To Halloween or Not to Halloween – Is That the Question?

You knew it was coming. I’m not the likely candidate to avoid the Halloween topic, as volatile as it can become. You’re probably either ready to jump on my bandwagon or be very angry and offended with my perspective. Hopefully this leaves you feeling neither of those. I have no pulpit to pound, but we are usually a little abnormal in our choices, and this holiday is no exception.

For many people I have known, this is a very confusing topic. Especially as young moms there can be a conflict of wanting our kids to participate in the fun that comes along this time of year but also feeling in our spirits a little compromise of focus, a little dissension between what we are about and what surrounds us through the month of October. Then, for some there is no sense of conflict. No harm done, just a little fun. Some avoid the scary, some avoid the word Halloween, some avoid the costumes, some avoid the candy…avoid or embrace? But maybe the question is not to avoid or embrace. Jesus came so that we always have a third option, what about REDEEM?

I blogged on this subject a few years ago as my oldest became old enough to be aware of what was going on and we began to discuss our stance. It hasn’t really been complicated or difficult to decide for us because we took it through the same grid we take every other day and every other holiday. We try with all of our hearts to make every day in this house about Jesus. We are His. Our interactions, our work, our school, our play, our relationships, our choices, our belongings, our lives. A holiday is just a special day, not a day to take a break from our daily focus, but instead to rejoice in an even more concentrated celebration of what is important to us every day. With most holidays this is quite simple. Not always easy when everything screams at you to put your focus elsewhere, but simple. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. Santa, sleigh bells, getting presents, decorations, reindeer, and all the fun that goes with it has to come second to the focus. Easter is about His resurrection. Bunnies, candy, baskets, and eggs have to take a backseat. At Valentine’s we focus on the love of God and the love He gives us for each other, July 4th we talk about the freedom He has given us in this nation and that the most important freedom of all is in Christ Jesus. Like I said, simple. Then we arrive at Halloween. There is not the same “ready to use” focus on our Lord in this holiday. Ask any kid on the street what Halloween is about and you will hear candy, costumes, scary things, trick or treating, festivals…but good luck getting an answer that includes Jesus. I have seen many, many different ways of addressing this and always love to see God give creativity to a family within their lives for the best way for them to handle the “tricky” holiday.

As I prayed for creativity on this subject and the best way to redeem our focus, time, and opportunity for Him, He gave me an idea. The thing that caused me to want to turn away from the Halloween celebration was its focus on fear. Fear is not of God. All during the year, I choose with my children to look away from those things that cause fear and to set our minds instead on Christ. His blood and sacrifice is too precious to spend even a moment with our eyes on the very things He came to remove. Death, sin, evil, fear, darkness. “Perfect love casts out fear.” I John 4:18 But I don’t like to just remove things or run from them. God is not about removal but redemption, not fleeing but power over the obstacle. Then it hit me. I knew we would spend the whole month quoting our verses and choosing to think on what is pure and lovely (especially when our neighbors set out their full blown dead people crawling out of coffins scene in the front yard) so we would call our little celebration our “No Fear Party.” This will be our 5th and I can’t tell you what fun we’ve had with this celebration. The first year we had “no fear” because God is powerful and saves us. We dressed as animals on Noah’s ark and had Bible stories and snacks. Year two was “no fear” because God has super powers and we dressed as super heroes. Year three was “no fear” because God keeps us strong when we stick together and the kids were Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Last year we had “no fear” because we have the armor of God and we had a scavenger hunt where they found their pieces of armor to wear as they used the verses they had memorized to answer the clues. This year’s theme is that we have “no fear” because God is leading our journey. The kids are dressing as a safari guide and animals and John V came up with the whole idea and planned it out. This is so fitting for where our family is right now and the year we have ahead of us. It is amazing to watch God put just the right focus onto John V’s heart and then we can return there over and over in the months ahead.

So tonight my happy kids will dress up. The kids are given opportunity to witness as they share their excitement over what we have planned with their friends and strangers who ask them about Halloween. We will unveil our best pumpkins EVER for the porch (pictures to follow), hand out candy and talk to neighbors we rarely get to see any other time, and pray. We have spent days as a family praying that Christ will be seen in us tonight. That His love will be shown, that we can SHINE His glory on a dark night. We will play games, make cider, take pictures, eat goodies…oh, it’s a fun day! And they will talk about it until next year when we plan it all again. Another night to bask in the glory that is God’s power over all darkness, sin, death, evil, hate, sickness, and anything else the Enemy has in his arsenal…bring it on! No fear!

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9 thoughts on “To Halloween or Not to Halloween – Is That the Question?

  1. I love this idea Courtney! I have focused all month with my school kids about not being afraid, that God is always with us. Our bible story was about Daniel in the Lions Den. I love teaching them about Jesus and hearing it come back.

  2. A wise perspective as always. I own that I have been one of those moms who want my children to enjoy the fun that comes along with Halloween without the scary and dark side. However, my perspective changed TODAY when my server at our local Sonic approached me with a dark, ghoulish mask that startled even me. I glanced back to see if Jack had noticed and thankfully he was absorbed his Thomas dvd. All that to say that while while my children are young and somewhat oblivious to Halloween, time is ticking and there will come a time when they will become very aware. So going forward I think we will take the opportunity to prayerfully make this a no fear/family day. In the meantime, Jack is happy to play “dress up” as a firefighter and we will take our happy firefighter and his sister Lucy the lion to the fall festival sponsored by area churches. 🙂 PS. I think you should repost this post again next year, around Sept 1 to help us moms remember…

    • I’ll try to remember that! 🙂 Kids do LOVE the dressing up, don’t they? We should do it more often during the year since they get such enjoyment out of it. Mom got the grandkids pilgrim costumes last year at Thanksgiving and angel, Mary, and Joseph costumes at Christmas. They had so much fun with those!

  3. Yes you can let your light shine on this day as any other. However having a party on halloween and pretending like your not celebrating it is a copout. If you really believe what your saying then have a party on some other day and invite the neighborhood. Your logic is the same as the guy who frequents bars because hes there to witness! If you really want to redeem the night stop embracing this celebration. Don’t have a party, don’t put on costumes etc. Instead take your kids out in everyday clothes and witness to the people on the street.

    Roms 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

    • Well, my friend, I was trying to celebrate. I was celebrating Jesus and His power over fear with my kids and trying to do it specifically on that day when all the people around us have their eyes in one place. Beautiful opportunity. I want my kids to know Jesus as He is, a victorious Redeemer in EVERY situation. There is not a day dark enough to keep His light from shining.

  4. I LOVE this idea. It has taken us so long to figure out how to handle this holiday (holiday – what a misnomer!) And in our home fellowship we have a range of beliefs about the day including totally avoidance by some and others that celebrate the traditional way. We have also experienced the range of how to handle the day. Our earlier years with kids we totally ignored the day. Totally. We did things like turn out all the lights and pray, spend the night in a hotel, etc. Then we went the opposite direction and just participate as the general public. A few years ago, we too had the idea to bring redemption. We opened up our home to the neighborhood kids and had our own end of October party. We did that a few years in a row and loved that. We have not done that the last few years but have spent time with friends, dressed in costumes and just enjoyed being with our friends. I never had the thought of a “no fear” party but what an inspired idea! It makes perfect sense that this would be a way to redeem this day. Your children have such an advantage in life (as I hope and pray mine do) having parents who are always looking for what God desires to do in any situation. Blessings to your precious family. I can’t wait to see how the kingdom is impacted by their lives. Love, Jill Coan

  5. I have always loved your No Fear theme and love how the Lord has given that to you guys! We try to think about what Jesus would do if He was physically present in our communities that night. And knowing him like I do, He would be right in the middle of the neighborhoods hugging and loving on the kids. He would be a LIGHT to each of us, loving, encouraging, not judging a one of us for the way we handle the “holiday”. : ) We started 3 years ago with our yearly “Family Fun Night” and the kids look forward to it every year. We invited one of the neighbor girls over this year and when I told her she was welcome to leave anytime she wanted to (she’s 11) she said, “No WAY! I love this place!” We did silly string wars, a pinata, decorating pumpkin cookies and ended with reading the Pumpkin Patch Parable which relates pumpkins to people and how God takes out our yucky mess and fills us with HIS light. And the kids passed out candy when the door bell rang all night. I think GRACE is the key word in each of the holidays. Thank you, my friend, for the example you have been and continue to be to me in how to incorporate Jesus in EVERY aspect of life. Love you!!

  6. Pingback: No Fear – God is the Light in Our Darkness « "Write them on the doorframes…

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