Halloween--What To Do?

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It's October, a lovely time of the year. The leaves are changing, the air is cool, the weather is beautiful, the apple cider is nice, the pumpkins are fat and orange. . .fall, my most favorite time of all. But, with October comes a day our country seems to prepare for earlier and earlier each year: Halloween. I'm serious, I think I saw Halloween costumes with school supplies this year!

So the big question:
How does Halloween effect your family? What do you do?

I realize there are many conflicting opinions, but I want to offer a "safe place" where Christian women can share, without walking away feeling condemned. Many families struggle with this topic each year and I think it is a topic worthy of discussion. So, I'd like to get your thoughts about being a Christian and your choices on Halloween in your home. Sometimes simply sharing (not condemning) can bring clarity to this situation for another sister in Christ. So, I'll go first.

Background Information First:
My husband and I had different experiences as kids.

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In his home, Halloween was 100% out; no questions, no discussions, no concessions, completely out. Any school events or family functions associated with Halloween were out of the question. PERIOD. So if that meant being the only kid in your class who had to sit in the library while everyone else went to the Halloween party, so be it. My husband has shared with me that he felt his parents "ruled with an iron fist" when it came to Halloween, among other things. ANYTHING dealing with Halloween was a no-go. So for example, if a well-intending neighbor were to share Halloween cookies with my husband's family, they wouldn't have been allowed to eat them because they had jack-o-lanterns on them. As a matter of fact, they probably would have been thrown away. No questions. It's ungodly. Deal with it. My husband explains that as a kid, that was a difficult pill to swallow. As an adult, he understands what his parents were trying to teach him, but says that their approach made him not want to listen to them at all. He hated the way it was done and for his own family, he never wants to be so hard on his children.

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In my home growing up, we were kind of lukewarm about Halloween. My parents said we didn't celebrate it: we didn't decorate our house, my parents didn't go all out finding the perfect costumes for pictures, and we didn't do haunted houses. But, we were allowed to participate in Halloween events at school and we did try our hands at a jack-o-lantern a time or two. One year, my dad passed out Halloween candy to neighborhood children and I even have memories of trick-or-treating with a neighbor once or twice. But along the way, my parents always explained how Halloween was evil and that's why we didn't celebrate it. As a kid, I  knew that we would never be "that" involved with Halloween, but I was fine with it because I could participate to some extent. Looking back on it as an adult, I feel my parents' approach was conflicting at times, a bit of a mixed bag. For my own family, I didn't want confusion.

What Do We Do In Our Home Now?
My husband and I both agree that we want to do what pleases God. We both agree that we want our light to shine brightly in this world so that others may know Christ. Our convictions on Halloween? We don't celebrate it. Our kids don't go trick-or-treating and we don't pass out Halloween candy. HOWEVER, we have an open, honest, and ON-GOING discussion about our choice not to celebrate it. ANY questions or concerns my kids have, we answer and address, over and over, as many times as they need to talk about it. In those discussions, we talk about Halloween's origins and how SOME people use that day as a reason to practice things that are completely opposite of what pleases God. Just down right evil things. We talk about why that breaks God's heart and why (for our family) we don't want to be associated with it. AND, we talk about the IMPORTANCE of NOT condemning fellow believers who do decide to participate in what many call the "fun" side of Halloween. We do NOT encourage condemnation for the believer.

Do we cover our children's eyes when we pass Halloween costumes in the store? No. (As a matter of fact, I'm considering buying my son an "Iron Man" costume, simply because he loves that superhero. Just not sure I want to pay $12.99 for it!) Do we turn the T.V. off if Clifford is dressed up as a pirate for Halloween? No. Will we not buy the jack-o-lantern cookies when they're marked down to 50% off on November 1st? Uh, no. Do we think we're perfect? Not at all. Do we think this is the only way things can be done? Nope. But these are simply our convictions. We don't want to be extremists and we don't want our children "flipping out" if they see Halloween paraphernalia. It's the world we live in. But, we do want to be clear, firm, and steadfast in our intentions. Balanced.

That is Halloween in my home. What about you? What are your convictions about Halloween? Do you celebrate it? Why or why not?
 
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,
who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
-Romans 8:1

7 comments:

  1. This is a great post Stacie. We also dealt with this situation and my husband and I came to the agreement of simply handing out candy to the neighborhood children, of which we only get around six, simply to be lights in the neighborhood. Before we understood God's word, we let our children trick or treat, but we became convicted to have them not participate once we started homeschooling and really understood God's word. The children in our neighborhood are not Christians, so they don't understand if you don't give out candy. I think it's nice to give them some good candy, a smile and a tract, so that they know we want to share Christ's love with them. I personally wish the day would go away it is a day that glorifies death. But thankfully we know the one who conquered death! Thanks for sharing. God bless. Jen

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    1. Jen, thank you so much for sharing your story about Halloween and what you and your husband decided for your family. I think handing out a tract with the candy is a great way to share the love of Christ with children who may not get any other opportunity to know Him. I, too , am glad to know Jesus!
      Take care, Jen!

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  2. Our history is similar to yours, Stacie. Although in my house growing up, we did participate more in Halloween and no one ever explained to me that it was evil or even considered that it celebrated anything truly abhorrent to God. It was all made up and just a lot of fun. There were costume parties with everybody in town invited (small town). I trick-or-treated and scanned garage sails all year long for items to use as costumes (for dress up and Halloween). I was raised in a Christian home and attended church. (It was a small town in the South; everyone attended church.)

    My husband did not celebrate Halloween at all because it conflicted with his family's beliefs. His father was a pastor in a reformed denomination. The denomination recognizes the deity of Christ, believes the Bible is the inerrant Word of the One True God, and believes we are only saved by the Grace of God not by our own actions.

    In our house together, we homeschool, and we do not celebrate Halloween. But we do celebrate Reformation Day at our church and have participated in other fall festivals, usually at churches. We buy Halloween costumes for dress up when they are marked down significantly and are not the scary kind (super heroes, book and movie characters). I have even purchased costumes as Christmas presents for the children. We do talk about why we don't celebrate Halloween and how it does not glorify God. I'm not sure if fall festivals and Reformation Day parties send a mixed signal to the children because they usually coincide with Halloween. My husband is okay with all of this, and I submit to him with regard other activities related to Halloween, like trick-or-treating and haunted houses.

    Admittedly, there has been a bit of resistance at the not being participating in the zombie apocalypse paintball fundraiser sponsored by local law enforcement. Of course, this is from my husband as well; he has mixed feelings about it. He also has a slight video game addiction.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!!

      I was thinking of buying the super hero costume for my son as a Christmas present as well!!
      I've never heard of Reformation Day, but I'm going to look it up. My church offers a "Harvest Celebration" in lieu of Halloween festivities, too. We've gone a couple of times when my older kids were younger. I wondered the same thing about whether or not it sends a mixed signal, just because the kids dress up and there's the candy (???). Now, we just usually go out to dinner and make it a family night out.
      I think it's great that you've to come to a decision about Halloween and that you submit to your husband's vision for your family.

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  4. I love this post Stacie! Our girls were/are reared the same way. No celebrations or candy passing out and no condemnation of anyone.
    Although one year my husband did pass out Children's Sabbath School Lessons. You can find them online here

    http://www.ourlittlefriend.com/?page=my-sabbath-school-lesson

    Take care!

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    1. Hi, Tonya. Thanks for your comment. I think not condemning is so important. I've heard of people passing out similar information during Halloween, too. I think it's important to hold fast to our Holy Spirit-led convictions, while not making others feel bad (intentionally) when we differ.
      Take care!

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