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Thoughts on Halloween

October 29, 2006

This post may be a big mistake, for people have strong and differing opinions about whether or not Christians should play along with Halloween.   Let me say up front that if you have different convictions, I will not despise you and you should not judge me.  This is surely a Romans 14 “disputable matter”. 

I used to believe that Halloween was the Satanic high holy day and Christians should organize 24 hour prayer vigils against all the Satanists meeting in rural graveyards to eat the missing children.  I am now convinced this was almost entirely superstition fed in no small measure by scammers like Mike Warnke.

Then, after I became a Calvinist, I thought we should use the day to have an alternative celebration of Reformation Day.  (Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Wittenburg door on Oct. 31, 1517.)

Then after I had kids and they wanted the candy, I “listened to my wife” (Gen. 3:17) and caved in and let the kids dress up as long as they dressed up like nice things and not like creatures of occult folklore.  So one year we were the characters from the Wizard of Oz Maggie was Toto, Patrick the Tin Man, Joel the Lion, Amy was Dorothy, I was the scarecrow, Katie was Glinda.  Extreme cuteness.

But then last year Amy wanted to be a witch.  I said OK, but I made her promise not to turn anyone into a newt.

You can see how far I’ve drifted.  Better pray for me.   Seriously, here’s my bottom line.  Tuesday night is the one night all year when all our neighbors come to our door.  How can we turn off the lights and ignore them and silently condemn them?   Open the door, give them some candy and tell them how cute they are. 

There, I said it.  Let the egging and the TPing begin!

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2006 6:06 pm

    Well, well, well… *egg in hand* … what have we here???

    I’ve had a similar journey myself on this topic, however, I don’t participate in Halloween nor do I do alternative things. In my area we don’t get trick or treaters so that’s not a consideration. I might have different things to say if I were in a city where herds of little ones came by. But we don’t.

    Considering that I boycotted Christmans, Easter, and Halloween for about four years one could say that my conscience has been freed but not so much that I see anything worthwhile in my context to bring me to dress the girls up and collect candy. We’d have to drive a bit to it anyway; our neighborhood doesn’t even have sidewalks.

    Be that as it may I make sure not to condemn others if they choose to participate in Halloween activities as long as they keep the goat’s blood on their own lawn.

  2. blondie permalink
    October 29, 2006 7:59 pm

    Each year, since our children were old enough to trick-or-treat, we have gone out there with them, to beg for candy be it cold, rainy, or a balmy night. We have done this with much the same attitude you have expressed. Our neighbors are out there walking the streets with their little ones. Our neighbors know we are Christians. I love surprising them, I love being a friendly face and not a condemning one. Sometimes they expect that we will be “leery” and say, “Do you do that?” We have never thought our candy getting activity to be evil, but a way to relate to our neighbors. So, this year our daughter will be a witch, our son a lego, and the older boys…who knows, maybe they are beyond it. (I am so glad you said Amy was a witch last year!)

  3. October 30, 2006 12:18 am

    Hmm… I had a bout of conscience regarding this issue in junior high. It passed by quickly, fueled by much candy corn and the excitement of getting to dress up for an evening. Almost as much fun as prom. Actually, scratch that, wayyyy more fun than prom.

    I totally trick-or-treated until I was a senior in high school (at which point my costume was certainly something my parents should have … umm… reigned me in on, looking back). But in any case… I love Halloween :)

    If anyone has any kids they want to be escorted while trick-or-treating, I humbly offer my services! I’m too old to pretend to be a kid now, and trick or treat myself, so I think chaperoning’s probably as close as I can get?

  4. October 30, 2006 8:56 am

    well, I’m at step 2 of 4 I guess… I’ll write an “aftermath” post sometime soon, and post the party pic (I’m the monk.)

  5. October 30, 2006 12:22 pm

    You know, in Genesis 3.17 when the man listened to his wife, lots of bad things happened, so maybe that isn’t the best verse to use in this instance since you are trying to tell us that it’s ok to do Halloween. :)

    We do Halloween every year, and the boys always have a great time. Last year the older one was Darth Vader and the little one was Yoda, and they had mad light saber battles, and everyone who saw them is still remarking how cute and funny they were. This year they are going to be pirates, and Beth, if you want to come help chaperone them so I won’t go insane trying to carry all their pirate gear and keep up with both of them, I would be really really happy.

    Blondie – what is the Lego costume like? That is a cool idea.

  6. October 30, 2006 12:41 pm

    Really? That’s totally sweet Ellie :) Hah, I get kids *and* pedometer steps for the holiday. See… Halloween is great!

  7. October 30, 2006 3:01 pm

    Alice has historically been pretty anti-Halloween. She still doesn’t like it, but we decided that it would be a good opportunity to create a “social” event around Elizabeth. So she dresses up and we visit friends and neighbors.

  8. October 30, 2006 5:06 pm

    And the woman showed him the individually wrapped bite-sized chocolate candies and he saw that they were good to eat and the children dressed in costume were a delight to the eyes . . .

    I’m the anti-Halloween one in our house, but I also knew people in high school that were into the occult and it freaked me out — and I still have some JW baggage about some holidays. The husband figures it’s all fun and games and candy and as long as we’re having fun with our neighbors and passing out candy and letting our kids be cute (all kids seem to LOVE dress up) and oohing and aahing over the neighbor kids costumes that it’s all good. I can handle it on that level. I wouldn’t even mind a grown-up costume party if it were all ‘nice’, fun stuff ;-)

  9. October 30, 2006 9:16 pm

    I’ve posted a response of sorts on my blog. Let the blog wars begin!!! :-)

  10. October 31, 2006 11:27 am

    I don’t want to dress up for Halloween because I’m lazy and don’t want to put the effort into the costume.

  11. egana permalink
    October 31, 2006 4:01 pm

    fruity: I would LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE a costume party..

    Actually, I am toying with the diea of having a costume party for my birthday in Feb… start thinking of your constume, folks!

    I have always loved halloween. My parents made it fun, and my mom made us fun, creative costumes. One year my brither was an ear of corn. too cute.

    We do it, and since we have a porch, we sit out there (weather permitting) and hand out candy and tell the kids how vute they are. Then, after each group has gone, we pray for them and invite God into their lives to woo them and save them adn give them life. It is a pretty sweet deal. Also, I try to have a lot of REALLY GOOD CANDY in the name of Jesus! *grin*

  12. egana permalink
    October 31, 2006 4:02 pm

    ahem…

    diea = idea
    constume = costume
    brither = brother
    vute = cute

    although, it might be more fun to tell them how really -vute- they are…

  13. blondie permalink
    November 1, 2006 11:32 am

    Sorry that the response to the lego costume is post-halloween, but it is a rectangular box with holes on the sides for the arms. The front has 8 cups cut short , they are glued to the front and then the whole box is painted red. (Red only because that is the color of the sweats we planned on for underneath.) However, Darth Vader won out this year and the “lego” is on hold for next year or for future play here at home.

  14. November 1, 2006 11:52 am

    That lego costume is a great idea! I love it.

  15. Oddball permalink
    November 13, 2006 2:57 pm

    On on slightly related topic, what about Santa Claus?

    I don’t like the idea of my kids (Jimmy age 8 and David age 3) associating the birth of Jesus with an urban legend, but I also hate to be a Scrooge by robbing their childhood of fantasy. We’ve never encouraged the Santa Clause myth with Jimmy, but we never debunked it, either. We’ve just sort of humored it, whenever he would mention him. He seems to now realize that Santa is make believe, though we’ve never broken this to him, and he’s never really asked us. In other words, we appear to have successfully dodged the issue with him.

    With David, I think I’ll take a hard-nosed engineering approach:

    http://www.engineeringedu.com/Santa.html

  16. November 15, 2006 11:13 am

    I’ve also taken the conflicted approach you’ve described, and it seems to have been good for my kids, they too now see it as a fun and harmless bit of make believe. We also talk about St. Nicholas when pressed and try to say that although American Christmas is vulgar and repulsive and materialistic and depressing and sin-inducing and that’s why Daddy is screaming in the car at the mall parking lot and you should leave him alone right now, nevertheless, the idea of giving gifts to one another as a way of remembering God’s gift to us in Jesus is not essentially evil, just mostly.

  17. November 15, 2006 12:13 pm

    This is the sort of thing that has tempted me to celebrate Advent in place of Christmas. I’ve also been tempted eschew with the direct gift giving and receiving, and instead give everyone a share in an African well, and ask for a soccer ball for Asian kids.

    But I’m mostly annoyed by the complaints that corporations aren’t paying enough religious lipservice as they capitalize on cultural traditions that have virtually nothing to do with religious practices. : )

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