My family doesn't celebrate Halloween. That's a little controversial within our own extended family. Even this week a man in line at Costco asked one of my boys what he is going to dress up as for Halloween.
People say it's just fun.
I have to disagree.
From well before our oldest son was born, my husband and I just chose to ignore Halloween. We didn't like the holiday but we couldn't quite explain our reasons why. When our oldest was born, we knew we needed to find a way to explain our position, but we continued to ignore Halloween for a couple more years. Through the preschool years, just telling him that Halloween was something our family didn't celebrate was sufficient for him.
A few of years ago, we finally got our act together. Our oldest son was seeing the world's Halloween traditions and deserved a Biblical and practical explanation.
Here's what it came down to for us:
- The roots of the holiday are purely pagan. There's not much, if anything, that we feel can be salvaged.
- Half the candy we would get from trick-or-treating would be thrown away because no one in our home would eat it. We also have food allergies that make accepting food with unknown ingredients difficult. I'd rather take my boys to the store to get a treat that they really like.
- We have a goal to be debt-free. Spending our money on costumes and candy for a holiday that we don't think lines up with our family beliefs doesn't fit with our financial goals either.
Allow me to expand upon #1 for just a moment…
The roots of Halloween are purely pagan.
Much has been written about this so I won't rehash the history here. I'd suggest that you read articles here and other places to research the roots for yourself. But the real question is: Can Halloween be redeemed?
Too much in me says, “No, Halloween cannot be redeemed.” I'd rather my sons be protected from goblins, witches, and ghouls at such an impressionable age. Instead, I'd rather focus their attention on truth from God in Scripture:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ”
Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Those are the things I want my boys to think about. I want my boys to be immersed in truth from Scripture so they are prepared when they encounter sin and evil in the world. Now is not the time to push them into that world. Now is the time for preparation. Our time is finite; we have a limited supply of it.
I'd rather spend this time of year celebrating God's provision of harvest, the anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation with Martin Luther's 95 theses, or All Saint's Day. So, rather than spending our time on Halloween, I'd rather focus on things that are edifying for my children.
I respect that there are other parents and families who hold a differing opinion. I recommend taking a look at Luke Gilkerson's take on redeeming Halloween. He also has a great guide for Christian parents wrestling with Halloween.
If you've come to the conclusion that Halloween is not for your family, Trisha Gilkerson has a great list of ways to celebrate Reformation Day as an alternative. You should also look at this book on Martin Luther from Danika at Thinking Kids as a starting point for Reformation Day studies.
Halloween will always be controversial. The Bible doesn't talk about Halloween by name and therefore doesn't give us a clear-cut answer on the subject. I simply want to equip you to deal with the topic and point you to resources to help you disciple your kids on either path.
Tell us… Where does your family stand? Do you celebrate Halloween? Do you celebrate an alternative? Why? How do you celebrate? How did you come to this conclusion?