Do Mormons Celebrate Halloween? Even on Sundays? ~ by Heidi

Here at Mormon Women, we receive numerous emails about Halloween in the month of October. What started out as a pagan ritual in the centuries long before the birth of Jesus Christ, has now, in the United States, become mostly a festive holiday that, through the lights, colorful costumes and fun food, brightens up the darkening days of autumn. Whether or not one celebrates Halloween is a personal preference and there is no official LDS doctrine in regards to it. Most Mormons I know think of Halloween as a fun time for children with rituals and customs that bring warmth to days that are becoming colder.

Most Mormons will dress up their children for Trick-or-Treating (a custom that includes children going from door to door to ask for candy), celebrations at school, at home, and at the church building. Some costumes are silly and some are spooky. Masks are usually avoided as they are considered dangerous, not just amongst members of the Mormon Church, but in society at large. For example, masks can make it hard to see when out Trick-or-Treating in the dark of night. They also make it hard to know the identity of a person, making it easier for a stranger to attend functions to which he/she was not invited. Also, when people feel as if they are anonymous, it can encourage negative behavior they would not normally engage in. In addition, truly scary or gory costumes are discouraged when attending functions attended by small children who might become frightened.

Many people decorate their homes just as they do at Christmastime. Some decorate outside, some decorate inside, some do both.  Some set up haunted houses within their own homes for people to tour through. Again, anything too scary is never a good idea when children are involved.

In the U.S., Halloween is a time when adults engage in a lot of drinking of alcoholic beverages. Mormons don’t. [Read more about the Mormon health code, called the Word of Wisdom.] Other than that, the only thing that is truly different about Halloween amongst Mormons is when it falls on a Sunday. In that case, the celebrations are shifted to Saturday night, or even Friday. Trick-or-Treating is limited to only Mormons as it would be rude to knock on a stranger’s  door the night before Halloween and ask for candy.

In our case, our ward (church congregation) always has a Halloween party the Friday or Saturday night before Halloween. This includes traditional games such as bobbing for apples and a costume parade. It also includes a Trunk-or-Treat, where-in the children go from car trunk to car trunk to ask for candy out in the parking lot of the church building. Many of the cars are heavily decorated and there is a prize for the best costumes as well as the best decorated car. In some wards I have attended, Trick-or-Treating is done in the building where-in each room is decorated as if it were someone’s home. It’s a fun, warm and safe solution to a night that can be a bit dangerous.

Because Halloween is on Sunday this year and our ward is having a party on Saturday night, the ward members have decided to pass out candy to the children who knock on their door on Friday night. Come Sunday night, some Mormons will choose to turn off their porch light, a signal that no candy will be given at that particular home. However, most will have a bowl of candy ready for the children of the neighborhood who come knocking on their doors.

To our Mormon readers, jump in and share your response to this question. Do you celebrate Halloween? If so, what do you do when it falls on a Sunday?