Monday, November 1, 2010

My Thoughts on Halloween

Well, Jon Acuff said I had to do it, so here it goes:

I don't know what I think.

Yep, that's where I stand.

Honestly, I never thought this would be an issue for me but having kids changes things. We've never celebrated Halloween with our kids, who are now 8 and 6, but this year has been a whole new ballgame.

Not only are they old enough now to see/read/hear things about Halloween and start asking questions, but this year we live in a neighborhood for the first time in their lives. We actually lived in a neighborhood for the first 3 years of my daughter's life, but she was obviously too young to care about Halloween at that time.

So, this year they had the chance to see kids out and about trick-or-treating, young and old alike dressed up in all kinds of costumes and all taking home loads of candy. I think the candy part is what they really want, but they had plenty of questions for us this year. They wanted to know why we don't celebrate Halloween.

For us, it's simple. We don't like the holiday and what it stands for. But explaining that to them in a way that makes sense is difficult.

My best reasoning goes something like this:

Halloween is a day when people celebrate death, but we want to celebrate the life we have in Jesus.

Now I know not everyone views Halloween this way, but I'm pretty sure that's how the holiday started, right?

And, the older I get, the more sensitive I find myself to things that may be beyond our senses (angels and demons). Those are the things I don't like about Halloween. It seems like evil spirits, scary monsters and dead things are glorified on Halloween.

It's easy to change your family celebration of Halloween and make it about other things than death, but then shouldn't it look different too? I think celebrating the Harvest season is a great idea. But then that's kind of what Thanksgiving is for, right?

If it's all about letting kids dress up and go ask people for candy, doesn't that seem kind of strange? My kids play dress up all the time and they get candy from time to time, so those aren't good enough reasons to start celebrating Halloween.

The one issue we came across this year that made it a little difficult to hold fast to our stance against Halloween is when people come to your door for trick-or-treating. We just moved into the neighborhood in May and we've gotten to know a few of the neighbors, but there are still a lot that we don't know. Part of what we feel is our purpose and why God has placed us in our current home is to reach out to the people around us. So, the last thing we want to do is turn people away when they come to our door. And we also don't want them to think we're sitting in our house judging them for taking part in something we disapprove of.

So, we got some suckers and let our kids hand them out to any trick-or-treaters that came to the house. We didn't know how else to handle it, and our kids had a great time doing it. But, there was still this feeling of uneasiness with the whole thing for me.

So, like I said, I don't really know what I think. I can come up with all kinds of reasons to not participate in Halloween. I can't really think of anything good we are missing out on by not participating. I guess that makes it pretty clear. I just want to be able to explain it to my kids more clearly!


Life with the LeVans said...


We need to talk. Jon and I agree 100% with not celebrating Halloween and we've been having the discussion about Trunk or Treat and how we feel about that. (Honestly, I feel like doing Trunk or Treat is no different than celebrating Halloween).

I guess my point, there is no redeeming value to Halloween. When you start to look at it's origins, why it was created and the purpose behind it, I'm fine with saying no thank you, we're not celebrating it.

I R I S H said...

Well written Dan (would I expect Taking what the good reverend LeVan said and expounding, I too watched the History channel's documentary about the origins of Halloween. Come to find out, the migrating of costumed kids asking people for candy was a tool used by rural towns to essentially "pay-off" kids from performing acts of vandalism. (Hence, asking "Trick or treat") While I was allowed to participate in Halloween, and the candy and stuff was nice, most of it creeped me out from even a young age. Something just doesn't seem right about it.

I can't speak on behalf of those who have kids, however, on my own behalf...I've attended Halloween parties before and was able to dress up as something or someone different. And I think that can be a lot of fun not only for adults but for kids. I think it's important for kids to use their imaginiation and act a different character. And it sounds like you enourage your kids to do the same. For what it's worth, I applaud that.

But I'm with you on the whole reasoning behind the "holiday." In my opinion, which is worth the binary code which is sent, I think you and your wife are handling this in a great fashion.