Thursday, October 29, 2009

The "H" Word

Halloween. What are we good Christians to do with this day? I've seen several blogs, all from Christian writers, expressing very different opinions.

When I became a mom for the first time, I determined that we would never "do" Halloween. I have a few fond memories of dressing up when I was a kid, but mostly Halloween was a blip on my childhood. As a conservative Christian I didn't want to do anything that could even remotely have ties back to the occult. So we decided we would never go Trick-Or-Treating, but that it was as good a day as any to dress the kids up and show them of at Grandma's house, where there happened to be lots of candy. =-) The kids would help grandma give out candy to trick-or-treaters. Then we'd go home.
A few years later my in-laws church started doing a Harvest Festival. They had blow up rides, and carnaval games and face painting, and all other sorts of fun to do with the family activities. So...we dressed the kids up in their (always) very friendly costumes, and did that. The kids had fun. They got a ton of toys and candy and cookies they didn't need, but it was fun.
Last year, after my in-laws Harvest Festival we went to their house for a bit. Before long the kids were asking if they cold PRETTY PLEASE just go around the block to trick-or-treat with Grandma? I was in a good mood. We were having a good night. So I thought, why not? We made the rounds and came back home with a ton of candy. The kids thought that was the best thing ever--going door to door and getting free candy!
Now we are at this year. My kids once again have their "nice" costumes. The in-laws aren't having the festival at their church this year, so we'll be going to visit Grandma and Grandpa to show off costumes. And maybe there will be a round of trick or treating in their neighborhood. And maybe another round in our neighborhood too.

And you know what? I think it's going to be okay.

Halloween will NEVER be my favorite day. I don't like it at all. I will never have a paper witch or mean-faced jack-lantern in my house. You will never see orange lights here! I'm in constant conflict about whether I'm just being a grinch, or if there is true justification to ignore what is NOW a pretty innoculous holiday. The truth is, I'm not carving a pumpkin because I believe it will keep souls away from my front door. We're not dressing up to keep gouls away. The kids are just having fun getting candy and going to harvest themed parties.
This sounds like justification to those of you who have decided to completely ignore the holiday. I understand that. I could very easily go back to completely ignoring it myself, honestly. But I have chosen to let this one go, to a certain point. We'll dress up. We'll visit people we know. We'll visit our neighbors who have already told our children to BE SURE to stop by their house (these are the kinds in neighbors that would give our kids a whole basket of goodies because they love them so much). The kids will have a good time. And mommy will be on constant watch for anything evil waiting to pop out of the bushes. I'm only half joking there. WE DON'T DO SCARY!

Here are a few articles on the top of "To Halloween or Not to Halloween" that I thought were prety good.


Laurel 1:00 AM  

I added a little addendum to my post, with a link to your post and the 2 links that you gave. It's always good to read several articles while thinking through decisions such as this.

Hope your kids have a fun time at Grandpa and Grandma's.

mama of 13

Kerry 6:39 AM  

I've linked to some good articles, too, on my main blog,if you are interested in more reading.

By the way, we celebrate All Hallow's Eve with all the traditional "stuff": pumpkins and candy and trick-or-treating!

Cat and Mark 7:22 AM  

That's pretty much where we are at too. Hope the kids have a great time! :o)

Kait 8:03 AM  

We pretty much feel like it's all innocent enough. Most holidays have ties back to pagan tradition (including Christmas trees!) and God knows the intentions of our hearts. We choose modest costumes for our girls, watch cartoons/movies that deal with the friendly side of Halloween (no ghosts or scary stuff) and carve our pumpkins with friendly stuff.

It's just a good excuse to play dress up and get candy. Innocent fun.

At the Foot of the Cross 8:10 AM  

Happy Reformation Day! That's October 31st. It's the day that Lutherans(and other protestants) celebrate Luther hanging the 95 Theses on the door at the church in Wittenberg in 1517.

We will be giving candy to the kids and Alex will be at a Halloween party with kids from school. He'll be a castaway (Tom Hanks style) and his costume will be doing double duty as he is in a skit about being stranded on a deserted island and being thankful in a couple of weeks.

Emily B. 9:29 AM  

Sounds like we're pretty much on the same page. Dressing up in friendly costumes and getting candy from friends is really just fun. And in all honesty, I do think that halloween is a rather neutral holiday now.

But that just goes to show how important it is to keep Christmas and Easter rooted in their religious pasts. It really sickens me to see my in-laws (agnostics) hyping up these holidays by focusing on SANTA and the BUNNY. Um, HELLO???? Those holidays will never become "neutral" in our house like holloween has. (grrr...)

have fun :)

Awo 8:11 PM  

So far I've been able to dodge this issue because Theo is very afraid of costumes. OUr church is having an event and we'll got to that, but I didn't get him a costume. Not because of any kind of principled stance, but because he doesn't like costumes. I do hand out candy to the neighborhood kids who come to our house, though. I think of it as being neighborly. I'll take a look at the articles you posted. Have fun. The kids look adorable in their costumes.

whenpigsfly 1:07 AM  

We dont "do " Halloween at all. We've had lots of fall costumed birthday parties,or whole -family Harvest parties for Thanksgiving with bonfires and scavenger hunts and pinatas or candy hunting games. I met my first razorblade in an apple via trick or treating some time back and have no desire for anyone to repeat that experience with my children. We love "pin the Thesis on the Chapel door" as a party game to celebrate Reformation Day and to use it as a time to teach another truly important reason to remember the date. Our family has been tampered with by the occult, yes the satanic, and we stay away from anything which might be viewed in the spirit realm as an invitation.Sort of like " Brink's Security" on our holidays. Nobody trick or treats out here in our boonie neighborhood so we aren't ignoring anyone by planning to not participate. We love the harvest time , use it to talk about eternal Harvest, love to celebrate giving thanks to God for another year in which we had plenty to eat and to share. I absolutely love fall colors , pumpkins and leaves, corn stalks and scarecrows (which are being retired for the season anyhow)and the weather being cool enough to enjoy a bonfire (and its dark early enough that the kids can have a fire in the dark too).