Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Believer's Response to Halloween

Once September is over, I get this churning in my stomach.  October is next & that is my least favorite month of the whole year because of Halloween.
I have tried for years to figure out what I believe is the right way for my family to respond to Halloween.  Honestly, I hate it.  I hate everything about it. The scary creatures, ridiculous house decorations and creepy shows that come on TV.  I start dreading this time of year as soon as I start seeing the stores stock up on candy.
 When I was little it wasn't that big of a deal.  You didn't have to worry about your babies getting scared in the stores by the creepy stuff hanging around.  Our neighbors didn't put tomb stones in their front yard that screamed when you walked by.  It has definitely changed and is getting worse.
Click here to read how the Washington Post reported this change.
Up until a few years ago we lived out in the country miles from the main road.  On Halloween, I wouldn't even mention it & it would be just a normal day for us.  We would sometimes decorate our house for Fall by putting pumpkins on the porch and hanging our favorite scarecrow on the front door.  My wooden set of Pilgrims would be nicely placed on the table in the entry way.  We were focusing on Thanksgiving & most of the time the kids didn't even realize it was Halloween.  Then about a year and a half ago we moved into town.  Now I had trick or treaters to deal with.  I didn't want my kids going out and I didn't want the neighbor kids coming over.  The problem is, our house is one of the main hang outs on the street.  Everyone wants to be at our house, so they had all told my kids they were coming for tons of candy.  I had to think fast & figure out what we were to do.  Should we hide in our house with the lights off or what?  Maybe we could go somewhere.  No that wouldn't work because everyone will be dressed up & it might scare my little ones.  When all else fails...PRAY!
I prayed about it, talked to my husband & we agreed that we were not going to hide in our house.  God had placed us in a neighborhood full of lost people and kids who were living in very disfunctional homes.  How could we react in a way to this holiday that would honor God and in a small way share the gospel with all of these people coming to our door?  We decided to hand out tracts.
I want our family to be a witness to those we live around & the biggest way we can do that is by the way we treat them.  If we hid in our house on Halloween our message would not be a welcoming one to them.  If we hide in our house on a regular basis and do not get to know our neighbors what does that say to them?  I don't want my life to send a message that says, "I will only talk & associate with those who share my beliefs."  That is so far away from the message of grace and love that Jesus came to teach.  I'm so glad that he didn't only hang out with those who believed he was the Messiah.  His message would not have spread & that was his mission; to teach us to love each other and love God with all our might.  A fruit of my love for Christ is my deep desire to share his love with others in whatever way I can.  Even if it means passing out candy at Halloween to children.  I don't see this as celebrating Halloween.  We are not decorating, nor involved with the creepy traditions that come with Halloween.
I know that some who will read this will not agree.  That is o'k, you don't have to agree.  Knowing the history of Halloween helped to make some decisions, but more importantly, knowing what scriptures teach about reaching out to the lost helped even more.

John MacArtur has written a fantastic article describing how Christians can respond to Halloween and the history behind it.

Read Christians and Halloween



Señora Smith said...

Hi Dana! Thanks for posting this. I think I've read something similar you wrote a couple of years back. We have taken very similar stance... although we've increasingly backed out of Halloween rather than crept carefully into it. I might update my blog & include the same article from John MacArthur. He's says so many things well :)

Katie said...

Dana, I like this post. We actually used to hide out in our house or go to the movies or something. I'm passing out candy this year. I've been trying to think of a way to include something that points to Christ, but I don't want to be preachy.

Sarah said...

I think Jesus would have been in the middle of Halloween. Kids get a kick out of Halloween, and Jesus is crazy about kids! Yes, the world has made it uber-creepy and there is some gross stuff out there, but if your house is the place to be, that is AWESOME and already a testimony to how much those kids see Christ in your family.

For Katie, I had some great scripture that I thought of to print on return address labels and stick to whatever I was giving out one year... but now I don't remember what it is/was. Story of my life. I think any encouraging/ blessing scripture would come across fine, such as Romans 15:13, or Isaiah 55:12.

Our church does a 'Trunk or Treat' activity on Halloween as an outreach to our surrounding neighborhood, so being at that for a while prevents our family from making that decision. My 12 year old son and i are, however getting to the stage of coming to battle about what costumes are appropriate...

Dana said...

Senora Smith, Yes, this post was originally at my other blog. I just updated & reposted because I haven't changed my feelings on it.

Katie, we usually put together little baggies with a tract & candy in it to give a way. The tract has our church info on it.

Sarah, We participate in our church Fall Festival, but it isn't on the 31st. We have used this day as an opportunity to show our kids how easy it is to become desensitized by things that the world calls o'k, but scripture speaks against.

Thanks for your comments! You gals are awesome!