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On Celebrating Halloween

October 24, 1994

I would like to say a few things in regard to Elaine E. Minamide's article on the evils of Halloween ("Bedeviled by Halloween," Oct. 17.)

When I was married, I participated in a ceremony that in not-so-ancient times represented a transfer of "property" from one man--the father--to another--the husband. If I had allowed old associations and meanings to ruin it for me, I could never have gotten married.

I think Minamide should not keep her kids from what can be, and mostly is, a harmless and even beneficial confrontation of our fears of things imaginary (vampires etc.) and things real (death). She could even use this time to talk with her children about how death is not to be feared and discuss with them, if this is her belief, how "Grandma would never be a ghost because she would be in heaven," or whatever she wanted to say. You can take things from an old tradition--even pagan ones--and make them over into a new celebration.

Why not acknowledge where humanity has been on its travels rather than recoil in fear from everything that reminds you of a pre-Christian past?

MELANIE MACQUEEN

Los Angeles

I feel sorry for Elaine Minamide's daughter, not so much for missing out on the innocent fun of Halloween, as for having a parent who presents such a rigid (and historically inaccurate) picture of what it means to be a Christian.

Minamide rejects Halloween because of its links to "pagan" (i.e., pre-Christian) rites. Apparently, she must also not celebrate Easter with images of bunnies, eggs or little chicks, symbols of fertility cults celebrating the rebirth of the Earth in spring, or have a Christmas tree at Christmas. The use of trees in Christmas festivities first became widely popular in 19th Century England but had its roots in Germanic tribes that worshiped trees and nature.

Early Christians obviously realized that their religion was part of a tradition that included many influences, not all of which originated with Christ. Many pagan holidays, symbols and practices were incorporated into Christianity, sending a message of inclusion, tolerance and respect for the differences of others. How sad that this is the part of the message that Minamide has missed.

WENDY HARRISON

Marina Del Rey

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