Contemplating Halloween

Last year on October 31st, my daughter and I sat in the dentist’s office: she was in the hot seat, while I waited on the bench against the window. Nonchalantly, her dentist asked her, “So, what are you going to be for Halloween?”

Knowing we no longer participated in the holiday, she just glanced at me, unsure of what to say, “We don’t go trick-or-treating.”

The dentist’s eyebrows peeked and he turned his attention toward me, as if my daughter had spoken in error. He gave me an awkward smile.

“We have plans at her grandma’s house tonight,” I offered truthfully.

“Oh, well, that will be fun…” He didn’t seem too convinced.

Image result for halloween costumes for kids

Even though I’m not embarrassed to let people know–obviously–that we no longer celebrate Halloween, I find it interesting how many Christians scoff incredulously at our decision…as if our lack of participation offends them. Unlike some, I don’t think that all Christians celebrating Halloween are worshiping the devil. Nor do I think that the day is void of redemptive purposes; I know some moms who use the holiday as a way to witness to/bless their community. However, I do think we should contemplate the why behind our actions and what we are conveying to our children as valuable. I’m not opposed to dressing up–as long as the outfit doesn’t endorse evil–and I don’t mind candy (most of the time), but for the same reason I don’t “do Santa”, Elf on the Shelf, or excessive gifts around Christmas. Around Easter, I don’t give my kids gifts (that’s not the point of the Resurrection), and we don’t have Easter eggs hunts (also detracting from the focal point of why we are feasting and praising).

Still, I want to choose to engage in activities that will help point our kids back to the Source of Life, not distract from it.

Naturally, I don’t follow this principle perfectly–no one does. I often see areas where the culture has bled into our more eternal perspective, amusing us with lesser diversions.

But a few years ago, my husband and I had one of those moments where we needed to ask ourselves, “Why exactly are we doing this and what benefit is it to our family?” Some of the houses we visited horrified the kids and they couldn’t understand why someone would want a zombie in their front yard. The candy made them hyper, irritable, and sick and increased cavities and who has money for costumes anyway? We sat our kids down and discussed the holiday and what it was about and how it didn’t really serve the believer in any way. We shared our hearts and surprisingly, we didn’t get a lot of whining or rebuttal. They still dress up on a weekly basis, usually as superheroes, adventurers, or cowboys, and no one misses the other exercises.

We don’t see the answer to Halloween as a black and white, but I do believe that participating in gruesome activities, wallowing in fear (e.g. haunted houses, horror movies, etc.), and celebrating witches, ghosts, devils, and murderers is wrong. Who are we honoring when we observe the holiday in that way? Perhaps you have found a way to redeem the day, but for us, we’ve chosen to go about acknowledging October 31st as the Lord’s Day, rejoicing and being glad in it (without the creepy clowns, fearful finds, or smutty over-exposure).

YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
~Matthew 5:14-16

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