Sunday, October 28, 2007

Another Halloween question

Last week I asked what you thought about participating in Halloween. Most people I’ve heard from, plus those I’ve read elsewhere, fall into one of two camps: church-based parties or joining in the traditional Halloween festivities.

Today my question is this: What is the difference between those two approaches?

Some, no doubt, prefer church-based activities based on safety concerns. Though I’m not sure how true they are, we’ve all heard the stories about tainted candy not to mention kidnappings and general accidents due to darkly clothed pedestrians stepping out into streets. If that is the concern, I think we can all understand that.

If, however, you prefer the church-based “harvest” festivals or whatever you call them because you think it’s not right to participate in Halloween, I’d like your thinking as to what makes them different.

Here’s what I’m seeing – children dressed in costumes going around asking for candy and playing silly games for prizes. That description is as true for the harvest festivals as it is for Halloween. The costumes may be scarier and the games may be a little grosser at the Halloween parties (though, frankly, this isn’t always the case), but I have to say I really don’t see a difference in these two activities.

This isn’t an attempt to change anyone’s mind about Halloween – or church harvest festivals. I genuinely want to understand the thought process here because soon, probably next year, I’m going to have to make some decisions for my family, so I would really appreciate your thoughts on this.

Here are some other interesting sites I've happened across on the topic:
There was an interesting conversation at Challies Dot Com.
Christian History & Biography had a fact-based piece that's worth a read.


Joan Adams said...

As a grandparent, to me it is a safety issue. My grands trick or treat with their parents at the homes of friends. As for me, when it is 8:30, lights go out, and no more treats. I love to see the parents out with the little ones having fun, and laughing and enjoying. After 8:30 at night, the little ones are at home in bed, or should be, and Grandma JJ no longer serves treats. Enjoy the holiday with your children. Be safe. Don't be too scary, just fun scary and enjoy!

Susannah said...

You ask a very challenging question for serious Christian parents!

I've tried to answer part of it in today's Halloween post, Thinking Christianly: Honoring Christ During the Holidays.

Would you let me know what you think?

Blessings, e-Mom

hillschurch said...

In general I don't have a great deal of difficulty with Halloween - at least not the way it used to be celebrated as I was growing up. I had no real clue that it had anything to do with the occult and it was all about dressing up as a hobo or clown or princess and getting candy. As I grew older it was about hanging out with my friends and pulling a few pranks.

Even as I had kids of my own we would welcome our neighbours to our door and chat a while. But what has happened more and more in the past few years is the rise of very violent Halloween themes (slasher style) and very occult/witchcraft/demonic elements. The costumes have begun to reflect those themes and frankly they scared the snot out of my toddlers.

The glorification of the blood and gore motifs, the "undead" style masks and the overt occult elements (spells, hauntings, curses, witchcraft) is what I find wrong with current Halloween celebrations, movies and TV programs. Halloween is politically correct in the schools in my area. The Christianity that makes sense of it all and is an antidote to the evil of the world, is not.

That's why I have supported "alternative" activities for my kids over the years - and would probably do again.

ChrisB said...

Everyone, I want to say thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. You've been a great help as I consider how to approach this with my kids. I've got a lot to mull over in the next year, but you've given me a great place to start.

Thanks again!