Many Christians will not participate in Halloween because of its pagan roots and the focus on ghosts, zombies and devils. But I don’t believe that we should be afraid of it.

Halloween has grown in popularity, expanding beyond Oct. 31 to include a month of lawn decorations and parties for adults and children. The National Retail Federation estimated that Americans spent $6.86 billion last year on Halloween, double what was spent in 2005.

This holiday has roots that go deep into the Celtic festival of Samhain, which means “summer’s end.” Samhain was a time of transition, in which farmers prepared for the cold winter months. It was also a time when the physical and supernatural worlds were believed to be very close to one another. Magical things could happen on Samhain, according to the Celts.

Once Christianity achieved dominance in Europe, these ancient beliefs took on a Christian flavor. The souls of the dead were believed to wander the earth until All Saints’ (Hallows’) Day, and Halloween (literally “All Hallows’ Eve”) was the last chance for angry ghosts to get even with their enemies.

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