Saturday, November 1, 2008

halloween musings...

As a Christian I've struggled over what to do with this holiday based in traditions which quite honestly celebrats many of the things that my faith deems to be evil or not to be worshiped
...but many of our contemporary holidays are based on some crazy pagan rituals and traditions. The early church tried to redeem many of these days by placing holy celebrations on the former pagan celebration days. They just never got to Halloween I guess.

I've never been a big celebrator of Halloween as a day or a holiday. As a child we would dress up and find ourselves braving the freezing cold to go to a few neighbors for treats. My mom always made candy popcorn balls because this was back in the days when we knew all our neighbors and people could still eat baking tossed into treat bags. I think I was a gypsy which meant make up, a shawl and big earrings clipped to my head rag. Oh Joy!

But we only did this until I was 7ish because my mom began to feel we should not be celebrating this pagan godless holiday and, much to my great sugar deprived regret, we stopped. My husband grew up in a family where they did not partake at all. I think they were hiding in their basement watching tv with the lights off? Not sure.

I've never really cared either way. When the boys were little, Levi was terrified of the dark AND people in costumes so it was hardly a noble decision not to take him out into the dark night filled with people in costumes. How crazy would that have been?! We always handed candy out though cuz I'm just crazy that way I guess.

I got an email the other day with this note in it and it got me thinking:

"With this in mind, I offer you the five “scariest” things you can do this Halloween:

The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to not make light of evil. Halloween was conceived in evil and has remained a celebration that uses children to promote a fascination with darkness and superstitious fear. Simultaneously, it makes light of things that the Bible describes as evil. Stand against such things, and the world will find you very scary indeed. The fear of the Lord makes men turn from evil (Proverbs 16:6)."

Have I allowed my culture to dictate my faith? Is this something to get all crazy about? Or does it just make us look silly and weird to those who don't share our faith? If you're a Christian how do you handle the Halloween thing?

Being someone who tends to compromise AND obviously doesn't take things nearly seriously enough, I think we'll continue to allow our kids to wear cute costumes and beg for candy. While I agree there is nothing very redeeming in this practice, I also don't agree it teaches my children to live in fear or celebrate death and evil. How to know what the right thing to do is......

Here they
are with their cousins off to beg candy from strangers, really what a strange tradition!


LoriD said...

We treat Halloween as a fun tradition only. Sure, it has Pagan routes, but that's not at all what it is today. For us, it's a great night to meet up with our neighbours and treat the kids to be courteous and polite as they chit chat with the elderly folks on the street.

You've got an awesome-looking gang there!

Catherine said...

Hi Shay, I saw your comment and question on my blog, and wanted to leave you a link to a post I wrote two years ago about Halloween. As with many things, I think Halloween does take some thought to work out your own motivations and what God is calling your family to do. I think it can also be influenced by what goes on in your area. Anyway, I do sometimes feel like Christians don't give enough thought to Halloween, but I also know people who have given it a LOT of thought and come to different conclusions than I do.

Here is my link in tiny url so it will fit!

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

I was thinking about this last night too. We have gone back and forth over the years. Not having the kids in school makes it easier to make our own decisions I think.
We really enjoyed the trick or treating last night, our little kids charmed all the neighbours and we had a rare opportunity to chat with them all as the kids ran sugar-fueled circles around the trees.
I kind of feel that it is one of those very individual choices. If you are a part of a church community that is very against celebrating, maybe you will be a stumbling block by participating. But if you feel it is okay for you, then it probably is.

Lori said...

Having not grown up in a particularly conservatively Christian community this issue never even came up for me until I became aware of it as an adult. But, on the other hand, I also had NO awareness of any evidence of evil or pagan worship as a part of what was otherwise a silly, child's holiday that allowed us to dress up in costumes and eat candy. That's all I ever saw it as and I know that's all my kids think of it.

In our neighborhood it is a sweet event that actually does a lot to build community and feelings of connectedness. Sometimes I think we do a disservice to ourselves, our kids, and our faith if we continue to hang onto things that are truly in the past. That said though, I would not let my kids participate in anything that is truly scary or ghoulish or goes against my belief in celebrating the gift of life and love.

Haley-O said...

Proverb 16:6 is this: "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged; and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil." So, how is this person quoting 16:6? I don't profess to be an expert. I know VERY LITTLE. But, paganism is another religion -- it's not evil, per say. It's sort of like my monkey doing a Diwali card at school the other day, or her classroom painting eggs on Easter. But, it's also a time when people are at their FRIENDLIEST! Everyone's out on the street and there's such a feeling of closeness and community, you know? I think it's sad that people think of it as evil. It doesn't have to be religious if you don't want it to be, either. You don't have to say your "celebrating" Halloween because you're dressing up. Think of it as worldwide dressup day!!

Just my thoughts. I'm glad you went through with it -- and I'm sure the kiddies did, too! They look great! xoxo

InTheFastLane said...

Having grown up in a fairly conservative faith/family, Halloween was never an issue for the reason that my parents explained the roots to us when we were old enough to understand, but we treated it as just a fun night to use our imaginations.

Monica said...

Great question. We have generally have a rule that if something is in questions r/t our faith we don't do it until we've prayed and had God answer our questions. Both of us did Halloween growing up and have fond memories. When we started having kids we held off on starting any traditions until we were sure of the direction we were headed. God made it clear to us that Halloween was out. We've been criticized, but it sure there is a lot of freedom not to "have to" and I feel God has blessed us in this.

I think we are all on different walks and really must ask God as families what we should be doing and then obey accordingly. All that to say, that we shouldn't be bringing these same standards (one way or the other) down on our brothers and sisters. That's called legalism.

I read a great post here about Halloween here with lots of perspectives and suggestions.

Laura said...

We focus on having fun making our costumes and then we go visit close friends - no door to door here.

I do love the costumes. The kids look great.

Oh - I put a link to your blog from mine today since I am calling for people to nominate you for a Canadian Blogging Award. You rock!

RainyPM said...

This year we still went trick-or-treating, but earlier that day I tried something a little different. Now that I think about it, it's probably the opposite of what you are talking about, since I got the idea from some of the oldest traditions. But using Halloween as a day to remember and honor our loved ones that have passed on turned out really special for us and I think we'll do it again.

Barb the Evil Genius said...

Um. There *are* two holy days right at Halloween. All Saint's Day on Nov 1 and All Soul's Day on November 2.