Last year I wrote my thoughts on Halloween and our new tradition of NOT trick or treating. This year when the topic came up, Ben REALLY wanted to dress up and Luke still wanted NO part in the holiday despite the fact that he and his brother are dressed like superheroes, cowboys, ninjas, etc more often than not. My fondness for the holiday was thwarted by a sucker punch while walking through a nearby mall and glancing over at the Halloween store to see a playground of dead baby corpses mechanically spinning and moving around. I literally nearly lost my mind right there in that mall. At what point have we become so desensitized that mechanical dead baby corpses is even remotely funny or even okay? Honestly, I don't think I am easily offended but that display brought me to my knees. I digress...we have super fun kids with super great imaginations and dressing up can be fun!
We debated what to do. We contemplated taking the little ones to a few houses and one of us just staying back and playing games or something with Luke. Then we were invited to a local church community celebration and figured it might be just the thing to allow Ben to dress up and Luke to be comfortable with things. At the last minute we decided to get everyone in costume and head out.
I will say that I think the church did a wonderful job reaching out to the community, providing hot dogs, snacks, beverages, games, and just stretching out a friendly hand and showing love. It really was a great event held by the church and my negative feelings toward the holiday and the events that followed had NOTHING to do with the church's efforts.
The event was held in a local business parking lot. Trick or Treaters were encouraged to join in the fun and i was so impressed by how many actually did. I did leave though feeling disheartened and frustrated. As I stood there looking around at all of the little ones running around I literally felt sick as I saw five year olds in fishnets, sexy seven year old devils, and more slutty (elementary aged) vampires than I care to admit. We also saw many little ones covered in blood and dressed as zombies, scary movie stars, and vampires. In the car on the way home, Luke asked if we could once again bypass the holiday next year as he saw several costumes that bothered him.
I sat last night with a broken heart praying and wondering what has happened to our culture. When did we become so desensitized to things? When did corsets, fishnet stockings, and fake cleavage become okay for sweet young girls. Innocence is lost so early these days and kids are no longer able to just be kids. Gone are the days of homemade costumes, superheros, princesses, and farm animals. I will note that I did see several REALLY creative and amazing costumes, but the vast majority were far from even PG rated.
I guess in the end this is a holiday, that for our family, we are just going to let go of. Even with good intentions, I had to explain a few things to my boys about modesty and appropriateness that I wasn't prepared to go into detail on at their ages. I don't feel this is stuff that should even be on their radar at 8 and 5. I am all for going out as a family and sharing the love of God with everyone and I thought this was what we would do, and I hope that we accomplished that goal. I do believe that God calls us to be the salt and the light in a world so confused and dark that values are lost and innocence is gone far too soon. For my family however, I think we are done.
While I don't believe any day can belong to anyone but God, Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” I think we are called to glorify Him every day, even on Halloween. I think where we get blurred is where we start seeing cute witches, wizards, devils, vampires, etc...these things are evil. When we start to make them look cool or innocent, we blur the difference between good and evil for our kids. Ephesians 5:15-16 says. “Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” Every day is our chance to share God with the world. We also must, however, be careful how we live – not unwisely conforming to the culture (Romans 12:2), but shining the light that we have before men (Matthew 5:16). Be a light in a dark world! And I admit, I am struggling between wanting to lock my kids up for the month of October and shield them from all of it ( I am kidding of course...kind of) and wanting to get out there and try to be a light, just as this particular church was doing.
Sometimes I struggle because while I know we are called to be that light to a dark world, I also know that my kids are still innocent and while they do need information and need to be taught to live in but not of this world, I wonder if they are ready to really understand...I am not sure I have equipped them yet for this. I hope that one day they can go out and shine their light, but right now they are so impressionable and easily confused, I need to be sure I am setting a solid foundation.
Parenting is tough stuff. The responsibility of shepherding these amazing little people is immense and I just want to be sure I am doing all I can to train them in the way they should go. I don't want to shield them from everything but I want to be the one introducing them and teaching them in small bite sized increments as they build their foundation. Satan is on the prowl and I don't want to give him a foot in the door. Halloween is just one of those issues that I find myself so conflicted on. I am praying that God gives me clarity on what he wants our family to do, because I don't want to hole up in the house and miss an opportunity to share His love, but I also want to keep our sights on what is good and noble and true.
So tell me...how do you handle Halloween?