I wrote this last year, but thought I would post it again …
The word “my” is key, because I KNOW many of you will have different thoughts than I do. And that’s ok.
So again, MY thoughts. And please read to the end.
I know Halloween has pagan roots – and so do a lot of other things in our culture like saying “God bless you,” after someone sneezes. But in the case of Halloween, many people go back to those roots in their October celebrations. Witches and witchcraft are glorified. The more grotesque the decor, the better. Having lived in an area where the festivities not only bordered on evil, but were evil (no black cats to be adopted from animal shelters for a month or two before the day), I know how satanic it all can get.
I also remember arriving home after my dad’s funeral (back in ’99) and seeing neighbors constructing a graveyard in their front yard with body limbs scattered between the plastic tombstones. Still in the midst of grief, I remember the scene producing fresh tears of sadness. Death isn’t funny … and yet that’s the way we often present it to kids.
(And I will say that the nursing home in our area whose main Halloween decoration is skeletons “trying” to climb into the residents’ windows is a little weird.)
BUT, then there’s the other side of Halloween.
The school party where kids dress up (and maybe parade through town) and stuff themselves with orange cupcakes and candy corn.
The little kid dressing up like a firefighter or Elsa and going house-to-house collecting candy. He isn’t thinking anything evil except maybe how to get his favorite candy bar out of his sister’s bag and into his own. (Yes, there are safety concerns especially in some areas, but that’s a different subject.)
Many churches have taken advantage of the celebration (and the safety concerns) by hosting Trunk or Treat nights. They not only invite church kids, but neighborhood kids to dress up, roam the parking lot and get candy. Games are provided and the gospel is presented. Many kids have been invited to church on those Trunk and Treat nights and eventually became regular attenders of the church’s kids’ ministry.
To me, this second side of Halloween is just fine. Yes, our family gives out candy … and in our neighborhood, that still means to a LOT of kids. We have always found it to be a great way to meet the neighbors and their children. I love kids and if I can make a five-year-old who is dressed up like a rabbit or a kitten smile – then I am more than happy to do so.
- Loving our neighbors should happen 365 days a year,
- Using Halloween as an opportunity to say “hi” and greet the kids … and parents who come to the door is a good thing. (Many parents now walk with their kids because of safety issues so we get opportunity to meet the entire family.)
- Keeping Halloween decor and costumes on the good side is fairly easy: Think pumpkins and cornstalks. Think Superman, Elsa, a tiger, or a princess.
- Planning a Trunk or Treat event for your church can be a great outreach – especially for those parents who do hesitate to allow their kids to go door-to-door because of safety issues. (Is this something you could help plan for your church in the future? The web has several sites which explain how to set them up and some even include object lessons from the Bible to present at the event.
- Inviting neighbors to any fall church events for children is taking advantage of an opportunity.
I do desire to live out Colossians 3:17: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17) And I see no conflict between that verse and handing out chocolate to the neighborhood pirates and princesses. I would much rather have a child say, “nice people live in that house,” than “those people don’t even believe in candy.”
All that being said – there are many different opinions out there as how a family should approach Halloween. Each family needs to make their own decision and that’s between the family and the Lord – NOT the family and us. We need to respect one another’s decisions and not act self-righteous because we do it THIS WAY and THEY DON’T. The thing is, we’re told to be kind and that means being kind to the neighbor kids AND being kind to the grown-ups who have different opinions on Halloween.
Just some thoughts …
(Want a verse to recite to your kids on Halloween? If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it. – Proverbs 15:16. Sorry, I couldn’t help but add that! 🙂 )