Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What About Halloween?

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.


Kellye said...

WONDERFUL comments! "God is bigger than Halloween" and "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" -- what a great approach to an issue that some Christians struggle with. Thank you so much for posting this!

Danae Hudson said...

Your last paragraph is BEAUTIFUL! You are an amazing mom!!

The Schultz said...

So I am guessing your birthday is November 1st?? Mine is too! :)

asplashofsunshine said...

Awww, out of the mouths of babes! Halloween is pretty creepy for me too, although I just get scared easily. There really isn't a reason why per se.

Our family simply takes Halloween as a commercial holiday and leaves it at that. I've never explained it as anything other than costumes and being polite at neighbors homes. I am sure there will come a day that explaining it will be necessary, who knows.

I hope you have a fun Halloween, no matter what you decide to do.

Michelle Farley said...

As a child we always dressed up and trick or treated too. We have generally dressed the kids too but only gone to people we know, their houses, grandparents, family and close friends. I am not really huge into decorating, etc. I also do not condemn people who celebrate it. However I am not a fun of all the scary stuff either.

All that said and this year we will do trunk or treat at church. This is our first time doing this at church. I am excited to be Christ to the community that we live in and pray that it is a huge success. Looks like a bunch of rambling and I do apologize. lol

Michelle Farley said...

Oh, and I agree with Luke, death is not a scary and gross thing.

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

I have always been back and forth on the issue myself, but of course never liked the part that focuses on scary, evil, or any of that.

I just wanted to say that I liked reading the part about your memories...because I could relate in many ways. My mother always made these elaborate costumes...including Rainbow Brite!!! I won a prize with my Rainbow Brite costume one year. I laughed out loud when I read that you also had a Rainbow Brite costume. And, my son is planning to be Mario this year. Some years we have trick or treated and some we have not.

Your sweet boy has such a soft heart...and his response tugged at my heart tonight. Praying God's comfort and peace for him and for all of you...

Also...I would definitely buy some Reese's cups anyway....just sayin' =)

Carla said...

Great perspective..from both you and your precious boy! We are fence riders on the Halloween topic too. I dont' enjoy it, I think it's dumb but we live in a very small community where barricading ourselves indoors and accusing everyone else of being evil..would not be a good witness. I've never heard it expressed so well. We kind of play it by ear each year.

Christina said...

Great Post!!! I personally have ALWAYS celebrated Halloween. Halloween/Fall is my favorite time to decorate, I just love all the colors!! I've never had an issue with Halloween (and My dad has been a Baptist Minister since I was about 5 years old). One of my pet peeves are these "Christians" who all of a sudden think that Halloween and dressing up is BAD, when they've done it their whole lives.
This has been a hot topic around a few of my friends recently, I think I will just refer them to your blog:)) You stated everything perfectly!!

Lisa said...

My girls are very sensitive to the way death is portrayed as well. We tried going around the neighborhood last year, but had to skip every second house b/c the decorations were too gross or scary. We found a place nearby that has a fireworks show as a fundraiser for Children's Hospital, so that is MUCH more our "thing". I wish more places would think of things like that! Our girls still get candy there and hot chocolate... and our church has a "Harvest Fun Night" as an alternative to trick or treating.

Rebecca said...

I have always enjoyed your blog and think you do a really great job of being gracious about whatever viewpoint you choose to take. My heart totally goes out to Luke and think it's really amazing that he is so sensitive and especially admire the fact that you can put your own desires aside and support your little guy.

That said, your last sentence seems a little harsh and unfounded, as if those two options (being Christ and celebrating Halloween or holing up and condemning) are our only options. We don't celebrate Halloween, but that doesn't mean I automatically am condemning those who do. It seems like you were saying that I'm *not* being Christ to people if I choose not to "trick-or-treat". Sometimes "being Christ" involves going against the flow. I'm sorry if you've ever felt condemned about your choice, but please don't insinuate that all not Halloween-ers are condemning you. Many of us are just as gracious as you have shown yourself to be!

boltefamily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boltefamily said...

@Rebecca...I re-read the post to try and get what you were saying and I guess because I know my heart and my motive in this post I am confused.

"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."

This was how I ended the post. I said that I think there are good points to celebrating and good points to not celebrating. I also said that I though it was BETTER to get out and be Christ to others on Halloween than to hole up in your home and condemn. NOW...that is not to say that is what you do, but there ARE many families who do. I was not saying that trick or treating was the way to get out and "Be Christ" to people, that is a silly notion.

Perhaps a family could serve at a City Mission, take hot coffee to people who are out on the streets, etc. I never EVER meant to imply I thought everyone fell into two categories, those who trick or treat and those who condemn,

This year our family falls into neither of those categories. I was writing about that. And as for my comment being unfounded. As a "Christian" who has always participated in Halloween, I can assure you it is not unfounded. We have been confronted, judged, and condemned for our choice to let our sons dress as frogs and firefighters and trick or treat at grandma and grandpa's.

My WHOLE point is this...celebrate or don't. Search your heart and go to God. If it feels wrong, don't do it. Either way, lets stop judging and just show love and compassion and get out in the community and do what Jesus would do. I am so sorry if you were in any way offended, I never meant to offend...just to tell my experience.

~Ashlea~ said...

I am a christian (not perfect, just forgiven) that has chosen along with my husband not to celebrate Halloween with our kids. I dressed up a few times when I was young but never really got into the whole thing.

It is a personal choice that everyone has the right to make for their own family. We get picked on about it but it's something we have taken a stand on and I'm ok with it. It does not make me a christian not to do it just like it doesn't make someone not a christian if they do celebrate.

I'm not scared of Halloween because I know God is in control. But we have always turned the lights off and kept the door shut on Halloween night. Then I read an article this week that made me think a little differently. I know the Bible tells us to go and witness to others, but I had never thought of this unique opportunity. Halloween brings sinners (and christians too) right to your doorstep! It's the perfect time to take a brief moment to share that Jesus saves. I loved your last paragraph and think it fits right in with that thought!

I'm very proud of your little boy standing up for something he believes and good for you to make the best decision for your own family!

Wonderful post!!

LeeAnn said...

great post, Kristy, and i totally get what you are saying. i love, too, that Luke recognized the difference in actual death & halloween. he is so blessed to have parents that listen with their hearts and acknowledge and affirm his feelings. :)

Rebecca said...

Thanks for clearing that up Kristy! I guess it depends it what circles you travel in as we are more like the odd people out for not celebrating! I really am sorry for the judgment that you have faced. Part of our experience also includes teaching our children about how we arrived at our decision and that God speaks to each Mom & Dad differently about what He wants for their family. It can be really hard to read a person's heart through their words, but I appreciate you taking the time to add your comment. I know God is honored when we live together in unity (and peaceably)!