When Isaac was 6 months old, I wrote these posts about putting him in a costume. If I'm honest with myself, these pictures of Isaac as the Pokey Puppy might be my most favorite of his first year.
Last year I posted about our decision to be a Santa Free Family [2nd post] and an anonymous blogger threw the costume pictures in my face when I said that we also did not observe Halloween. It's left a very sour taste in my mouth both about the pictures and having to defend our choices as a family.
To extrapolate, I did not go trick or treating, ever growing up. Not a single time. Every few years we would attend a church event put on as a Halloween alternative and I was always an angel. It was just easy for my Mom, because we already had it due to a Christmas pageant.
Tony however did go trick or treating in his neighborhood or over to his grandparents.
As person who is able to make decisions, change my mind and continually educate myself, I have major issues with Halloween.
Biblically there is much to be said that would support refusing to celebrate Halloween. Inherently Halloween has a major focus on fear, darkness, monsters, the occult and violence. I doubt anyone would agree that these types of things should be exposed to very impressionable children or even ourselves. Paul said that Christians should "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." [Ephesians 5:11] He also wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 that we are to "Keep away from every kind of evil."
Halloween is a holiday that glorifies that which is dark, that which is diabolical. Don't even get me started on that stupid Grimm tv show. It unsettles my spirit every time a commercial comes on NBC. Now I know some people just love a good horror movie or live for the scare, but that's not me. I can become physically ill around spiritually unsettling ideas, movies, pictures or commercials. The Bible tells us that we have been called out of darkness and into the marvelous light of Christ [1 Peter 2:9]. Jesus wants to lift us above the darkness and wickedness of this world 'John 17: 14-15]. How are we to let our lights shine [Matthew 5:14-16] if we are relishing in a custom that promotes darkness? "And what communion does light have with darkness?" [2 Corinthians 6:14]. Our delight and meditation should be on that which is pure, lovely and virtuous [Philippians 4:8].
And these are all the reasons I understood growing up, why we did not go trick or treating. To be honest, even as a teenager, when friends tried to get me to go trick or treating with them, as the late crew swinging by without a costume after the 9:00 hour, I still wouldn't go. It'd be safe to say that I actually felt like trick or treating was a sin itself, even though I know it's not. Sure I was jealous of my stepbrothers' bags of candy, but it also strengthened my faith discipline by forcing me to make hard decisions when it would have been so much easier to just go with the crowd.
Aside from the one anonymous commenter about Isaac as the Pokey Puppy, I was good with the above. To be clear, I don't believe that there's anything evil about the giving or receiving of candy or the sweet little ones dressed up as super heroes, adorable little animals or whatever the choice may be! I don't judge Christian friends who choose differently than us, it was just that Tony and I were at peace with our choice not to celebrate Halloween.
There was one small problem though, last fall our Pastor dropped a bombshell: he and his family did celebrate Halloween. Our pastor, the guy who's supposed to be the holiest holier than thouer, admitting that he celebrates a holiday that I avoid like the plague.
Although I didn't take notes on his position on the subject, here's why, and ultimately, the cause for my indecision positively shared via Joy in this Journey's recent post.
"The Bible calls us to have a much different attitude toward society.
Instead of burying our heads in the sand and plugging our ears, we are to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).
Instead of turning our backs on what’s going on in society, we are to shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15).
Salt cannot have a seasoning effect if it is left in the cupboard. It must come in contact with blandness before its saltiness can be realized.
Then there are all the biblical commands to show hospitality (Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; 1 Peter 4:9).
By holing up in our house, we were sending an unspoken message “not welcome” to our closest neighbors, many of whom we had never met — and many of whom probably didn’t know Christ.
We often think of hospitality as entertaining friends in our home for a meal. But the true definition of hospitality differs on three levels.
First, hospitality doesn’t necessarily involve an invitation.
Secondly, hospitality is extended to strangers, not friends.
And thirdly, hospitality isn’t limited to your home.
If you want to get really technical, hospitality is making an uninvited stranger feel welcome in the space where God has placed you, no matter where that is. It can mean welcoming a stranger into your office at work. It can mean extending a warm greeting to a new face at church. It can mean putting your briefcase in your lap on the bus so someone can sit next to you. There are hundreds of other examples.
Halloween is a magnificent opportunity to show the love of Christ to strangers, which moves us much closer to the true definition of hospitality. Sure, these passing strangers are dressed funny and are lugging candy-filled pillow cases. But consider that no other 2-hour window during the year affords us such an obvious opportunity to reflect the glory of Christ to our community.
Each year has been a little different. Sometimes we hand out candy, some years we have also included an invitation card to our church, lately very few kids come to our house but we go door-to-door with our kids and get to know more of our neighbors. We practice manners, saying “please” and “thank you,” and we try to build on relationships. It is subtle. Our job is to love without condition. God will grant the fruit in His providence."
I wrote this post, not to be convinced one way is right over the other, but to open a dialogue and again make parents take pause and analyze the rationale for their decisions. God has called us to do that much at least. And so, with prayer, I don't know what we will choose next year, but there is a lot of food for thought!