As a child, my family didn't celebrate Halloween in my house. Well, mostly we didn't. I was told we went trick or treating once when I was two. We even have a photo to prove it.
Growing up in a Christian household meant we had to come up with alternative ways to celebrate this "holiday". At school we had a literary parade where we dressed up as our favorite character in a book. At church we held a harvest festival; a fall themed event where children could participate in various games and activities. There weren't any costumes but we still got candy at the end. When my brother and I got too old for the harvest festival, we would hole up in the house with the lights off to discourage people from knocking on our door. I guess all of this made sense at the time, but what were we hiding from?
Over the past few weeks, I have done a lot of reflecting and discussion about Halloween and just Christianity in general. What I have found is that some of us Christians are definitely hiding out. We are hoarding together and keeping the Gospel to ourselves instead of going out into to the world to share with unbelievers. Let me explain.
My son is two. As all moms do, I consult moms of older children for advice when I'm trying to make a decision. I found myself wanting to dress my baby up this year even though I haven't celebrated Halloween in decades. This comes from spending too much time on Pintrest I suppose. So I sought the advice of another Christian mom I will call Daphne. Daphne has two preteen children. When they were young, she and her husband decided against trick or treating. So for the past several years, they've holed up in the house as most Christians do on Halloween. But last year, a friend of Daphne's son came over to share some of his trick or treating spoils. As they sorted through the goodies, they realized that one of their neighbors was handing out candy with inspirational messages on them. The message could have been as simple as "God Loves You". But perhaps some of those children didn't know God loved them when they woke up that morning. This was a pivotal moment for Daphne. She realized that by hiding away, on Halloween, we as Christians are missing out on an opportunity to witness. Why would we do this when the whole point of Salvation is to share the Gospel with unbelievers? How will we accomplish this by hiding out in a dark house?
There are thousands of Pintrest posts for no sew, DIY Halloween costumes and easy Halloween treats that aren't candy. Why aren't Christians being just as creative so they can get in on this opportunity? "Hallows Eve" did start out as a Christian holiday after all. Let us all take a lesson from my two year old. He sings, "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine." Don't hide your light under a bushel, go out into the world and let it shine!
I have to admit, last year the thought crossed my mind to go to the Harvest Festival. However, I think we ended up staying home watching Netflix. Typical. This year, my son will be donning a crafty, homemade Clark Kent costume. Mommy will be a nurse. Truth be told, I happen to have some scrubs and crocs in the house so it is what it is. Daddy is just coming along for the ride. We are linking up with two other families whose children also chose superhero costumes. So no ghosts and goblins over here. If and when my son asks what all of this means I will tell him the truth; the REAL origin of Halloween, how it came to be what it is today and how we as Christians can celebrate without hiding away. This year we are spending time together as a family, fellowshipping with other believers and being an example of how you can celebrate Halloween without demonizing it. It's not too late for all Christians to give it a try this year. Go out on Halloween and let your light shine!