I am not a scrooge or a Grinch or a weird fanatic (although you may think so by the title of this article or by the end of it…and that’s ok..)
I am not even particularly concerned with cavities caused by too much sugar in small children
You can ask my husband…he knows about my slight holiday obsession. During our first year of marriage whenever I would mention that a holiday was approaching – he would take a deep breath and ask “do you expect a gift for that holiday?” and “do you celebrate that holiday?” ( I think secretly hoping my answer was NO!)
He knows, that holidays are a big deal to me – and that at times I have been known to manufacture my own holidays – if only for an excuse to eat good food, connect with others and forget about the cares of life.
Tomorrow I am going to tell you about the best holiday I ever invented: Fall Extravaganza!!! What is Fall Extravaganza? I can’t wait to tell you about this epic holiday…tomorrow!!!!!
To me a holiday should bring joy and hope into our lives, it should provide opportunities to reflect on the most important things in life, most of all I desire holidays to draw me closer to God. What are holidays about to you?
If Halloween was only about carving happy pumpkin faces, dressing up little munchkins in fuzzy animal costumes and going door to door saying “trick or treat” I wouldn’t have a problem.
But there is so much more that surrounds the holiday in our culture that causes my issue with Halloween:
I find it ironic and disturbing that in our American culture where news reports and social commentators condemn scenes of mass genocide and murder (which should be condemned!) that in the same nation we allow scenes of death and decapitation to cover our front yards, public areas and even our school corridors.
2 years ago I substituted in public schools for primarily kindergartners. 5 year olds, innocent children who still take naps, need snacks and cry because they miss their Moms. In the hallways where these 5 year olds walked to the cafeteria, the gym, library were displays that featured bloody ligaments, frightening masks and creepy scenes portraying decay and death.
We don’t allow weapons at school, but we are ok, with images of the grim reaper displayed on the walls.
I didn’t just find this to be true at one elementary school, these displays were rampant across an entire community. A community where most people would claim to believe in God, be a good Christian and go to church every Sunday. I am not saying that people are not saved if they celebrate Halloween. But I am commenting that even amongst those in the Christian community there is a often a collective blind eye to what we are inviting into our neighborhoods, schools, and homes when we celebrate Halloween.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Images of de captated heads, the grim reaper with a sheath in hand ready for destruction, bloody costumes are not appropriate for children, period. And they are not appropriate for ME!
Phillipians 4:8-9 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I can’t think of how any kind of bloody, grotesque or scary Halloween display, movie, image or costume could fall into the pure or lovely category.
I can’t put it in there – so even if as an adult I could rationalize “that stuff doesn’t affect me” – God says to not even think about it.
Whether you have children or not you are responsible to protect the innocence and purity of children. You don’t know who is driving by your house, walking into your home or viewing pictures of your Halloween costume on facebook or instagram.
God is fierce and clear about the protective heart He has over children and their innocence. He is also very clear about our role in protecting children.
After Jesus answers the question about who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven by placing a little child on His lap (Matthew 18:1-5) He then says:
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Jesus is not neutral on this issue (protecting children’s innocence) – He is extremely blunt…it would be better for you TO DIE a painful death than for you to cause a child to stumble. Whoa…that is intense…ok…take a few deep breaths.
How is celebrating Halloween causing a little one to stumble? You are inviting fear into their lives.
I have worked with kids in a lot of different capacities: children’s pastor, substitute teacher, nanny, and camp counselor. Kids struggle with fear, because kids are human – and humans struggle with fear.
When you allow decorations that are scary and grotesque to cover your home, watch movies or tv shows about vampires or the walking dead, when you take your child to a haunted house to “get scared….” you are inviting fear and his close relatives death and evil into your house….pulling out your recliner for them to sit on and offering them cream and sugar with their coffee.
I don’t think most people are aware of what they are giving partnership to when they watch horror films or set up inflatable witches in their front yard.
I believe most Americans just think they are celebrating another holiday – and to them it’s the same as turkey carving or setting out cookies for Santa…but its not!
So how do we respond to Halloween, in a culture that seems to be embracing the celebration of the gory parts of Halloween more and more? Lock ourselves in our bedroom and try to pretend its not happening? Dress up like a vampire to make ourselves culturally relevant? We are going to look at some practical ways we can respond to Halloween as believers – TOMORROW!
Until then, I would love to hear your thoughts on Halloween. Do you celebrate Halloween, why or why not? Parents of children how do you approach Halloween?