Halloween — or not

There’s been a lot of religious hand-wringing the past few years about trick-or-treating.

Halloween, for many, is a fun, goofy and utterly meaningless holiday. Nothing more. But over the past few autumns, it has been “revealed” to have pagan roots, Wiccan connections,  and a mix of Celtic and Christian influences that I can’t possibly explain here.

Christians, Jews, Muslims and others now seem to have their own reasons for not dressing up their kids as witches and vampires. Beliefnet.com offers a nice selection of “columns”:http://www.beliefnet.com/index/index_1003.html that explain several points of view.

But “Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church”:http://stmarysml.dioceseny.org/ in Mohegan Lake has its own spin. Tomorrow night (Saturday the 28th), the church will offer its “All Hallows Eve, Tales from the Script(ure)” event. Kids and adults will act out four “scary” stories from the Bible — the Witch of Endor and the Raising of Samuel, Ezekiel and the Valley of Dry Bones, Jesus and the Demon Possessed Man of the Gerasene Graveyard, and the War in Heaven.

“Ours will take a look at what the Bible stories are that speak to the scary elements of ghosts, skeletons, demons and monsters,” said the Rev. Claire Woodley-Aitchison, rector  of the church.

The whole thing should run from 5 p.m. to 5:45 or so. A map and directions are on St. Mary’s website.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.