I have recently been asked by many people my thoughts, as a Christian, on Halloween. My feelings on the holiday are ever changing, but for this year, here is my attempt at putting it into words. Growing up, we ALWAYS celebrated Halloween. My mom was into making us homemade costumes and decking the house out like Martha Stewart Magazine. Pretty much everything was made from scratch and perfect. We trick or treated at our grandparents' houses and around our little neighborhood. It was always fun. Each Halloween my mom would tell me the story of my coming into the world. On Halloween 1978 (I will be celebrating my second sweet sixteen this year :) I'll save you the math) My dad was passing out candy while my mom frightened young children by playing the organ very loudly and unexpectedly. She thought it was hilarious to scare young children I guess. HA! Anyway, she laughed and laughed as she played until she began to feel contractions. She apparently had even scared her own kid! :) So they left for the hospital and I was born the next morning.
So, Halloween always held fond family memories and fun. I have never really taken issue with the holiday. I am not one who enjoys being scared, so I have never really gotten into that side of things, but we always dressed up as Rainbow Brite or something and went on our merry way to collect the ONLY candy we would eat all year. (My mom was a STICKLER when it came to our diet).
Even in college and as a young adult I always carved pumpkins and handed out candy. I never saw anything wrong with it. Then we had Luke and I LOVED dressing him up and going out. I have always known lots of families who don't celebrate and honestly, I think that is okay too. I think that when it comes to this holiday it is really more a matter of the heart. I know that many say that it is an evil holiday and I am sure it can be if that is what you make of it. I have never really seen it that way. We have always trick or treated...until this year.
This year, my seven year old, blue eyed wonder sat next to me with tears in his eyes. He had been asked to think about what he wanted to "be" for Halloween this year and we had decided he, Ben and Hope would be Luigi, Mario and Peach. I was so excited and we were getting things together. I could tell there was something he wanted to tell me so I turned to him and asked what was wrong.
He began to sob. He said he did not want to dress up or do trick or treat. He said that it makes his heart feel sad that so many people make death seem like something creepy and gross. He reminded me that he held two of his OWN brothers as they died. He reminded me that it was anything but creepy and gross.
I lost it, I began to bawl. I had NEVER thought of things from that perspective. I held him as he cried and told him that we did not have to do anything that made him feel like that. That if it felt wrong in his heart that I was proud of him for telling me about it and I assured him that he could skip whatever traditions he wanted to.
Now, while I was BLOWN away by his sensitivity to the issue, I also was a little heartbroken. I was SO looking forward to dressing them up and making home made costumes like my mom did. (I am not gonna lie, I was also looking forward to raiding the pumpkin buckets for Reese Cups).
Howard has always thought it was a stupid holiday. He has gone along with things because I have pushed the issue. I talked with him about it and he said that we should skip it if Luke was feeling that way. I talked with Ben and he agreed, he'd rather skip trick or treat.
I am still struggling a bit I guess. We are still carving pumpkins, roasting pumpkin seeds, and have plans to have donuts and cider with friends, but we will be finding a new tradition this year.
I am NOT in any way saying that I think that we should ALL quit celebrating Halloween. Honestly, my take on it is this...we know in our hearts what is right and what is wrong and if your heart clues you in that something feels wrong then, you shouldn't do it. To say though that ALL Christians should forgo Halloween is not for me to say. Honestly if it weren't for my son having trouble with it we'd likely still be doing it. I think Halloween has become a largely commercialized holiday like most others and am not thrilled with that aspect of it, but I think God is bigger than Halloween and I have no fear of it. I think people can pose a good argument for and against the holiday. So I guess I say, if you can go out and join in community and have fun, it is better to get out there and be Christ to others on Halloween than to hole up in your home and condemn those who do celebrate.