So I’m not sure if I should even begin this discussion, but I trust we can all be respectful and sensitive to others’ thoughts and opinions.
What are your thoughts about Halloween?
As Christians, what is our role to play and what should we be teaching our children?
Do we ignore the holiday altogether?
Ban it from our homes?
Or simply take part in it?
What have you decided to do with your family, and what are your reasons behind that decision? How do you explain your thoughts to your children and do they have friends who are making different choices?
I have Muslim and Jehovah’s Witness friends who will take no part in Halloween on any level, even going as far as to turn off all lights and refuse to answer the door. I have Christian friends who don’t think twice about letting their children participate in Halloween by trick or treating, dressing up and attending Halloween parties. I have Christian friends who simply ignore the holiday altogether, which actually works quite well if you live in a rural area and your children are surrounded mainly by friends and family who choose to do the same. That is the way I experienced Halloween as a child. Do you carve pumpkins or hand out candy to your neighbour children?
There are churches and families who plan alternative activities such as Fall celebrations and Bible character dress up parties. There are people who hand out candy with scripture verses, Christian kids’ tracts and other things in attempt to reach kids in a small way with the gospel on a night when they’re flocking to our doors.
In our town the hospital’s long-term care facility opens it’s doors to the public and kids can come enjoy trick or treating, games and snacks with the elderly and disabled people in a warm, safe and dry environment, which I think is an ingenious idea!
This year my husband and I have decided to shift our children’s focus off themselves for the evening and onto others by collecting for the local food bank while still enjoying the fun of going from house to house together and yes, most likely receiving bucketfuls of candy. We’ve chosen not to dress up, but certainly don’t believe this is the only way to handle Halloween effectively. We’re also working with a situation where our children have trick or treated in the past and enjoyed it, are surrounded by children and families celebrating Halloween and get lots of encouragement from school to participate in what most kids rank as a favourite holiday.
What about teenagers and young adults’ Halloween parties? Haunted houses?
When trying to do research on the origins of Halloween it was a frustrating experience at best trying to decipher fact from fiction. Do the origins of this holiday hundreds of years ago affect your decisions today? In the melting pot of traditions we experience here in North America is it worth trying to figure out where they all came from and how they got jumbled into what we now know as Halloween? It can be quite the horrifying experience to read about and witness some of the darker traditions associated with Halloween. At the same time, it can be quite confusing once one is actually confronted with the reality of excited little children on your doorstep, all smiles and eager, dancing eyes.
“Trick or treat!”
“Do you like my costume?”
“Am I scary?!”
I have fond memories of a story called “The Pumpkin Patch Parable” as a child that took all the dark images of evil spirits lurking and scary looking pumpkin faces scaring them away out of the Jack-o-Lantern tradition. My daughter had a great time the other day scooping all the slimy, slippery seeds out of a pumpkin at school with her friends and together they planned two triangle eyes, a triangle nose and a scary mouth…because scary things are pretty funny when you’re 6!
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts as long as you’re prepared to be open to others’ thoughts as well 🙂 Like most things, I think this is an area we all need to heed the Spirit’s guidance personally but I’m sure we could learn a lot by sharing our experiences together.
Have a great October 31st! 🙂
4 thoughts on “Halloween”
It would make no sense to my three children if we hid inside our house and refused to answer the door, but I’m not ready to send them out to ask for the candy either. I have several friends who experience a lot of the spiritual darkness of Halloween, so I am also unable to believe that it is a neutral holiday. I want my kids to know that it doesn’t have to be threatening to be different and to celebrate/ not celebrate holidays differently from others; I want them to know that it is important to know how to make decisions for ones own values.
As a result of these thoughts, when trick or treaters knock at our door (some of them neighbours we play with at the park) I (and sometimes my kids) answer the door and very pleasantly say, “Hi guys! I’m sorry, but we don’t celebrate Halloween.” They usually are surprised, but not upset, and say “oh, sorry”. And we say “Don’t worry! Come play some time. Have a good night!”. In my mind, an exchange like this is respectful of them and of our family – it gives us face time and conversation… I find that if I don’t give a list of reasons why I don’t celebrate, I maintain the relationship where the potential of kingdom building stays intact for the future, but I am still respecting my own current feelings and values.
Some really great insights and ideas! Thanks for your thoughts and practical suggestions Janelle! 🙂
and last night, when a neighbour dad and his little “lion” showed up at my door, I realized how hard it is to tell a wee one these things… it turned out one of my friends asked to take our three children to a neighbourhood church for a fun fair… they came home with treat bags too:)
Lol yes there are always curve balls but we learn and grow and so do our children 🙂 I appreciate your honesty and your passion for Kingdom building.