Monday, October 11, 2010


I just watched an interesting YouTube at A Wise Woman Builds Her Home.  It's on the origins and history of Halloween, (most of which I'm familiar with) and then argues against Christians participating in the traditions.

I always have such a dilemma this time of year, more so as my kids get older and are more aware of the holiday.  Should it be something Christians take part in?

I grew up in a fairly secular home, and did the trick-or-treat thing.  My mom fondly remembered getting the best end of the deal as a Catholic - November 1 is All Saint's Day, and always a day off of school for the parochial students, so they got to stay up extra-late raking in the goodies.

As a parent, we've ignored the holiday altogether, save for explaining the sudden appearance of hellish decor at the grocery stores.

We've also gone to church-sponsored halloween-alternative Bible-maze things.

We've gone to smaller (our main church) Harvest (read: Candy and Cake Walk) Parties.

We've stayed home with root-beer floats and played games.

We've never sanctioned 'evil' or scary costumes - this was most easily done at our small church harvest party, where it wasn't advertised to the whole town, and we parents used collective discretion.  No witches, goblins, vampires and the like.  Raggedy Ann, princesses, etc.

Theologically, I've had both ends of the spectrum imposed upon me.  And I don't mean that to impugn anyone else.  I've just never found my own peace with the subject.

Children love to dress up, and the idea of a holiday with that specific tradition, well, that's a hard one to abandon, unless you have another day or time to enjoy the costume aspect (maybe that's what we need to do).  I've not had trouble staying away from the trick-or-treat tradition, since I'm not big on candy nor the   whole idea of begging/entitlement.  Worse, is the history:  Give me a treat (your money) or I'll play a trick (burn your house down).  :]

The comparative analogy mentioned in the YouTube video (the Nazi salute) is compelling.

What are your thoughts?  Do you celebrate it with all the cultural traditions, abandon it completely, or some pseudo-version that is less offensive to your faith?


Benny said...

We started out doing the costumes, trick-or-treating, etc. but no scary ones when our first was little. But then as the kids grew and my understanding of the history and meaning behind Halloween grew, we participated less and less. After a few years we started handing out candy at home with Bible verses tied to the candy. My kids don't ever remember trick-or-treating - we only did it when the first one or two were babies. But last year I did major research to back my beliefs and we discussed it with the kids. We mostly discuss how even though most "Christian" holidays (Christmas & Easter in particular) have pagan roots, we do all that we can to glorify God through what we do for those days. But with Halloween, there is so very little that glorifies Him, in fact most of that day dishonors Him and brings attention instead to His enemy. So as of last year we officially do not participate, and the kids have full knowledge of why. We do however choose a very few activities that might bring glory to God - we still choose a Bible verse and tie it to the candy each year (to reach those who do participate and might need a seed planted in their hearts). We also carve pumpkins but make it into a gospel message with the kids (we're all dirty inside - only Jesus can clean us out, His light shines in us like the candle, etc.). We do let the kids dress up in their usual dress up garb from our own stash, and each year we do hit the after-halloween sales and buy super discounted costumes to refurbish our dressup supplies. Nothing scary or pagan-like, but the kids get a kick out of knowing they'll get to pick new dressup gear once a year.

So that's our take on Halloween. I did it just like the rest of the world as a kid, but have made different choices as a parent. I've told the kids that if they grow up and don't feel it's in conflict with their own personal faith they are free to make that choice for their own families, just as we are now for ours. I hope you find peace in whatever path you guys choose for your family! It's a tough call for sure - I hate to make it a forbidden fruit for the kids, but I just don't feel right making a holiday of it, either.


MamaJ said...

I was going to post about this today also. :-) It's definitely the topic of the month! Hubby did Halloween "full-fledged" when he was younger. Scary costumes and all. My family always did the church Fall Festival and the not-scary costumes. Once we started having children, we didn't want to take them trick-or-treating, but we did go to the church festivals. The past few years, we have been convicted about even doing that. We just printed off a good article about the origins of Halloween and how it has been "Christianized" over the years.

I also go buy dress-ups clothes for them after the holiday is over for half-price! Our kids dress up anytime, we don't tie it into the celebration of Halloween anymore.

EllaJac said...

Good idea about buying costumes on clearance! I may try that, though I've heard that even pre-holiday the things start to sell out...?

Thank you for your input and insights.. I'll check that link, Jana.

MamaJ said...

From what we've seen the past few years, the costumes that sell out are mainly the "popular" character costumes. Hannah Montana, Jonas Bros, etc. The regular princess, cowgirl, ladybug ones are usually still available. HTH!