Monday, November 23, 2009

Halloween?


OK, so I know it's past Halloween now, so it's an odd time to be writing this.  I also know that Christina and I had lots of fun this year celebrating Halloween, so it may seem wierd that I'm questioning it.

Recently I've been catching up on the blogs that I follow, and since many of them are written by Christian women, there have been lots of opinions going around about whether or not to celebrate Halloween.  Obviously, Halloween isn't Biblical.  (Actually, most of our American holidays aren't - nowhere in the Bible does it talk about commemorating Jesus' birth with a Christmas celebration, or His resurection with an Easter celebration.  As I understand it, these holidays were created by the Roman Catholic Church to draw attention away from pagan celebrations that were going on at the same time - note how Christmas is right around the time of the winter solstice, and Easter is at the beginning of spring.)

One blog that I read simply listed some scriptures and directed the reader to pray and follow God's leading.  Here are some of the scriptures that really affected me:

Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil . - 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. - Phillipians 4:8

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ... - Titus 2:11-13

This really makes me think that maybe it's not such a good thing to be celebrating Halloween.

One day shortly before Halloween, I took Christina to what we called the "Halloween store" - the old "Circuit City" store, which, since having gone out of business, had been transformed temporarily into a Halloween costume/decoration shop.  While there was a small section of the store with toddler costumes, which is what I was there to look at, most of the store was filled with lots of scary decorations, many of which had motion sensors, so the scary monster or decapitated head would start moving if you got too close.  It was then that I noticed an emotion in Christina that I had never seen in her before.  She was clearly terrified of being in the store, and yet she had such a curiosity about it that she didn't want to leave.  She had me carry her the whole time, and many times she buried her face in my neck, but when I said that we were leaving, she didn't want to go and started to throw a tantrum.  It really makes me think of when I'm watching a horror movie - I'm scared, but I don't turn the movie off - I want to see what happens, even though I know it won't be good.


Even during our trip to the zoo, when we went into the "Boomazium," Christina was really scared and had me carry her the whole way.  On Halloween evening, my father-in-law and his wife took Christina trick-or-treating around their neighborhood while Sean and I went out to dinner with a friend.  It sounds like everything went great until they got to a house with a motion-sensored ghost that was right around Christina's height.  Christina got scared and didn't want to go to that house, and then, to top it off, a lady in a witch costume came out and started playing some spooky music on her guitar.  Suffice it to say that after that house, Christina decided she was done trick-or-treating.


Thinking about all of that "evil" that Christina was exposed to makes me feel really bad.  If we're supposed to "meditate on" things that are "true...noble...just...pure...[and] lovely," then Halloween seems like the exact opposite of that.  The hard part is, of course, figuring out how to not celebrate Halloween when all of our friends and extended family do.  Even my church participates in a local "trunk-or-treat."


I've thought about finding a church that hosts a "harvest festival" or "harvest party" on October 31st, but as this website (scroll to the second article) points out:


The Harvest Party is usually referred to as the Christian alternative to traditional Halloween hijinx. Alternative, however, implies substitute. It assumes our children need something to take the place of Halloween, since they won't be participating in the secular and pagan celebrations. It suggests our kids are missing out on something.


Now, as I said before, I feel torn.  On the one hand, I feel like there are lots of ways to "tone down" Halloween and make it less scary - after all, there are plenty of very cute costumes that wouldn't be considered scary or evil at all.  But...it does seem like it would be hard to get away from being exposed to anything scary on that day, since I'm not in control of what other people wear as costumes or use as decorations.  And ultimately, Halloween is not, and never will be, a Christian holiday...even if churches do join in on the celebration.

In any case, thank goodness I have a whole year to think about it and make a decision!

5 comments:

Kenny, Miranda, Saide, and Baby Dorr said...

I'm with you on the Halloween store. Remember how we went and I thought it looked more like a sex shop than a "regular" store? I definitely wouldn't want to take Saide in there next year. A harvest festival would be nice to go to. If you are worried about what Christina will see trick or treating, I'd take her yourself or go with your family if you choose to still go so you can leave if you want to. Also, a lot of churces have a trunk or treat with rules about costumes. My church, for example, does a trunk or treat, and it is understood that parents/children don't come dressed as devils or wear scary masks or anything that might "drive away the spirit." As for scary things in other stores, it would be really tough to avoid every drug store/grocery store and the like that would have those kind of decorations. Like everything religion-based, this all would be a very personal decision, and like you said your blogs suggested, I would just make sure you pray about your decision and do whatever you feel is right and what you are comfortable with. And you do have a while to think about it! :)

The Momma said...

That show I love so much with the Duggar family, is often focused on how they balance their strong Christian faith with the secular world. When asked about Halloween, Michelle (mom) said "We enjoy fall festivals, pretty leaves and pumpkins. But we don’t focus on All Saint's Day. We don't focus on ghosts and goblins." They said that in matters of things their children do without, they teach their child to pray to God and trust him. You're doing that. I have so much respect for your thoughtful approach to your faith. Whatever you wind up doing, it will have been a thought out, conscious decision, and you will pass on your reasoning and moral values to Christina.

eLisa said...

Kate, I dropped by after reading your comment about joining in the Bringing Holy Back movement. I'm thrilled to have you on board.

I also enjoyed reading your thoughts about Halloween. I've had a similar journey throughout my last ten years of parenting. Seeking the Lord for His wisdom has been incredibly helpful, as we've figured out how to handle the not-so-lovely holiday.

God's blessings on you!

eLisa said...
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Anonymous said...

Hello Kate! How lovely and refreshing it is to see that you reflect on what you do! Today, many christians just go with the flow so to speek (as far as I have experienced...) If you want to read some more about Halloween and why not to celebrate it, I would recommend these two articles: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org/tracts/tract10.html and http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org/tracts/tract_2.html. The author (David J. Meyer) is a former occultist (I don't know if that is the right name for a person having with occultism to do...) But, the Lord saved him and called him to serve him as a pastor. PRAISE the Lord! He wrote articles to give christians insight on the Lords view uphon all kinds of topics (but especially traditions), but he also reveils the reasons why occultists of different kind celebrate the so-called harmless tratitions. Thereby we can learn when and why we shouldn't just be like the world. Like the Lord spoke to Jeremiah: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen" (Jer. 10,2) You can also visit his website for more on http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org. For me, his writings has been an eyeopener and a blessing. Actually, if you read the following few verses of Jer. 10, you will discover why my family and I started doubting whether to celebrate Christmas or not. David J. Meyer has also written on this topic. Today we haven't celebrated christmas the last 10 years or so... And what a Blessing it is!) The most importent thing to do is however what the Holy Spirit leads you to! May the Lord bless you and continually guide you in accordance with His will. With love from Eva (Denmark).