I can still remember the raw fear I felt watching “Nightmare on Elm Street” at a sleepover birthday party in the 5th grade.
I called my parents to come and get me.
Because that’s what chickens do. And because, Kujo was next on the movie list.
For weeks, lo months, the terrifying images from those movies haunted me.
My kids, especially my oldest have always been sensitive to frightening stories and images, so we don’t allow them.
And so, it might come as a surprise that I let my my children dress up for Halloween.
At least it was to an acquaintance of mine who berated me the other day for my unholy choice. Her words, “We avoid the day entirely. We shut off our lights and pretend not to be home because nothing about the day glorifies God.”
I must admit I felt some indignation rise up. And so I said, “Instead of hiding, why not use the opportunity to shed The Light on a dark day. It would be powerful to teach your kids that we don’t have to be like the world to live in the world.”
That pretty much ended our conversation.
But I couldn’t get away from it. Especially since I wasn’t exactly doing my brilliant idea.
I know there are a lot of Christians who share my acquaintance’s view. And I know there are a lot of Christians who let their kids dress up in fun costumes and participate in some way.
My kids love candy. They love dressing up. And even though we usually just participate in church or neighborhood activities, I wondered what they thought about Halloween.
And so, I asked them.
Some of their answers surprised me. And so we sat down and explained some of the darkness behind Halloween. My kids looked fearful. Not so much about the evil choices some people make on Satan’s holiday, more about the idea of us removing costumes and candy from their future. Like the TV.
So, here’s what our family is planning: My kids are going to don their homemade costumes (that I’ll be sharing at this week’s DIYP). We are going to stuff as much candy into our bags as we can at our Church Fall Festival the day before Halloween. And the next day we’re going to our community activities, to replace all the candy we will eat the night before. And on Halloween night, we will sit in our driveway and pass out the best candy we can afford.
Along with these little booklets that have a great Christian message:
We’re going to do our part to spread a little light.
I found this really great article about Christians and Halloween. The author talks about our options, most of which are extremes. Here’s the part I like:
“There’s another option open to Christians: limited, non-compromising participation in Halloween. There’s nothing inherently evil about candy, costumes, or trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. In fact, all of that can provide a unique gospel opportunity with neighbors. Even handing out candy to neighborhood children–provided you’re not stingy–can improve your reputation among the kids. As long as the costumes are innocent and the behavior does not dishonor Christ, trick-or-treating can be used to further gospel interests.
Ultimately, Christian participation in Halloween is a matter of conscience before God. Whatever level of Halloween participation you choose, you must honor God by keeping yourself separate from the world and by showing mercy to those who are perishing. Halloween provides the Christian with the opportunity to accomplish both of those things in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a message that is holy, set apart from the world; it’s a message that is the very mercy of a forgiving God.
What better time of the year is there to share such a message than Halloween?”