So while reading articles on CTV news I noticed their question of the day, I'm not don't study Paganism anymore, but still find this very offensive.
"Do you agree that Halloween is a celebration of evil and the occult?"
Um, how about NO!
Halloween for those who don't know its true origin, has roots in many beliefs. There is folklore and myth from Roman times, but its mainly based on the Celtic holiday of Samhain, which is the Celtic new year. It marked the end of the harvest, the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half". It was celebrated over the course of several days and had some elements of a Festival of the Dead (recognition of deceased members of a community or culture).
Many Christians like to believe that the holiday is based in devil worship because of the misguided idea that Neo-pagans or Wiccans praise the devil (devil worship is Satanism not Paganism). Because of this, many people refuse to allow their children to "Trick or Treat" (didnt become commercially/modernly common until early 1900's).
Note: Paganism is a blanket term for beliefs with multiple deities. And yes, some having godess like head figures, it doesn't make them evil. Neo-Pagans are modern people that follow ancient Pagan belief systems, including Celtic, Egyptian, Greek, Norse and Roman, etc.
Trick or Treating: is believed to have come from the tradition where Celtic people left food on their doorstep for the spirits who came around, to prevent the spirits from wanting to come inside the house. It also comes from the medieval practice of 'Souling' where poor people would make the rounds begging for food & offered prayers for the dead on 'All Souls Day'.
Many people don't realize that there is just as much pagan traditions in modern Christmas celebrations than in Halloween's Trick or Treating, 'Spooky Ghosts' or costume parties.
XMAS Traditions most people don't know are Pagan:
Xmas Tree: also known as a Yule Tree because it came from the tradition of bringing in a tree to the home to encourage the return of the god (the Sun). Many believe that the tree is the same tree as the Yule Log.
Yule Log: Part of the Yule Solstice, Dec 21st. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year. The log had to have been on your property or given as a gift... it must never have been purchased. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour and then set on fire. The log would smolder for 12 days before being ceremonially put out.
Mistletoe: The first found associated with the ancient festival of Saturnalia. One belief was that it has power to encourage fertility. You could declare peace amongst enemies under a mistletoe in Scandinavia, declaring a truce during a disagreement
I'm sure I could go father into this topic, but I'll save if for Xmas time...which I will likely be posting often...being as I dislike Christmas. Some people may think I'm picking on Christianity, being I'm an Anti-Theist and have been supporting Wiccan or Pagan beliefs. I support the general codes/morals/ideals of them because of their beliefs in harmony and peace with the earth (not their deity beliefs). This is also why (for the most part) I also have no issue with Buddhism.
If you don't believe me do some research your self (on objective, none religious sites). I'm open for controversial or opposing comments that have factual, objective views...