We’re not doing Halloween this year. We’re not dressing up. We’re not going to pass out candy. We’re not going to a festival-y carnival-y thing at a church. We’ll probably turn our lights out and go to bed early. Why? Because Lydia is too afraid. Not necessarily of Halloween—but of every big, loud, scary thing she sees.
And like I said before, I can’t rectify trying to do something fun (ie trick-or-treating) while placing my daughter in a situation where she WILL come into contact with something MEANT to be scary, evil and/or gross. And I feel good about that decision. I don’t want Lydia to love things that are purposely dark. I want her to always be wary of things that are opposite of GOOD.
On the other hand, I’m a little disappointed because I was really looking forward to dressing up. I had 80% talked my husband into dressing up as characters from UP (hubby=Carl Fredrickson, Lydia=little Ellie, Asa=Dug, me=Kevin or Russell). I thought it would be nice to meet some of our neighbors. Plus, I love me a good Reece’s pumpkin.
Here’s the thing: Halloween is a holiday with blatant pagan roots. It just is. There is no denying that Halloween, in it’s beginning was straight up evil. And for many people today, they still identify with it’s evil-ness and celebrate that. As a Christian, I do NOT want any part of that. I don’t want my kids to see a funny ghost and like it. I don’t want a cute zombie to be something they desire.
However, in 2009 when the Halloween candy rolls out and the pumpkins start appearing, most of our world is not thinking of that evil. Most people think of Halloween as costumes and candy and neighbors.
What should a normal American Christian parent do? Well, I certainly will not fault someone for hiding from Halloween. People who choose to close their doors and turn off their lights are obeying God by staying far far away from even the appearance of evil. At the same time, I can’t fault someone for letting their kids dress up like a cowboy and get candy from their neighbors either.
I DO have a problem with people dressing their kids up as mass murderers or dead cheerleaders. (<—I know someone who let their 8 year old daughter be a dead cheerleader.) I have a problem with people decorating their homes or stores with disgusting scary things that are intended to frighten children. I used to have a friend that put fake tombstones in her front yard with her kids’ names on them. That’s just TOO much. I believe in speaking good things over my kids, why in the world would I ever ACT out something so evil towards them?!
So, what is a normal American Christan to do? Here’s a few fun ideas I’ve heard or experienced:
Safe House. Be the “safe house” in your neighborhood. Decorate with pumpkins and other fun things. Have a few carnival-type games in your front yard. Hand out food or snacks. Serve coffee for parents. If you can, get some other people at your church to do the same and have “safe houses” all over your city. When someone asks why you’re doing all this, tell them it’s because you want to shine the light of Jesus on a dark night. And to be the coolest house in the neighborhood!
Pumpkin Party. My friend Mandi hosted a Pumpkin Party this year. Everyone brought a pumpkin and she provided the rest. We painted our pumpkins, frosted pumpkin cookies and had pumpkin snacks. It was a fun time to “do” the Halloween stuff without focusing on the yuckiness. It’s the same idea as doing a Spring Party in lieu of Easter.
Church or Community Event. If you haven’t hit up a local community or church event at Halloween, you need to check it out! Most churches around us host Harvest or Fall Festivals—complete with carnival games, food, candy and inflatable games. If you go to a church it’s usually free and scary-costume-free! I’ve been to a few community events (including the Zoo) and when it is advertised as a family event, it usually is scary-free.
Go Early. If you want to do the trick-or-treating without the scare factor, just go while it’s daylight. Most of the preschoolers will be out then and most NORMAL people will know not to answer their front door dressed as Darth Maul.
Host Your Own Party. I’ve heard of a cool Willy Wonka party on Halloween, an All Saints Party (come dressed as your favorite saint) and even an Iron Chef party! Try hosting a themed event where people can dress up how YOU want them to! You might just start a NEW tradition!