Monday, October 23, 2006

How Harmless is Halloween?

Wednesday, November 1, Everyday Mommy will begin sharing some ideas for keeping Christ in Christmas. On the eve of that day, many Christians will be participating in another kind of celebration. I know that many churches provide an alternative to this pagan holiday, such as "Trunk or Treat" or "Harvest Festival", but I wonder how many of us see this not as an alternative to, but as an additional stop on, our Trick-or-Treat rounds. It's all about the candy, right?

I know that none of us take part in the "bad" rituals that have been known to occur on Halloween, but is it a good idea to promote greed, tooth decay, and perhaps even truth decay in our children? Is it really harmless fun? Where is the message of Christ in Halloween?

Lest you think that I am casting stones, I must admit that I've never really seen any harm in allowing the kids to dress up and go door-to-door collecting candy, and I buy tons of the good stuff to hand out to the superheroes, fairies, and ghosts and goblins who come to my door. But should I? Should we be so convinced that there really is no harm in it?

I ask, because I want feedback, but also because I want you to think about the state of Christ's church. Satan has long been lurking, looking for every opportunity to distract us from the cause of Christ. He seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. His methods are subtle. So subtle, in fact, that we have been lulled into complacency. Even some pastors and leaders have been duped.

We are told in scripture that there will be many divisions among us. We see that in the numerous denominations that have sprung up since the first church began. We see it in committees who can't agree on what color the carpeting and pew cushions should be. I really don't think that's what "fight the good fight of faith" means. We are to contend, not with one another, but with the enemy!

While we're doing battle with one another, Satan is making advances, virtually unnoticed. Not only have we watered down the gospel to draw the world into the church, we are becoming disciples of the world. We adopt their way of thinking, their style of music, their dress code, and even their methods of worship: see this article on gnostic mysticism in the SBC.

Scary, isn't it?


lrlwreath said...

Yep this is a biggie, and I may get hit with some candy. But everything in my house is "Happy Fall" or "Happy Harvest" I have even written on my blog why I love fall (and its biblical implications).

Do I allow my kids to trick & treat. Yes. But we only go to houses we are friends with. We have a small town and sometimes we go to the stores down town.

In general whether it is Halloween or not, kids like to dress up. They like to pretend they are the Princess and/or the hero, and my kids love it. So I allow the day of dressing up.

Do I feel like I am leaving God out. No, my house is a God centered household. Now my kids are a bit older I have mentioned the "not so good stuff of Halloween".

Is satan sneaky, yes. But I don't think I, personally am doing my kids wrong. I respect people who don't celebrate this holiday, I can completely understand. But for me personally we are celebrating Fall and I am allowing them to pretend to being that hero for one night.

That is just my take.

Grafted Branch said...

When Fifi was little we trick-or-treated to a handful of neighbors. I was afraid to keep her from a good thing -- but then I recognized, "What good thing?"

We don't miss it. In fact, my girls are appauled by what they see.

Interestingly, as Fifi has been reading in-depth about WWII and Hitler this month, she noticed two things about German society as Hitler rose to power: (1) children and teens depended so much on "youth groups" that when Hitler outlawed them all, those youths joined his, even before membership was compulsory, and (2) Germans had, for some time, been toying with and entertained by the seemingly-harmless ways of witchcraft and sorcery.

In Him is no darkness at all. 1John 1:5b

on the Rock said...

Yes, the images of halloween are pretty bad. And I will always promote healthy alternatives to cultural misdirection. But remember that there are lots of other ways evil is lurking in the pretty things too, not just in the visibly ugly or disturbing. Those are what bother even more sometimes.

Melanie said...

I was just thinking about this today. I hope you don't mind me posting about it,too. And I like how you brought up the subject- for discussion and not division. Will read the article for sure. Thanks, Brenda!

Dawn said...

I have never liked Halloween since I grew up. But it came to a head when my kids were in school. Several of us would go get our kids out before the party and do something else fun with them. Our church now has what we call "Light in the Night," which is an outreach and has worked very well for that purpose. We have several new families because of it and also our Easter outreach where we set up the gym and parking lot to be a Jerusalem marketplace. Awesome stuff.

Texas Gal said...

Wow this is a tough one. I think every person has to decide for themselves. I have taught my children about Hollow Eve and explained how is changed over he years. We do go trick or treating, but only to our neighbors we know and usually end at the Mall for the costume contest. When I was a kid I was never allowed to go trick or treated. So maybe that is why I allow my kids to go. Either way whatever you believe you have to be true to your beliefs and follow your heart.

Yellow Mama said...

Sometimes I feel like I am swimming upstream on this subject. My older is married and the other 16 don't see the issue even though they know the truth and hear it every year. What I have told our 7 year old is that Jesus celebrations are always about life...this Halloween is about fear and death. That alone is reason enough to do something else that night and celebrate life.

Melanie said...

Bren- I posted on this today. I am leaving it up until Tues.

Belle-ah said...

DH and I have struggled mightly over this issue. WE grew up t&Ting and never considered it evil. WE did it when dd was too tiny to care because we liked dressing her up in cute little outfits without much thought and then one day the THOUGHTs hit! LOL

In all honesty my children really don't care much for it. It seemed very scary to my oldest DS. My children love to dress up -- year round. We decided several years after the struggle over the issues overwhelmed us and our kids just didn't seem to like it as well not to T&T.

If we are home on that night we do give out candy to visitors to our door but in the last few years we have not been home. We attend our churh's Fall Fest. There the children play booth games and getting their sugar fixes, take hay rides, pony rides and have a general good time. The children are encouraged to dress up in family friendly costumes and it has become quite an outreach to the community as well. That is all we do.

I don't do H'ween decorations only fall which stays up through Thanksgiving (which I LOVE!).

It is an issue that each family needs to evaluate for themselves and their particular situation. We don't do it but I don't condeme our friends that do!

PEZmama said...

Tough question. Lots of thoughts, but I must admit that I am still up in the air about this.

The one thing that really sticks out in my mind is not so much the celebration of death (because that isn't what it's about for so many people, including nonbelievers) but about whether we are feeding into our kids' senses of greed for "stuff." Building the "I gotta have it" mentality. Turning a blind eye to excess and over indulgence.

Just some initial thoughts.