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!