What about Halloween?

I was wondering if you could enlighten me about how you and your family deal with Halloween. I feel that as a Christian, I should not have anything to do with it!

I have 2 girls and each year it is a struggle to stand up for our beliefs as Christians with respect to this issue. I have tried various ways of dealing with it in the past. When the girls were really young and didn’t know that they were
missing anything, my husband and I just stayed home, turned out the lights, pretended to not be home, and hid out in the basement watching TV or reading. Then, when they got older, I allowed them to dress up in “good” costumes, like fairies or princesses, but they had to stay home and we would purchase some candy for them to enjoy.

I decided that when I closed my door and pretended to not be home, I was missing opportunities to reach out to those who don’t know Christ as their personal savior. I got pumpkins and carved neat messages in them trying to reach the lost. One year I got 5 pumpkins and on each pumpkin, I carved out a word spelling out the message “Let Jesus Fill The Hollow,” once they were all lined up. Another year, I got 4 pumpkins and carved out the message “God’s Treat is Jesus.” I also ordered gospel tracts and handed them to the kids who came to our door, along with candy. Last year, reluctantly, I took my girls door to door to get candy because I conformed to pressure from my neighbor that I was making too big a deal out of things…after all, she said, the kids are just out to have fun! I failed terribly!

I still feel that we shouldn’t participate and I am struggling with a way to get through this time of the year without letting my girls down. They are going to have to learn that standing up for Jesus isn’t always easy but that they have to remain committed to Him and steadfast regardless of the criticism they receive from peers.

Do you have any suggestions of ways to do something special and fun with your family without compromising your beliefs? What do you do with your children at this time of year? I would really appreciate any feedback you could provide.

Thank you and God bless you and your family!

_________________________

I enjoyed reading your letter a lot, and have SO been there regarding Halloween. It’s such an awkward struggle, isn’t it? By the time my children turned 3, I simply did not know how to respond to Halloween and what to do with them. I grew up dressing up and trick or treating. I loved it as a child and had a blast. Most of the time, my parents had a Halloween party at our house but it was more about dancing, balloons and fun costumes than anything else. I have great memories as a child of this pagan holiday. 😉

As a believer, I asked so many friends what their views were, hoping I’d find the right answer. I asked seasoned, strong Christians with young children and grown children. I also talked to my church about it. What I found out was that everyone has a different opinion of what to do. Our church doesn’t acknowledge Halloween, but has a kid’s outreach event that night. Some friend’s churches have a costume party along with “trunk or treating”—going car to car in the parking lot of the church for candy in “good costumes.” What surprised me most was that most of my grounded Christian friends took their kids trick or treating in their neighborhood. And then there’s my mom who’s now sold out on NOT celebrating or participating in Halloween period. Ahhhhhhh!!!! What do we do?

After doing just about everything you mentioned, from handing out tracks, to turning off the lights, and going to “non” Halloween events on that night, my husband and I decided that what our family enjoys most is dressing up in costumes and going trick or treating. Trust me, we prayed a lot about it! I’ve read all about the origins of Halloween and man, it is a bummer. But am I ever thankful for the commercialism of America. It’s the only holiday in which I’m thankful it adopted a superficial and fun meaning. Please don’t think we “celebrate” the holiday—we don’t, but I don’t think that Halloween can corrupt my children anymore than Christmas can Christianize others who celebrate it for their own reason.

We’ve talked to our children about the holiday and even read them books about it from a Christian point of view. We just use it as an excuse to have fun creating costumes, putting on make-up and playing fun family games that involve pumpkins. We always walk with several neighbors and their children up and down a few streets, and each of our friends enjoy seeing the kids dressed up. (We usually skip the really tricked-out scary houses.) And once we’re home, they sort through the candy, picking their favorites, and getting that once-a-year sugar feast.

I know some Christians will not agree with what we do, and yet we are at peace in allowing the kids to dress up and hunt for candy. I don’t know that there is a wrong or right answer to this one. I think every family needs to pray about it and seek God’s wisdom for themselves. In no way am I suggesting you should trick or treat. If you’re uncomfortable (because God is urging you not to—not the pressure of other Christians) then you should absolutely follow through with those convictions.

You’re correct, in that standing up for Jesus is not always easy. Sometimes, we don’t get to do what everyone else is doing. If you want to show your daughters your convictions about Halloween, then just don’t celebrate it. Your neighbor may think you’re being “mean” to your daughters, but she’s not the one answering to God for them. Don’t let her pressure get in the way.

I do know some families who don’t participate in it and don’t make a big deal about it either. They’ve told their kids they don’t want any part in it and that’s it. That’s all. There are no excuses, no negotiating and no alternate ideas. And all those kids are OK. They weren’t scarred for life. 😉 It may be disappointing to them at first, but they’ll just come to learn it’s one of those family rules.

As Christians, I think we should express our views and concerns with other believers, but leave the decision up to each family, not adding shame or guilt in the choice they make.

We know this tradition originated as the day of the dead, but is that what we’re rejoicing in? Should we let God search our hearts on this one?

Pray about it and follow YOUR spirit on this one, even if it’s tough on your daughters. Halloween is an odd struggle—I think most of us agree on that!

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