Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why we don't celebrate Halloween.

On the post about carving pumpkins Eddie left this comment,
"Hey Stephanie,
I was saved in a church that didn't do halloween as well, boy were they adamantly against it(as well as any Bible other than the 1611 Authorized KJV, most any pop culture and drums). I'm curious, if you'd be willing to share, why do y'all take that stance? And if not, that is perfectly fine as well."
Well, Eddie, you ask a reasonable question and, since I opened the can of worms by writing the post, I don't mind answering you. Just remember you asked my opinion.

For Joel and I, Halloween is a matter of where do you draw the line? You know, that invisible line of being "in the world but not of the world."

As we talked through the issue of Halloween (before we had kids!) we concluded that the holiday celebrates fear and death. That isn't something we want to be a part of. We couldn't think of any positive aspects of this holiday that would enrich or grow the characters of our children.

But we could think of negatives. Starting with costumes. Right now our children are in the cute and cuddly stage but eventually they might want to go a little "darker" and scarier. "How are those kind of costumes honoring to Jesus," is the question we asked ourselves. Our conclusion was that they aren't. Once we started down the trick or treat/costume path it would be hard to keep boundaries on it.

So we decided to never start down the path. We also decided not to hand out candy. I know some people give candy and tracts. That's not really our preference for evangelism.

Are my children missing out? We always seem to have candy in the house so I don't feel the need to go get any from the neighbors. And my kids are constantly dressing up in costumes (archers, pirates, superheroes) so I don't think not dressing up one night is going to scar them for life.

However, it will make them different. And that feels awkward and uncomfortable. But as Christians, when do we let that stop us from doing what we believe is right and honoring to God?

I guess my answer in a nutshell is that Halloween is not God honoring or building up in it's message or celebration. I am not dogmatic about this nor do I think it is doctrine. If you celebrate Halloween you aren't a bad person or going to hell.

I would suggest that each of my readers take a look at why you celebrate Halloween and what it is teaching your children. Pray about it and see what God wants you to do next year. I hope I haven't offended or upset anyone. If you disagree with me, can we still be friends? = )

***PS. Eddie, since we attended church together you know we don't have a problem with drums and I'm pretty sure we used the NIV during our Bible study. We do take issue with much of pop culture. The key is to be discerning and measure everything by the standard of the Bible. I'm finding the less I am exposed to pop culture the more harm I see in it when I am exposed to it. "Not everything is profitable."


Amy said...

Well written...thanks for your willingness to share your thoughts!

wherever HE leads we'll go said...

Very well said.

We don't "do" halloween either. We have never passed out candy. We have no plan to allow Emily to participate in this day either.

So you aren't the only weird ones! : )

Eddie said...

Hey Stephanie,
Thanks so much for replying, it was a great read and I appreciate the fact that you backed up your reasoning. What's really interesting is how my old church's perspective compares with your own. In their view it was wrong because of how it all started(how they said it started)with Pagans, and then where Roman Catholics took it from there. After I left that church I've been on the fence regarding the "holiday". You've definitely sparked discussion between Maria and I regarding the possibility of facing these questions one day with our own children.
And as for pop culture, I agree that much of it is not good for us to consume, but I thought they took it too far. Most all cartoons and movies(obviously there are plenty that are objectionable, but I hardly believe Bob the Builder is destroying the Christian youth) were off limits, legalistic I thought. Anyways, thank you again! We miss y'all!

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Eddie, glad I could spark conversation for you. = ) I am very familiar with your old church's thinking on Halloween (I'm betting Santa Claus was also evil) because I grew up with similar teaching.

God has and continues to teach me much about the difference between legalism and grace. Legalism is so easy to fall into if you have a "live by the rules" personality. I can follow the rules or laws pretty easily. But God isn't interested in the laws as much as he is the love. And love or grace is much harder because it's not black and white.

It's the difference in being motivated to act because we don't want to be punished or because we love God (or our parents) and want to please them. I (mostly) drive the speed limit down I95 because I don't want to be punished (get a ticket). By contrast, I don't drink alcohol because it may bring dishonor to God (by my actions or just by someone seeing me) and I don't want that to happen.

Thanks for bringing up an interesting topic.

PS. We don't have presents from Santa either. = ) Though we do have stockings but the kids know they are from us. AND have been told NOT to tell other children there is no Santa. = )

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I'm glad you shared your feelings on it.

I grew up in a home that didn't celebrate Halloween. My parents were very dogmatic about how evil every aspect of the holiday was.

My husband grew up trick-or-treating, dressing up, and the whole shebang.

We decided together that we would let our kids dress up and trick-or-treat. I don't love Halloween and every year I try to talk my kids into staying home. I'm usually not too persuasive.

We don't do scary costumes, we don't do much decorating (other than scarecrows/pumpkins) and we don't make too big a deal out of it.

I guess I have a pretty casual attitude about it because my parents were so legalistic about it.

I respect your decision, and I have many friends who've chosen the same path you have for the same reasons. It challenges me to look at it a little more in depth for my family. Again, glad you shared.

Singing Mommy said...

Thanks for sharing those thoughts. I honestly hadn't given the darker side of the occasion any pause since my kids are still young enough for me to dress up in cute little costumes and parade door to door to show them off....Will definitely give it some thought for next year. Thanks!

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