halloween & personal convictions

I grew up in a non-Halloween house.  Meaning, I don’t recall a time I ever went trick-or-treating (although when I was younger we would pass out candy/trinkets.  The “Jesus Loves You pencils???  Those were from us. )

So, no trick-or-treating, but the occasional church sponsored “fall festival” was okay.   Those (at the South.ern Bap.tist churches we were at) had an optional dress-up code, which we did not usually do, or better yet, you could dress up like a Bible character. 

As I got older, my mother decided that Halloween in any shape or form was just bad.  No more fall festivals, no more Jesus Loves You pencil handouts.  Instead, we started a new family tradition of going out to a nicer restaurant for dinner that evening. 

Gotta admit, it didn’t really bother me much growing up.  I was one of those who easily and painlessly took on the convictions of my parents without question, and actually enjoyed the dinner-out night.  In retrospect, I do wish that a little more emphasis had been placed on the fact that convictions come from the Lord, not from a person, or from a book, or from a TV show.  Ahh… but that’s another topic too.

As I grew into adulthood, got married, moved across the country, and eventually had children, I started to think more about traditions, convictions, and what we wanted to pass on to our children.  Did everything that we did when I was growing up need to be transfered to my new family unit???  It was a debate (not literally… well, maybe sometimes… 🙂  )  I came to the realization that just because it “was the way it was” growing up, did not mean that’s how it had to be now.  My parents convictions were not necessarily my convictions.  God needed to be the one to convict me of things in my life… not my mother.

I have been convicted of many things since that realization.  Most have nothing to do with holidays, or celebrations… and therefore I won’t discuss.  One thing I have not been convicted about is the “fall festival”.  Yes, we plan to take our children to a fall festival tomorrow evening to play games and win candy.  Yes, we took our children to our own church’s fall festival last weekend where they got temporary tattoos and bowled with pumpkins.  My sweet Rachel dressed up like Cinderella, and Eli was the cutest little army-man you’ve ever seen. 

Do I think that my mother would be unhappy with our decision and/or lack of conviction?  Probably.  I also know that my family’s traditions may change over time.  Once the kiddies outgrow the fall festival games, will we let them actually go trick-or-treating???  Not sure.  Seems a little sketchy to me to get candy from a complete stranger…  but, we’ll see. 

So, that’s my Halloween contribution for the year.  I know in the Christian community in general it’s always a great debate… to Halloween or not to Halloween.  Anybody care to share your convictions about the spooky season???

9 Comments on “halloween & personal convictions”

  1. i never knew there was a debate until a few yrs ago. when i grew up in a small town, we trick-or-treated & to me there was never a thought of halloween being evil. i knew there were witches & skeletons but i also knew we didnt do that stuff. but i liked getting dressed up & getting candy. (sidenote- i do feel it was a little safer back then.) i dont know what we’ll do with our kids. right now i dont have convictions about NOT doing trick-or-treating. i definitely love fall festival & i like dressing up & i like candy. so we’ll see. just add this to the controversy list right? (drinking, public-private-homeschooling, dating.. oh my!)

  2. I always trick-or-treated growing up while attending a Baptist church. Carter loves dressing up and is fascinated with the concept of knocking on a door, saying trick-or-treat and getting candy. So, this year we’re going to do it. We’re going to a big dinner with a bunch of families from our church, then we’re all going to walk around her neighborhood and let our children fill their bags with candy while being dressed up in fun costumes. I have Santa convictions, but Halloween doesn’t bother me. I think it is what you make it. I likely won’t let him eat much of the candy, but as long as the event itself is fun, we’ll do it.

  3. We’ve dealt so far with the scarier looking stuff that Rachel sees around this time as “that person is not happy”… the goblins and the such. And so far, that’s been enough of an explanation for her.
    Christmas??? Mandi, that’s a whole nutha ball-o-wax! We try to not go overboard on the “gimme gimme” side of things… and I throw away toy magazines that come in the mail. But, we do Santa pictures (mostly ’cause they are hilarious… screaming kids, pained grin on Santa’s face).
    This year I am getting the Little People Nativity Set for them to play with… I think they’re getting old enough to “get it”, that is, the real meaning, a little more.

  4. Hey! I can’t remember if we’ve discussed this or not… James and I aren’t celebrating Halloween with the kids for a very different reason than what Mom had for us. We just feel like it’s a very materialistic “holiday.” You know, it’s all about “getting” a costume, “getting” candy, “winning” games, etc. So, for us, we’d rather just spend one more night as a family then to promote an appetite for self-gain in our children. Not preaching my convictions- just sharing as you asked :). May I say here how thankful I am that we’re such good sister-friends now and it’s okay that we don’t feel the same about everything? How amazing that God convicts His people differently and it’s not a “heaven or hell” debate :). Love you!

  5. No, the Halloween topic hasn’t come up between us, but I can see your point.
    I guess it’s like other holidays in that way for us too… like at Christmas and Easter, we don’t want the focus to be on the Easter bunny and presents, but that doesn’t mean we don’t give presents at all, or not do egg hunts, you know? Like you said, just depends on how it’s approached, and what the focus is. Ours just like dressing up anyways, and playing games… which works for us now. May have to re-assess in the future. 🙂

  6. Ooh, I just now saw your post about getting the Little People Nativity- I’ve been looking at different kids sets that they can act out the story with (course, they already act it out, but Gabi always hogs the “Baby Jesus” character- I think she just likes being the baby?). Have you gotten it yet? If yes, what do you think?

  7. Oooh controversy! 🙂

    Because we don’t do halloween in Australia (though the push to has really geared up in the last two years) it seems kind of shocking to me that churches/Christians anywhere would participate in it.

    I’m with your mother on this one 😉

  8. I do completely understand that it’s probably another one of those “Americanized” things! 🙂 As for agreeing with my mother… this would probably be the only thing you’d agree on… 😦

  9. I’ll be interested to see how the churches over here respond to halloween. As we don’t have the tradition side of things to influence us, I wonder if they will object on the grounds of the origin/spirit of the event, or (modern church style) just fit in because it’s something new and fashionable. Time will tell!

    As for agreeing with my mother… this would probably be the only thing you’d agree on…

    Perhaps..perhaps.. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: