I have lived in the UAE for 5 years now and never cease at being amazed at how the 'celebration' of Halloween is such a big thing here. I was initially very shocked at this celebration even being allowed as it seems so completely inconsistent with the laws here that prohibit fortune telling and other such practices. They are forbidden under Islamic law in the same manner as gambling is. Even more difficult to understand is that Halloween originated as a celebration marking the beginning of winter among ancient pagans of Britain-no connection to the Middle East at all. On this 'occasion', it was believed that supernatural forces gathered together and the barriers between the ghostly and the human worlds were broken. They believed that spirits or the souls of the dead were able to visit earth during this time and roam about. In Islamic teachings all such practices and beliefs are strictly Haram meaning forbidden. The selling or importation of Black magic related goods is strictly forbidden in the UAE. See this link for example:
Virtually all Halloween traditions are based either in ancient pagan culture, or in Western culture. From an Islamic point of view, they are all forms of idolatry and as such are forbidden. Indeed if you are caught entering the UAE with items related to witchcraft you will receive a lifetime ban.
Muslim and Christian celebrations then should surely be ones that honor and uphold their faith and beliefs. How can one worship only Allah, the Creator, or Jesus Christ if we participate in activities that are based in pagan rituals, divination (or fortune telling), and the spirit world? Many people participate in these celebrations without even understanding the history and the pagan connections just because their friends are doing it and their parents did it but does that make it acceptable? In these days of social media and internet access to knowledge ignorance really isn't an excuse but I guess the commercial trappings of this dubious 'holiday' are just too lucrative.
Shops here in Dubai as in the UK are filled with masks, plastic bats and images of black cats alongside Jack O' lanterns, etc.: These animals according to the origins of this pagan holiday were believed to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Black cats especially were believed to house the souls of witches. Jack-O'-Lantern is an old Irish tradition based on a legend about a stingy, drunken man named Jack who played a trick on the devil, then made the devil promise not to take his soul. But when Jack died, he was turned away from Heaven because of his pact and so desperate for a resting place, he went to the devil but the devil also turned him away. Stuck on earth on a dark night, Jack was lost. The devil tossed him a lighted coal from the fire of Hell, which Jack placed inside a turnip as a lamp to light his way. Since that day, he has traveled the world over in search of a resting place and he particularly emerges at Halloween-in any case all such nonsense has nothing to do with the sanctity and prestige of any sacred religion!
To some, Halloween truly is a "holy" day because it is set aside to worship the devil. Satan hates God and mankind so you might think it makes religious people very sad that so many people want to celebrate a day which was meant to give glory to God's enemy and hellish things.
I would have thought that Christians and Muslims alike would have enough celebrations that didn't corrupt the children like Eid and Christmas without indulging in this seemingly "innocent" fun but which does appear to encourage belief in the dead rising and witches roaming. I guess it could be called the 'Harry Potter Effect'. Those movies are just harmless fun surely? Even though it could be said they do encourage the young to believe in magic and witchcraft as an alternative lifestyle to religion. Either way the internet is alive with news of parties and celebrations all over Dubai welcoming this event. "Come to my Halloween party tonight at 10.00pm" is a common tweet flying around the cyberspace this month in Dubai I can tell you. So in the end I guess Commerce wins against conscience every time.
When tempted to indulge in such celebrations I think truly religious people need to remember the pagan origins of these traditions, and set an example by shunning such activities. Save the celebration, the fun and the games, for birthdays and more wholesome festivals. Children can still have their fun, and most importantly, should learn that we only acknowledge holidays that have a religious significance to us as religious people of faith. Holidays are not just excuses to binge and be wild regardless of the significance of the occasion. Our holidays should retain their religious importance above reckless celebration of such seedy traditions of superstitious and doubtful origins.