*I was really hesitant to write this post for today, or any day, but I have such a great quote to use that I felt I needed to share it. My heart is to encourage and challenge you to know what God wants you to do above anything else.*
I like October, but I don’t love it like many people that I know. Sorry.
Yes, Octobers in Ohio can be beautiful with all the leaves changing, and yes, I enjoy pumpkin donuts, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ice cream, and pumpkin rolls just as much as the next girl. (Another sorry – I’m not a coffee drinker, so pumpkin spice lattes don’t excite me.)
However, I really dislike facing an entire month of Halloween everywhere, especially now that I have to navigate that entire month with my two boys in tow.
Television alone becomes a nightmare, possibly literally. Hubby and I are constantly saying, “Don’t look – la, la, LA, LA, LAAA,” while we frantically try to change the channel so that our boys aren’t seeing or hearing bad-dream inducing ugly, nasty, demonic things in a 30-second commercial on even the generally family-friendly stations. (Come November 1, it’ll be Christmas commercials for every toy known to mankind, which is almost as bad)
In our home, we do not observe Halloween. We do not decorate or go trick-or-treating or give out candy. However, we do attend our church’s Fall Fun Fest outreach, complete with “good” costumes, and Elijah has his fall party at school.
I know the season and the day are a big debatable topic in Christian circles because lots of people have a very nostalgic view of the holiday based on how they grew up. (Although, anyone who has seen the Halloween scene in “Meet Me in St. Louis” knows that even way-back-when, the day was not exactly wholesome, innocent fun. Those were some creepy little kids…) There are those who see it as a chance to interact and share their faith with their friends and neighbors. Some people observe the All Saints’ Day roots while others avoid it altogether because of its pagan history. (Many like to point out that Easter and Christmas have pagan history, too, but I think that if you look at how the three holidays are celebrated now, Halloween still embraces evil. The other two don’t.)
I LOVE dressing up in creative costumes (birthday parties, dramas, school spirit days), and I LOVE me some Snickers and Almond Joys. I adore ministering to children and making certain they know how much Jesus loves them. So I understand how that’s the appealing part of Halloween for Christians. It’s why we do all the fall outreaches at our churches.
However, in my heart, I just can’t justify doing the traditional Halloween holiday. I can’t celebrate a day that so completely embraces darkness, fear, death, and evil, even for the sake of the candy and fun it mixes with it. As a parent, I’m responsible for what I expose my children to, and while I don’t plan to keep them in a bubble, I prefer that my 2-year-old doesn’t have to deal with fears I presented to him as fun. Knowing that the supernatural world is very real, I also don’t want my 5-year-old to see demonic things as cool. Honestly, I want him to see them as defeated by the blood of Jesus.
Do I judge other people for taking their children around the neighborhood to get candy? Nope. Not at all. And I hope they give our family the grace to be true to what we feel God has said is right for us.
When I lived in northeast Ohio, I was a part of the midweek children’s ministry at our church, and I remember one October talking about Halloween with the kids. They had lots of questions about it, so we discussed the origins, both good and bad, of the day. We talked about what the Bible says about fear and evil, what it says about being set apart, what it says about loving your neighbor. I told them that what they did with Halloween was something they needed to pray about with their parents.
I don’t want kids to just say, “Well, Miss Kishona says it’s good/bad.” They need to know what THEY believe and why. They need to hear God’s voice and follow His leading in everything – in the things where the Bible absolutely makes it clear and addresses the issue, but also, and especially, in those things where it doesn’t give a definite “thou shalt/shalt not” directive.
Toward the end of class, one boy raised his hand and summarized the whole dilemma facing every Christian child when it comes to this holiday and life in a fallen world in general.
He said, “I don’t believe in Halloween, but I DO believe in candy.”
The accuracy of that statement is both amusing and sobering.
Our children are caught in the conflict of do-we or don’t-we. And the answer to that is not always an easy “yes” or “no.”
It needs to be, “Ask God, seek Him, read His Word, find His will.”
Because here’s the thing: Halloween won’t be the only area of their life where they will face this decision.
There will be plenty of times where something will have fun, exciting, or even good aspects mixed with those gray, shady, or completely dark, bad areas. School, work, relationships.
They need to be able to stand in those times, solid in their relationship with God, not swayed by opinions, not bound by traditions, not just grabbing at compromise for the sake of fun, while also not just running from evil because they don’t know how to deal with it.
While they live in the liberty that Jesus gives us, they need to be able to recognize the difference between the things that are permissible versus the things that truly benefit them and their walk with God.
Paul wrote about this to the church in Corinth. He told them that “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.” (1 Corinthians 10:23)
We want our children to always choose the things that are helpful and edifying, instead of just doing something because they can.
If you believe that trick-or-treating falls under edifying for you and your family, then shine your light and enjoy the candy. If it falls under “not edifying,” then shine your light and make sure you pick up some half-priced candy on November 1.
That’s probably what I’ll do because, you know, I don’t believe in Halloween, but I do believe in candy, especially when it’s on sale! 🙂