Skeletons at the grocery store, tombstones in the neighbor’s yard, jack-o-lanterns everywhere! I am really struggling with Halloween, as I seem to every year just before the big day. The overwhelming pressure to participate in the celebrations really tests my resolve. I know I am not alone in my desire not to celebrate the holiday, but it sure seems that way! But just when I think I am ready to give in, God gives me the inspiration and encouragement to keep going.
With Avery in public school, I knew there would be some uphill battles. The other day, she came home excited to show me how to draw a witch. Unfortunately, it came unexpectedly so I panicked and over-reacted. The look on her face was heart-breaking. So, I had to backpedal a bit to reassure her she wasn’t in trouble. A few days later, she was dressing up her babies (stuffed animals) “for Halloween.” So, I suggested maybe they get dressed up for a party or a parade instead (to which she replied, btw, “Well, for a parade, I want them to be on a float so that they aren’t on the road where they could get squished.”)
But what finally brought me to tears was when I picked Avery up from her K-1st grade Sunday school class at church this weekend. There was a “haunted” maze with a plastic jack-o-lantern and spiders etc. I am completely losing this battle!
I am not, although I know you may find it hard to believe, judging those who do participate. I completely understand how much you want your children to have fun, especially if you grew up with great memories of trick-or-treating as a kid. And, it is largely a harmless event. I am just disappointed that there seem to be so few Christians who are willing to take a stand and be different (or support those who do).
There is evidence that darker practices persist on Halloween, and I fully believe in spiritual realm, a battle between good and evil. What am I teaching my kids by making light of something to be taken serious “because it’s fun”?
But because Halloween is difficult to explain without being scary, I’ve found it really hard to talk with the kids about it and why we don’t celebrate, even at these prime opportunities when single issues come up. It’s been my goal to find a way to do just that this week, however.
So, today, we talked simply about good versus evil. I reviewed our discussion about God-Jesus-Spirit in the Holy Trinity, and how those represented the “good” and holy. Halloween, I explained, is a celebration of the things that don’t please God. She interrupted me at that point and said, “I know! Someone can dress up for Halloween as Jesus!” It was the first time that I felt her making a connection with some of what I have been trying to say, which gave me some hope for the future.
The lines are still fuzzy, and that’s where the struggle begins. For now, this is where I put my foot down:
- No purchased/planned costumes. But, I am all for imagination play and the kids can dress up any day of the year. So, if they want to put on their police uniform or Cinderella dress or tiger outfit on Oct 31, I’m fine with that.
- No trick or treating. We try to make handing out the candy to all our friends and neighbors fun instead.
- No jack-o-lanterns. Each fall we grow or pick pumpkins and set them on the stoop. This year, I am also planning to attempt a pumpkin pie from scratch, too, so the kids can help scoop out the pulp and seeds, and of course bake the pie. Messy and fun!
- No Halloween parties for the kids. This is the hardest one, but I’ve broken this rule in the past and always regretted it. You can’t control how other people celebrate, and therefore, introduce your kids to those concepts.
The bottom line is I am responsible for my children and what goes in their hearts. So, in this case, I’ll continue to err on the side of caution.
“Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31
“ ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12