Christians Feared Pagan Rites Hid Behind Witches' Rags And Hollow-Wean Garb

Many Christians refuse to participate in Halloween because of its pagan roots and the focus on ghosts. Pastor Henry Brinton points out, "it's an opportunity to learn about death."

Last year Americans spent twice what they spent in 2005 on Halloween. Happy news for
The National Retail Federation -- $6.86 billion was spent in 2011.

Celts celebrated summer's end -- Samhain -- and said magical things could happen then.
And somehow pumpkins horn in as the symbol for ending summer and greeting winter seasons.

Once Christianity achieved dominance in Europe, the souls of the dead were believed to wander the earth until All Saints' (Hallows') Day. Halloween is All Hallow's Eve, the night before, hence the last chance for angry ghosts to get even with their nemesis.

So what did Christians do? Put on masks and costumes to disguise themselves. The tradition goes its merry way when we dress up as witches, vampire and skeletons.

Celts built bonfires to ward off evil spirits and dressed in costumes to hide from angry ghosts. Their witch doctors were the Druids.

Alexandria, Va. pastor of a Presbyterian congregation, Rev. Hinton adds brightly, "Although Halloween is a dark day, we can use the day to remember the dead who continue to live as inspirations to us."