Monday, October 29, 2007

The Transformation of Halloween

As a little girl, I always dressed up in costume, and celebrated Halloween. There was no thought put into it at all. That is what you did. We lived on a long street that ended in a cul-du-sac, and it would take a couple of hours to travel all the way up and down the street collecting candy, visiting 'haunted houses' and 'magic' shows put on by all our creative neighbors.

When I grew up and had children, I truly looked forward to sharing Halloween with my kids. I mean, you teach and enjoy your kids every day, but there are just a couple of days a year just to have childish fun. Halloween was one.

Then I became a Christian. I didn't want to be a mere 'church attendee' but a true 'Christ follower'. And there are opinions running rampant through church about Halloween. I was informed that Halloween is evil by some. I was told by others that Halloween was fine as long as your kids dressed in 'nice' costumes, not 'evil' ones. I was told by others that Halloween was fine as long as you went to a church event ie. fall festival or trunk or treat. The worst that I was told was that Halloween was not only evil, but that children born on Halloween were evil, children of the devil, with no opportunity for redemption.

I have studied my Bible profusely. I have looked into the history and lore surrounding Halloween . With opinions abounding, all I can do is practice discernment. Here is what I have decided for my family. Halloween is not a pagan holiday. True it does not celebrate Christ - neither does Independence Day, or Thanksgiving, or Valentine's Day, or many other holidays. I will never have the significance of Passover. I will never love it like passover. It doesn't serve a purpose. It is fun. It is about imagination.

Everyone loves make-believe. As we grow up so many of us allow our imaginations to atrophy. We get caught up in the cycle of living and providing, that we don't allow our imaginations to exercise. Albert Einstein said that imagination was greater than knowledge. Exercising our imaginations allows us to create and invent. To me, Halloween is an opportunity to exercise that imagination, to have fun, to play.

I used to be concerned about my girls wanting to dress as something that I believed to be 'bad'. You know, it was okay to be Wonder Woman..... but a witch? I dunno! Doesn't that fall into the evil category, right alongside vampires, goblins, zombies?! Then it hit me. I don't believe in those things. They are make believe! Just like fairy princesses, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Winnie the Poo, and Superman! They are scary, but not evil. Some people like to be scared. After all, isn't that the appeal of roller coasters? The adrenaline rush comes from fear and excitement. For now, I don't want my girls to dress scary either. They are just too young. But it is not an issue of good versus evil. Now, if they were to want to dress as the Devil, I would say NO WAY! He is real and he is evil!

I don't think my way is right or wrong for everyone. We have very close friends who don't celebrate Halloween. We still love them-and we respect them as Christians. We have very close friends who dress up and go to 'haunted trails' and 'haunted houses' for a good scare. We still love them - and respect them as Christians. God gave my husband and I only one family to manage during our time here on earth. We can only use our knowledge of the scripture, and our abilities of discernment to make choices for ourselves. Sometimes we are right, and sometimes we are wrong. Our goal is to keep traveling forward on our journey to be Christ-like.


Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

This year my kids will be a vet, a princess, and buzz lightyear. we'll load up in the van and we'll go to different houses of people in our family, and the kids will get more candy than anyone should ever consume in one hour. Uncle Mark will let them trick or treat in his huge can of quarters! (last year they each got to dive in and grab 2 handfuls, coming out with over $21!!!!)

Then we'll make it to my mom's as a last stop where we'll eat all sorts of fun appetizers like shrimp cocktail and fancy sandwiches. The kids will watch the trick or treaters come by and help pass out candy.

It has always been a fun day for us.

I have friends who do not turn on lights and lock themselves in the house on Halloween for the "sake of the cause." As you said, the ideas on Halloween in the church run rampant. For the life of me, I've never seen much difference between what I just described to you as our ritual from the "trunk or treat" in the church parking lot where all the kids wear bible costumes.

I REDEEM the day for Christ. There are many anti-halloweeners in the church who call Halloween the devil's day. Pish posh. He doesn't get a day to himself. That is one of the craziest things I hear---God made every day and we can redeem ANY day for HIS GLORY!

me :) said...

I just found your blog via ETJ - and it's awesome!!! You are bookmarked!! I love the piece you wrote on fellowship and on Halloween. We too are trying to find the balance. This year we'll visit some neighbors, hand out some candy and hang out as a family. We'll skip the church fall festival, since I think too many events will put too much emphasis on the day. It's fun and silly and I just don't want it to get overblown. Balance, proportion... We're working on it! Again - love your blog!!

koinoniacommunity said...

Can I go trick or treating at Uncle Mark's??????? Sounds like you guys have a fun evening planned.

me :),
Thank you so much for your support. And welcome!

Wendy M. said...

Preach it sister and I'll turn the pages! :) I think that one of the coolest parts of being a kid is that you can still enjoy playing, dressing up, fantasy, etc. so the Miller house will be full of Halloween fun and costumes! I have a mermaid and a witch - she's really cute, not scary at all - and we can't wait.

In fact, we're bringing all of our teens from the youth group over here for some fun, fellowship and maybe even a bit of trick or treating!

I'm with Lindsay - the devil doesn't get his own day - we're just going to take it and have fun with it, still living for God and praisin' Jesus!

Have fun and be safe!

Love ya' girl!

Anonymous said...

I'm with ya, too! Austin was Spiderman this year. We all came home and poured out his "stash" and of course, Mom got to eat all the chocolate! That's the way it works at our house! The devil certainly cannot take ownership of any day. Our Father owns them all and I think He is glad when we use the imagination He has given us to have a little Make-believe and fun every now and then! It's all about Him anyway, right?