that the costume to is a fun pretend exterior activity for the evening, but our true identity is found in our interior—our identity as children of God, our identity as Christians, which is not pretend of temporary but authentic and eternal! Furthermore, teach your children that the act of trick of treating is not an exercise in self-entitlement, but rather a polite experience of fellowship and hospitality. Use the modern experience of Halloween to teach your children about Christian identity, and these eternal Christian virtues.
I invite you all to have a blessed day rooted in quality family time, fellowship, fun, and hospitality! Stay safe, and brush your teeth!!!