Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halloween-Trick or Treat?

"What is everyone is doing as alternatives for Halloween? We've decided not to take our daughter out Trick or Treating or anything else like that, but our church stopped having their Fall Festival that they used to have on the same day as Halloween so now I'm kind of stuck for ideas!"-Mindy

A reader emailed me the above question, and seeing how Halloween is coming soon, I thought it would be a good time to share how my parents raised me concerning this day.

Being a Christian affects every aspect of my life. From wearing jewelry, to the music I listen to, and the holidays I observe, everything must come under scrutiny of asking myself, "Is this God honoring?" Halloween is no exception, and so I ask myself, what is the good of Halloween? What could be honoring to God concerning Halloween?

Even a quick study of the day will uncover the origins of Halloween; those origins are troubling to say the least. I found the following quote from a website on the origins of Halloween: "Halloween has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts." That doesn't exactly sound like a day I want to participate in, as we all know that the dead will be raised from the grave when our Lord and Savior returns! They will not be coming back as ghosts to haunt us!

The reader above asked for ideas of how to observe this day if you don't want to go trick or treating. My thoughts? It's just another day. Nothing special is called for. I honestly don't see a need to teach our children that we have to give them something fun to do instead of going trick or treating. I was always taught that Halloween's origins was a wicked thing, we don't observe it, end of story. When we lived in the city, a lot of the time we would turn off a lot of lights in the house and just watch a movie, read a family book, etc. so we didn't have to deal with people ringing our doorbell. Our parents didn't want us as little children to see some of the awful costumes that would show up at the door. Other than that, it was just any other day.

Both of my boy's birthdays are in October, and one is quite close to the 31st. Last year we had their birthday party on Halloween, as it was the only day that would work for family! As other people were walking down the street trick or treating, we were outside in the front yard playing games with the children. We had a few stares, as I'm sure people were wondering why we were not dressed up!

Children think they are getting a treat when you dress them up, and take them out to get candy. What child wouldn't want that? But really you are falling into a trap. You are allowing them to take part in something that from it's roots up is grounded in evil.

I think the most important thing we need to pass on to our children concerning Halloween is this- As Christians, we have no need to fear the evil costumes, and the dark things that go on around this time.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."-Romans 8: 38, 39

As parents, if we are calm and at peace at Halloween time, our children will pick up on that. But if we are fearful of the wickedness that goes on and show it, our children will learn to grow up being afraid also.

That being said, be careful of the "high and mighty" attitude concerning stepping away from Halloween. Sadly, many times when we step back from doing something like the world, it easily lends to a haughty attitude towards those who do participate.

If your family desires this could be a time to reach out to others and share the gospel. Our family has not done this yet, but I've heard of an excellent way to reach out to others during this time. Go ahead and open the door to all the little children, but instead of candy hand out some fruit and a scripture tract! Another idea we heard for adults is to go door to door trick or treating but when someone is trying to share candy with you that is an opportunity to share a tract with them and share that God loves you.

What does your family do on October 31? What ideas can you share for alternatives to the common Halloween practices?



At October 5, 2010 at 10:09 AM , Blogger Grace Wheeler said...

We treat it the same here as you do...in fact we don't even call it "Halloween" we just call it October 31st and treat it like a normal day.

We usually turn the lights of and play hide and seek and then settle down to a movie (which is a rarity around here!).

At October 5, 2010 at 10:43 AM , Blogger Mommy of L and G said...

Ok... I really want to clear something up that has a lot of Christians confused about Halloween. This is not meant to attack, just to inform, because we too were unsure how to approach the holiday. Now, this is not hard fact, just passed down tradition, but as I go on, you'll see the significance. Halloween is actually the Christian alternative to the Pagan holiday, SamHuin (A Celtic Holiday). It means All Hallow's Eve (All Saint's Eve- the Catholic holiday). The early Catholic Church had a problem forcing people to give up their Traditions, so they made it easy for the people to keep their Festivals and Celebrations, by creating Christian Holy-Days on or near the date of the Traditional Festivals. Other examples of this that will surprise you are Christmas. The reason Christmas is the day it is, was because the early church put it then to combat the ancient worship of Mithra(s) on that day. The church created that holiday when it did to counter the pagan holiday. Since no one knows on just which day Jesus was actually born, December 25 worked as well as any other.

All of that being said, many of the current Halloween traditions do have pagan significance, but Halloween itself is not evil. But the same is said of Christmas- the Christmas Tree, Gifts, etc. These things now have a deeper meaning to us Christians (gifts to show us the gift God sent to us, etc). In fact, true Halloween can easily be equated with our Fall Festivals today. The early church created Halloween then like we create Fall Festivals now. Their origins are the same. We need to remember what they mean to us. If Halloween is just a fun time for our children to dress in cute costumes (my daughter is an octopus this year) and get candy, we need to teach our children THAT.

I agree 100% that we don't get the "high and mighty" attitude toward the holiday. We need to be a light to the world, not alienate ourselves from the world. I'm 100% behind not celebrating the holiday if that's your desire, but once encountered a pastor that told us we were sinning by dressing our daughter up as a ladybug and allowing her to get candy. That was wrong. We need to remember it's a personal decision and the reasons behind it are between us and God.

Now to the good stuff. My hubby's family decided they would spend what they would have on costumes and candy to pass out and use it instead on a family night with movies, candy and pizza :-D

Like I said, this was just said to inform. We need to be informed as possible on things so we can effectively combat Satan!!

At October 5, 2010 at 11:23 AM , Blogger Home's Where My Heart Is said...

Great post and great comments!!

I can honestly say that I don't have a nudging in my spirit either way on this topic. I loved how you encourage us not to get high and mighty. That happens so often and does nothing to glorify God.

My husband and I have only been Christians for about 8 years, but like you, it affects all our behaviors and actions. We personally have no problem with doing something fun on Halloween. I don't feel threatened by it at all (Romans 8: 38, 39) because we are so grounded in our faith and beliefs, but I don't care for the scary costumes and things people celebrate. Fall is my favorite time of year and I just love having pumpkins and cute things around to decorate with.

Our kids are not allowed to wear gross or scary costumes. That just doesn't work for us. We are going to be spending Halloween with another family from church who happens to be very anti-Halloween. That was the best day for us to get together for a church planning meeting and lunch. Normally we hand out candy and treat our kids to pizza and games.

This was a fun post, thank you. I love hearing about other family’s traditions and beliefs. I especially appreciate the friendly and non-confrontational manner in which this was set up.

I've been following your blog for a little while now and wanted to say that I find your topics very edifying and my time is well spent here- thank you.

Hope you have a blessed day,


At October 5, 2010 at 11:56 AM , Blogger Jennifer Sara Jansky said...

We are not really all up in arms about it or anything but we try to "live in the world" and not be "of it". We can enjoy "worldly" things without becoming obsessed with them sure. But, sometimes we have to say...hmm...this is just not something that teaches my kids how to do that so we will not join in. We don't really make a big deal about it.

We have handed out tracks before we even had kids but we don't now. No trick or treater's out here.

We don't put up a tree either but for totally different reasons really. I like them, I like fall decorations too. But for us right now it isn't a good use of our money. I just feel like I am wasting money when I can't afford to on something I don't need. There are other more fun things that right now at this time I would rather buy for the kids.

So, with all things we just do what is best at the time and it isn't always about good or evil but sometimes just about being a good steward of what we have or just "avoiding all appearance of evil" as God tells us to do.

I love what you said about not getting prideful about our choices. Great thought!

At October 21, 2010 at 11:16 AM , Anonymous Kristina said...

Nice Thoughts! I really like the idea's posted and commented here!

However, if you take your research a bit further, you will discover that October 31 is actually Reformation Day. It was the day that Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Church door at Whittemburg. It is celebrated widely--especially in Europe, by Protestants. Protestant Children even get that day off school in some countries.

So here's another suggestion--why not celebrate Reformation Day instead of Halloween? Just a thought.

Have a great day, All!


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