When we had our daughter, our entire world changed. I know, duh, right?! In particular, we started looking at the holidays and traditions we had as a family. One by one, we put them under a Godly microscope. A few years back, our pastor preached on the traditions surrounding Christmas; Santa, Christmas trees, etc. It was very helpful in determining what pieces of that holiday would help us teach Allie about Jesus’ birth.
Halloween was not exempt as we examined our observance of it as well. I have read about this day’s history and encourage you to do so also. Parts of it hail from our forefathers in the Catholic Church, and parts of it are tied to the ancient pagan holiday of Samhain, where the people would host feasts to conjure up the dead and walk through two bonfires to cleanse themselves, etc.
Initially, we decided we would not participate in the holiday at all. But God didn’t let it go there. Each year, I would hear from other believers who decided they could observe this holiday innocently... wholesome costumes and candy from area retailers, in family neighborhoods or from church “trunk or treat” events. And I was graced with a little girl that loves a good party! Already at four Halloween has become an obsession. The more we told her no, the more it grew in fascination for her. I began to fear that we were creating a Halloween “monster.” And for what?
I will spare you the hours of conversations, prayers and research that have gone into my October 31st conclusions. I know that each year we will revisit this challenging holiday and I may read this article in five years and see it all completely differently. That is the beauty of God. He continues to disciple us through the Spirit. So, here are some Halloween Scriptural treats, from me to you:
Psalm 118:24 reads,
“This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
October 31st, every year, is a day God made. It is the day Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the church doors, starting a reformation revolution. It is Hallow’s Eve, a time of celebration leading up to All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day. So, why am I trying to avoid it? Initially, we had decided to make it a fun day home from school for Allie. We were planning hayrides and pumpkin carving and lots of baking. But really all she heard at the age of four was “no trick or treating and no dressing up and no fun with your friends.” I have no problem telling her no, but again God was working in my Spirit, no for what?
So, my thought process continued. If I was going to let her celebrate Halloween, what did that look like? The holiday seems to be about two things to me, in its raw innocence... dressing up and getting loads of candy. Not factors worth celebrating for me, even if you do it “for the kids.” The next part of this story is cool. If you seek answers, God will provide them in His time. A friend of mine from back home posted an article from Christianity Today entitled “Matters of Opinion: Hallowing Halloween;
Why Christians Should Embrace the Devilish Holiday with Gusto - and Laughter.” This article provided a missing link for me. Matthew 5:13-16 reads,
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men. You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
I had not factored these well-known verses into my Halloween considerations at all. And it changed a lot of things for me. What if we took Halloween back and made it the Christian holiday it can be? Churches, instead of just a “trunk or treat” alternative, what if we find ways to teach about the saints of our faith, we share scripture about the God who made this day and every other, you get the idea. Trick or treaters, what if your costume actually represented a saint from the past (what a conversation starter), what if instead of focusing on how much candy a kid can get, we honed in on how our child could bless the giver? My wheels are turning, let me tell you!
For this year, we are joining in the fun. A portion of John 16:16 reads,
“I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit
and that your fruit should remain...”
Our daughter plans to dress up like a princess, which she does pretty much every day of the year. I am reminded that our bodies are temples (1 Corinthians 6:19) so the costume should be conservative and appropriate; and any amount of candy received will be distributed sparingly by this Mama, who takes her responsibility very seriously. We are joining up with friends from church and giving away our own treats; card with a scripture verse on it that she’ll hopefully memorize and also to remind others of Psalm 34:8a,
Candy is good food but also “Taste and see that the Lord is good...”
And overall regarding Halloween, we will continue to prayerfully seek the right way to celebrate for our family. I want Allie to know about its Christian roots because they are interesting and important. Every year, we will evaluate the best way to participate in the party. When I ask our daughter why we celebrate Halloween I want her to be able to give an answer that is pleasing to God. We plan to keep the celebration going for a couple days (because historically they did too). Tomorrow we will honor the saints that have gone before us (Read Revelation 6:9-11 for a reminder of how precious they are to God). The following day we will learn about All Souls’ Day, which historically in Europe served as a version of our Memorial Day.
Halloween, I’ve got my spiritual eye on you. Making the holiday safe and innocent isn’t enough. Colossians 3:23 reads,
“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically as something
done for the Lord and not for men.”
I want to enthusiastically make Halloween something done for the Lord.