I still feel so divided over the celebration of Halloween. As a Christ follower, should I celebrate or not?
Let me explain my dilemma. I have a lot of problems celebrating a holiday that feeds into children’s greed and distributes buckets of candy when juvenile diabetes and obesity is on the rise exponentially. I don’t like the idea of scary things and there are those who use the holiday for debauchery and worship of the spirit world. I’ve heard – I don’t know if it is true – that Halloween is the high Holy Day of Satanists.
My angst over this holiday increased when I talked with a campus ministry worker from Western Illinois University about reaching out to international students. She said these students love to interact with Americans and holidays are a great way to connect with them so they have a chance to experience our traditions and ask questions about our celebrations. She told how one student from South America was perplexed by Halloween. “We have Day of the Dead” on November 1st,” the student said. “But what is Halloween supposed to be about?”
How would you answer that? And how would you answer the unspoken question – why do Christians celebrate Halloween?
Perhaps the most important question is this: how will I celebrate Halloween?
Most of the years when my children were growing up, my modus operandi was avoidance. I can only remember a couple of years when we took our girls Trick or Treating. One year, we sponsored a reunion party for kids who went to the week of Church camp when my husband and I served as Deans. Our theme was Frog-it – Fully Rely On God. So our Halloween party was a frog theme. Kids were asked to come dressed in Bible Costumes and wearing something green. My older daughter wore an old bridesmaid dress of mine and went as Bathsheba. We had frog snacks: green Kool-Aid, Joe Frogger cookies, frog-eye salad and cupcakes with gummy frogs. That was a lot of fun.
My best friend came up with the best idea the other day on how to celebrate Halloween. (That’s why she’s the best.) She told me how she would dress up her two girls in costumes then take them to visit elderly friends. Each year, Mrs. Farber, one of their friends, met them at the door and said, “Oh my, I don’t have any candy to give you.”
My friend’s answer held the key to my dilemma. “We didn’t come for your candy. We came to see you.” And the lady invited them into her home, served cider and cookies and they had a wonderful evening.
One year, Marilyn and her daughters visited Mrs. Comber who had Alzheimer’s. She greeted them with, “I don’t know you.” Marilyn’s response was, “But we know you and you are one of our favorite people!” It was Mrs. Comber’s last Halloween.
Now why didn’t I think of that?
Each year when our girls were little and we served a church in a small town in Kansas, several older people in the congregation would ask me, “Why didn’t you bring the girls by? We wanted to see them in their costumes.” I feel so bad that I got so caught up in whether I SHOULD celebrate this holiday that I didn’t stop to think HOW I could use it to be a blessing to someone else.
And that’s my answer. How do I celebrate Halloween? In a way that blesses others. Whether it’s taking children to a nursing home or to visit a shut-in, offering apple cider to parents who bring their children to my door or, as I’m going to do this year, dress up in a silly costume, pass out treats in the parking lot of our church, and invite kids and parents into our church gym for a fun evening together.
I’m even going to make a cake decorated with candy corn pumpkins for the Cake Walk. Just don’t tell the Children’s Obesity Police.
How should Christians celebrate Halloween? Tweet this
I choose to celebrate Halloween in a way that blesses others. Tweet this.