As a child of the 60’s and ’70s, I grew up participating in Halloween every year. I have lots of happy memories trick or treating as a kid. As I got older, the celebrations got more raucous. Fast forward a few years on what was probably my second sober Halloween I rescued a frightened dog who had been pelted by eggs, cowering in front of my apartment house. I named her “Spooky.” After she recovered from her trauma she started to display an amazing fetch instinct and a few months later she became a star bomb dog for the Atlantic City Police Department. As far as I know, Spooky remained her name. It’s a sweet memory.
Christians and Halloween
As a new Christian and a new parent, I was anxious to do all the right things. It was strongly urged in my church for families to stay away from anything having to do with Halloween. I felt a little bad about this but wanting to do the right thing, we completely abstained from anything having to do with Halloween except for some harvest festivals throughout the years. Luckily we live in a rural area so there were never any trick or treaters who would brave the dark, two acre lots and wildlife on my street anyway. (I was quietly relieved to avoid the potential conflict.)
One year a friend at church who lived in a subdivision privately confided to me that her family participated in Halloween on their street. She saw the opportunity for fellowship, reaching out to neighbors and didn’t want to lock themselves in the house. I had to agree with her.
Fast forward again a few years…my husband I both privately felt (but never said to each other until recently) that neither of us ever really had a problem with costumes or trick or treating. I went to a (different) church’s Halloween festivities and realized how much I missed it (kids dressing up, candy and yes…carved pumpkins.)
As my frequent readers know my youngest son with Down Syndrome has caused us to rethink a lot of things and Halloween has been one of them. As is typical with kids with Down Syndrome he is all about FUN and he is all about the OUTFIT. He’s a simple little guy but in a very profound way. I don’t know how I could try to hammer in “Halloween is bad” without making a lot of trouble for him understanding school celebrations or what he sees in stores. It just seems terribly unnecessary. The kid just wants to wear his cowboy hat and score some candy.
To Each His Own…
Being around the Christian homeschooling community for over 20 years, I’ve seen a variety of opinions about holidays celebrated and not celebrated, often accompanied by intense debates and opinions. I listened to them all but over time, I came to understand that there are pagan in roots in Christmas, the days of the week, the months of the year, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and probably plenty more than I can think of. I started to find it all somewhat inconsistent and began to think that Romans 14 was the best application here.
We can respect everyone’s convictions, remembering that what we do or choose not to do is between ourselves and the Lord (within reason and while remembering we are as lights to a dark world). We don’t want to judge others and certainly don’t need to be anybody else’s Holy Spirit. Speaking for myself, I don’t give power to Halloween as being “Satan’s Day.” Everything belongs to the Lord and I believe any day of the year can be redeemed. We are, by His grace, overcomers after all. There are so many ways to enjoy and decorate this time of year and I try to focus on the beauty of the season, to celebrate life and not death. That being said, my husband will watch an occasional zombie movie and finds some of the decorations hilarious.
If I lived in a more populated area, I’d be glad to give out candy. What about Reformation celebrations? Probably a great idea for some families but in our family…it’s just not happening for a variety of reasons. That’s just us.
For our family, it’s been far better to engage than retreat. For the last several years we’ve gone trick or treating and trunk-or-treats at local churches. My son loves socializing and I’m happy to feel part of things again instead of feeling like I had to hide in October!
Feel free to leave comments…but please be respectful!