Halloween not a holiday for all

Halloween may seem like a harmless holiday for kids to dress up and trick-or-treat and for college students to go to costume parties, but many students don’t celebrate the occasion for personal and religious reasons.

Graduate student Justin Marks, a mathematics doctoral candidate, is one of them.


“It doesn’t encourage deepening of relationships within the family, or friends for that matter, like Thanksgiving and Christmas do,” Marks said, who identifies as a Christian.

Marks said he trick-or-treated as a kid in costumes like dinosaurs or trains, but refrains from celebrating Halloween now because it doesn’t have a meaningful tradition behind it in Christianity, such as Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus and Easter celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

“Currently, the dominant tone of Halloween in our culture is a celebration of death and horror, which are characteristics of Satan, versus life and peace, which are attributes of Jesus and the things truly worthy of celebration,” Marks said.

Marks said Halloween seems like an excuse for many people to get drunk and be promiscuous, both of which are behaviors he thinks are wrong. Marks said there isn’t much that draws him about Halloween, making it easy for him not to celebrate it.

Senior health and exercise science major Rebecca Schwarz doesn’t celebrate Halloween either.

Schwarz explained that in her religion, Judaism, there is a different holiday called Purim which Jewish people celebrate by dressing up in costumes and traveling to others’ houses to give them candy. Purim is usually celebrated in February or March, she said.

“I can’t speak for all Jews, but most religious Jews will refrain from celebrating Halloween due to its pagan roots,” Schwarz said.

The roots of Halloween and the various traditions that go along with celebrating it have been said to come from several different sources, from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain to the Catholic holiday of All Hallows Eve which takes place before All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1.

Schwarz grew up not celebrating Halloween and never trick-or-treated as a child.

“I did celebrate Halloween my first year up here at CSU,” Schwarz said. “It wasn’t quite as wholesome as I expected it to be, given that my understanding of Halloween was that it’s a kids’ holiday.”


Jared Woodrow, who identifies as a Muslim, said he doesn’t celebrate Halloween because there is no connection between Halloween and the country he lives in nor the religion he practices.

Woodrow, a senior criminal justice major and president of the Muslim Student Association, celebrated Halloween up until the year he became a Muslim.

“After that, I decided that since it was not celebrated by our Prophet nor is it connected to any real –– however tenuous the ties may be –– scriptural connection to the Old or New Testament, if I want to dress up as Boba Fett –– which I may do –– I don’t need an excuse to do so,” Woodrow said.

Woodrow said he felt Halloween was little more than a “Hallmark holiday.”

“It is a waste of time and money,” Woodrow said. “Which the American capitalist system is all too prepared to wring out for every dollar that can be mustered.”

Collegian Writer Emily Smith can be reached at news@collegian.com.