To Halloween or Not?

Leigh —  October 29, 2013 — 9 Comments

I have mixed feelings about Halloween. I mean, I want to like it.  I really do.  There’s candy and dressing up, and that all seems innocent enough.  But somehow, I can’t get past the feeling that we’re celebrating death.  It probably has something to do with the zombie hands rising out of the simulated cemetery in my neighbor’s yard that leaves me feeling a little unsettled with the holiday.

It seems I go through this internal tug-of-war every October.  Should I let my kids celebrate Halloween or not?  I know the reasons to abstain.  I heard them every year as a kid while my parents were turning out the lights in the house and pulling out of our driveway. It was code for trick-or-treaters are not welcome here.

I know my parents were just trying to stick to their convictions, and I was blessed to have parents with principles.  But honestly, as a child, I always dreaded this holiday because I felt like I was missing out.

Anytime someone would ask me, “What are you going to be for Halloween?”  I would sheepishly have to tell them that we don’t celebrate Halloween at our house. Of course, the next question that followed was always, “Why not!?”

I hated this question because honestly, I didn’t really understand it myself. It was my parents’ beliefs, but it always felt like I was the one that was really sacrificing for it.  I mean, even our church had a fall festival that we weren’t allowed to attend.  Why was dressing up in princess costumes and playing games all right for my church friends, but just a little too close to Devil worship for me?

So when I had kids of my own, I decided to let them have their jack o’lanterns and costumes.  I figured they already feel different enough from other kids with homeschooling and not being allowed to watch half the shows regular kids watch.  Why not give them Halloween?

But then there’s my dang neighbor and his zombie hands that make me question my decision.

Are we celebrating death?  Is it Satan worship to trick-or-treat?  Or can we celebrate the fun side of Halloween while leaving the eerie part hidden in the shadows?

I really don’t know, and I’m curious to know your thoughts as I navigate my way through yet another parenting dilemma.

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9 responses to To Halloween or Not?

  1. It’s what you make of it, just like every other holiday. How many people in the world celebrate Christmas who are not Christians? I do think that you should have a reason for celebrating a holiday, in case your kids ask that question.

    • That’s the part I’m struggling with…the kids asking the questions part. Edie wants to know what’s up with all the cemeteries and gravestones in neighbors’ yards, and I don’t think I’ve done a good job explaining why they choose to decorate that way because I don’t really understand it all myself.

  2. That can be a hard one. I have always let mine dress up in non-scary and non-death costumes ( I let them wear those costumes other times of the year -in play ) and we go trick-or-treating or to a church festival. Mine have always asked why can’t they be vampires, etc… and I tell them basically what you said, “As Christians we don’t celebrate death-Jesus rose from the dead-and we celebrate Life.”

    My very best friend though does not do anything Halloweenish, or Santa Claus, for that matter and I understand her view also.

    • Oh don’t even get me started on Santa Claus! The first time Edie asked me if he was real (she was 6), I just said, “No.” It had nothing to do with religious reasons. I was just tired of the charade. My parents didn’t agree with that decision either. :)

  3. My children are 21 and 17 and I am going to share something I learned this weekend. You are in charge of what you children learn and believe. I always tried my best to influence them but not control what they did and this weekend both were faced with some temptations that I learned later they decided to pass on. It was very rewarding. Not that I don’t worry about them making the right decision, every mother does, just don’t stress too much, let them enjoy the fun and positive things about each holiday but try to influence them toward what you believe and I bet in a few years you will be experiencing something just like I did this weekend.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Jane. My mom always says that parenting is one of the hardest jobs because it takes about twenty years to see the results and know if you did a good job. My kids are good kids, and I’m doing the best I can and training my children in the way they should go. My prayer is that when they are older they will not depart from it. I’m glad to hear that this is proving to be true for your family.

  4. just add that I do not observe Halloween for religious reasons. I have had the experience of discussing this with a person who had gotten herself involved in some very scary things ( think Satanism ) and said that this is a very powerful time of year for them.

    • Yea Annie, I think that’s what my parents were struggling with, and that’s the dilemma for me. Does my family have to abstain from celebrating Halloween because some people celebrate differently than we do? A lot of folks take Christmas to a level that I don’t agree with and turn it into a celebration of materialism (i.e. Black Friday), but you don’t hear of anybody skipping out on Christmas. I just want to make sure I’ve fully thought through what I’m teaching my kids exactly, you know?

  5. Well all that explaining Dad and I thought we were doing, fell on deaf ears and I can understand. You are now struggling with what we were facing when you and Sonny were younger. You need to read why All Hallow’s Eve was celebrated and some of the first ways the Celtics Festival was celebrated… You might understand why dad and I made the tough decision we did. We had prayed over it and were very convicted over not confusing you with the darkness we were seeing around this holiday and for that fact in the world. Which I might add has certainly not improved! We let scripture lead our decision and with that made a parenting decision that was ours to make. Deuteronomy 18:10-12
    For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling or sorcery, or allow them to interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is an object of horror and disgust to the Lord. (NLT)

    I know we aren’t sacrificing our children in the way the scripture describes here… however every time the gray area gets broader, we are sacrificing our children… aren’t we?

    This is your decision to make, and as you know we have certainly supported you and Ken. In fact I have stomped all over you and Sonny’s neighborhood on Halloween with our grand babies. And will continue to do that in support of you raising your children as you see fit!

    Love you to pieces and am enjoying watching you parent your children… and I might add I think you are doing a wonderful job!

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