The Great Halloween Debate

Disclaimer: I know this is a touchy subject for some, but this is merely OUR opinion and not what we think/expect others should do…

It’s October, which means stores are starting their Christmas campaigns, we see all sorts of Halloween and harvest-y stuff out and we forget about Thanksgiving. As a child growing up in Africa we celebrated Halloween by dressing up and trick-or-treating around to the other missionaries homes. We didn’t always get candy, since there was no Wal-mart around, but we got cookies, and other baked goods. I do not remember ever enjoying Halloween. I HATED trying to come up with a creative costume idea–which is why I was always a fairy, princess or angel. My sister was the creative one. I remember being so relieved when I was too old to do the trick-or-treating thing.

When David and I got married we talked a lot about Halloween, especially as it came around every year. I remember us carving pumpkins our first Halloween together and neither of us thinking it had been a good idea. We were both allowed to get dressed up and trick-or-treat as children, but after childhood neither of us was too crazy about it. Since having kids we have gone back and forth about our opinions of Halloween. We know it’s a holiday that has purely pagan roots, at it’s beginnings was designed to keep the spirits away, etc. Everything from dressing up to the jack-o-lantern has pagan spiritual meanings to it.

Last Halloween was the first year that we considered dressing Cora up in anything. She was only 1 1/2 so obviously had no idea. She trick-or-treated with her cousins and we passed out candy in our own neighborhood. This is when I think our opinion of Halloween changed. As we were passing out candy, with our 1 1/2 year old sitting next to us, scary costume after scary costume came to our porch. I was getting freaked out, and I was getting nervous to think what my little girl was thinking. We had always waffled between should we do it or shouldn’t we, and I think it was that night, last year that we made up our minds that we would not be participating.

So, you ask, what happens when our kids are in school and everyone else is dressed up, etc? Well, we’ve certainly thought about that and have concluded that we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I know that might sound wishy-washy, maybe it is, but we don’t feel we can make that decision just yet. We’ll revisit this again in a few years when it becomes an issue. In the meantime, we as a family, will celebrate this time of year as it is–a season of harvest. A time of apple-picking, pumpkins, pumpkin festivals and the anticipation of Thanksgiving! And, I don’t feel at all bad about not dressing my kids up and taking them out in the streets to get candy.

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5 thoughts on “The Great Halloween Debate

  1. Pingback: Hello Kitty | Ponderings from a Pastor's Wife

  2. Even though we dont yet have children, I have been thinking about this as well. I love the SEASON and yes, the little princess’ and bumble bees are so cute in their costumes as little ones, but I am uneasy about the rest.

  3. John and I have gone back and forth on this too. We did trick-or-treating when I was growing up, and have some great memories. But I also remember being warned by teachers (and other kids!) to be very careful while trick-or-treating, because there were crazies out there doing all sorts of terrible things to children. That scared me. John doesn’t like Halloween at all, b/c of some of the pagan practices he saw while growing up. Lately we’ve decided to celebrate Reformation Day instead (also October 31). We helped plan a party at our church last year and will be doing one this year too; there are a few families that really like the idea. You get to be out of your house that night (away from scary/freaky costumes and crazies). You get to have games and safe treats (gluten-free ones!), and you get to dress up in medieval costumes if you enjoy that sort of thing. It will probably become a tradition for us.

  4. Jeni, like you I always celebrated Halloween and thought nothing of it. It was fun!! some things happened with Steve and then when we had foster kids we found that they acted out more at Halloween than any other time. I did a study and like you found the roots and original beliefs were about driving spirits away. Some say that Satanists celebrate Halloween like we celebrate Christmas. I don’t know it that’s true but it gave me food for thought. Our kids did not celebrate Halloween and we kept them home from school the day the school celebrated it. I’ll never forget the secretary in the school office telling me that many people kept their children home that day!! I DO NOT critisize those who celebrate Halloween. It’s a fun holiday and most people don’t even know the history behind it. This is what God has shown us and we don’t put it on anyone else.

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