An Unordinary Halloween 2022: Making Peace In This Autumn


Halloween.

Is there any day that stirs up more controversy amongst Christians than October 31?

Over the years, I have participated in more than my fair share of conversations on the topic with other people who think the same things I do.

Celebrate it?

Ignore it?

Distaste it?

My Christian parents paid no attention to it at all while I was growing up. We sat down in the family room with a movie that we rented, after turning off the lights outside the house. And on the first of every November, I would go to school without anything sweet to eat, and I would stand in awe and resentment as I watched my classmates’ lunches be opened to reveal mountains of candy bars. While it’s true that there are undoubtedly more serious emotions than sugar envy, I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced it. Back then, the very thought of Halloween would elicit a whole range of unfavourable feelings in people.

In certain years, our church would provide an other method to celebrate known as the obligatory Harvest Party. This party, which everyone knows is really just a Halloween party disguised with a churchy name, was an option for such years. We would show up in our finest costumes, compete by munching doughnuts hanging on a clothesline, and win enough candy to fill my very own Charlie’s Angels lunch box by the time Monday rolled around.

Pleasant moments.

A message that is a little bit unclear.

No one was fooled by the host’s attempt to pass off a plainly Halloween gathering as a Harvest party.

When Chad and I first became parents, one of the challenges we faced was determining how to celebrate Halloween with our own family. We had a gut feeling that it was unethical to celebrate a holiday that was so blatantly filled with negativity, but we were out of other options, so we turned out the lights on the porch, rented a movie, and hunkered down in the living room. However, it never appeared to me to be the appropriate option. Why were we hiding? Were we coming to terms with defeat? Did our neighbours get the impression that we were trying to isolate ourselves? Being that strange, devoutly spiritual family?

Instead of trying to avoid Halloween by staying inside, we decided to ignore it by going out to eat. However, the wait staff at each establishment we visited was decked up in Halloween costumes, and they brought out bowls of candy for the children. People also gave us strange looks and asked us why our children weren’t trick-or-treating.

What a waste of time it would have been to ignore Halloween!

In point of fact, Halloween had developed into the day I feared the most out of the whole year, which was made worse by the fact that I made such an effort to put it off.

Chad and I proceeded to discuss the various courses of action we may take given the situation. One evening, when I was browsing the website of Focus on the Family in search of more possible ideas, I came across the book titled “Redeeming Halloween

This short article not only provided the startling (at least to me) Christian history that lies behind the festival (did you know that ‘hallow’ means ‘holy,’ and ‘e’en’ means ‘evening? ), but it also explained how the event got its name. In addition to that, it gave me the green light to unwind.

We decided to come out of hiding in the basement.

We began the process of assisting our children in coming up with imaginative princess and superhero outfits.

We decorated our house with lights and put out bowls of candy for the kids who were dressed up and came to our door. They were in a good mood.

And then a strange occurrence took place.

Freedom.

Carving pumpkins, removing stringy gunk, and roasting slippery pumpkin seeds into savoury bliss was a newfound delight for our children, who discovered it while preparing for Halloween. They had a great time getting dressed up and dashing out into the chilly evening to fill their empty pillowcases with sweet lumps wrapped in colourful paper.

As they became older, it was fascinating to them to learn about the pagan and Christian origins of Halloween as well as its development over the course of the ages. They never once inquired about dressing up as ghosts, witches, or demons for Halloween, and the primary reason for this is because we discussed the reasons why we considered that doing so would dishonour the Lord.

And without fail, by the first of November each year, they had moved on and were looking forward to the holiday season.

Which, by the way, is a holiday that is celebrated with the combined pagan trappings of a Christmas tree and presents, as well as the Christian trappings of Advent and Jesus.

Because I no longer spend the whole month of October fretting, each October has become a gift for me. Now that we have this opportunity, we are able to have fellowship with our neighbours and meet folks who normally would not come to our door. During family devotions, we talk to our children about how light may triumph over darkness. After dumping everyone’s bounty into a large bowl, we sort through the candies to see who got what. We put in a lot of time and effort to come up with original and cost-effective concepts for Halloween costumes.

We had fun.

There are going to be those of you who take issue with the fact that we celebrate Halloween at all. And that is just OK. I’m not going to tell you what to do or what not to do; I’m simply going to share with you what has worked for our family. And it is my sincere wish that we may continue to be friends notwithstanding our differences,

So. Do you? Don’t you?

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