Halloween

a pumpkin patch
Jon Wason / 500px/500px/Getty Images

6 Religions That Don't Celebrate Halloween & Why

Here’s why people who follow certain religions may avoid costumes & candy corn.

Halloween is a secular holiday, like Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving, meaning it’s not associated with any particular religion. This is why it’s not unusual for public schools to have Halloween parades or costume parties dedicated to the day (unlike Christmas or Hanukkah which often become “winter celebrations” to be inclusive to all). But Halloween does actually have roots in the Roman Catholic Church, and so it makes sense that certain religions don’t celebrate Halloween.

Halloweens comes from an ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (which is pronounced like ‘sow-in’), per History; the festival included large bonfires and people in costumes to ward off ghosts. Later, All Saints Day, which falls on Nov. 1, was instituted by the Catholic Church as a day to honor, well, all saints. The holiday was actually originally celebrated in May but was moved to the first of November by Pope Gregory IV in 837 AD, per CNN. All Saints Day is followed by All Souls Day, also known as Día de los Muertos, which celebrates and honors loved ones who have passed. Like Halloween, it often involves candlelight and costume.

So if you see someone who isn’t dressed up for Halloween this year, maybe they didn’t feel like pulling a costume together, or maybe they’re part of these religions that don’t celebrate Halloween.

Jehovah’s Witness

Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Most people who are affiliated with Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate any holidays, including birthdays and Christmas, and of course, Halloween. Some Jehovah’s Witnesses think holidays are (or are closely related to) Pagan customs, per BBC.

Certain Orthodox Jews

Some Orthodox Jews will not observe or celebrate “Gentile” holidays. Halloween is usually considered secular (meaning not associated with a religion) though the holiday does have religious origins dating back thousands of years.

Muslims

In the Islamic religion, there are only two holidays celebrated each year: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Because there is no spiritual significance behind the day, and some Muslims consider it a Pagan holiday that teaches mischief rather than morals, per WNYC, most people of Islamic faith will skip the Halloween festivities.

Some Evangelical Christians

Certain Evangelical groups reject Halloween because they believe it’s a Pagan holiday associated with devil worship. Instead Evangelical Christians may celebrate Reformation Day (also Oct. 31) or have a fall festival without any of the classic Halloween elements, like costumes or scary decorations.

Some Hindus

IndiaPix/IndiaPicture/IndiaPicture/Getty Images

Those who follow the Hindu religion already have a fall holiday, Diwali, a five day celebration of light. The exact dates change each year, but Diwali is a joyful celebration that brings people together to pray for good fortune and celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Some Hindus may also celebrate Halloween, though many are wary of glorifying ghosts so look forward to Diwali instead, which occasionally does fall on the same day as Halloween.

Some Mormons

The Mormon religion leaves it up to individuals to decide whether or not to celebrate the spooky holiday (though you probably won’t see Mormon children in scary costumes). If the holiday falls on a Sunday, however, most families will move to the festivities to another day like Friday or Saturday, as Mormons honor the Sabbath, and try to abstain from labor or other activities outside the home on Sundays (except for church).