I am interested in your view on using our LDS chapels to hold Halloween celebrations. Halloween has a pagan origin and although all about candy etc now, I still find it strange that as members of the Church we follow and enjoy this event yearly, in our chapels.
Like many holidays, the origins of Halloween are complicated and difficult to pin down. The phrase “Halloween” dates back to the 18th century and ironically enough, is Christian in origin. It roughly translates to “holy evening”. Halloween is the night before All Souls Day, another Christian holiday. In the early days of Christianity it wasn’t uncommon to have a celebration the night before major holidays, such as Christmas, Pentecost, and Easter. Like many other holidays some cultures have twisted and adopted its customs for their own purposes, and the “pagan” history of Halloween might be one of those times.
The LDS Church takes no official stance on Halloween, and the fact that our wards usually host Halloween parties shows that the Church doesn’t really have a problem with it. It’s not uncommon for wards, especially those with a large amount of families, to have Halloween activities where the children and adults can show up in their costumes. There are, of course, still rules we should follow. No one is allowed to wear a scary or vulgar costume and masks are generally frowned upon, especially for adults. Like you mentioned, it’s mostly about candy and creating a feeling of community in your neighborhood and ward.
Halloween is about perspective. Do some people use the holiday for reasons we, as active members of the Church might not like? Sure. Do the overwhelmingly majority of people use the holiday as an excuse to dress up in fun costumes and spread joy to their friends, neighbors and other members? I think the answer would be yes.
Here are a couple of other Q&A’s that might be of interest: