Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Why This Pastor's Family Celebrates Halloween

 (Please note: No dragons were slain and no loot was plundered in the making of this opinion post!)

*This is a slightly updated re-post from 2010. How cute were these little kids?*

Many Christian families choose not to celebrate Halloween. Some avoid it like the plague. Some try to redeem it by celebrating the Harvest. Others fully embrace it. We choose to celebrate this particular holiday together as a family, much to the dismay of some. And here's why:  

In a nutshell, I guess it boils down to the fact that I don’t see a reason not to celebrate it. It’s a rip-roarin’ fun holiday! Most of the reasons that Christians typically have for not celebrating Halloween lie in the holiday’s roots.

Which, if you put a lot of stock in the roots, I can see how you could be convicted not to celebrate it. I’m not condemning those who choose not to. I just don’t share that conviction.

I don’t really care about its roots; I care about what it means for me and my family today. And what it means for me and my family today is getting a chance to dress up (which we do often anyway, you ought to see our dress up closet!) and show up on the door step of some of our favorite people who spoil the kids with special treats. They like getting to eat way more candy then they would get to on any other day of the year and I like getting a "mommy tax" from my kids' stash!

We don’t conjure up evil spirits. We don’t try to communicate with the dead. We don’t play awful tricks on people who don’t give us candy. I don’t think that getting dressed up and trick-or-treating is somehow inadvertently worshipping evil anymore than I think someone who gives a gift to someone else on December 25th (a tradition with its roots based in the Christmas Story found in the Bible) is inadvertently worshipping Christ.

I can guarantee you that my kids are clueless as to the fact that Halloween has its roots in pagan tradition. And, even if they knew, I’d like to argue that it doesn’t matter as long as that’s not why we’re celebrating it today.

I think I could probably argue that we shouldn’t celebrate any holiday if we were focused solely on the roots of our traditions, or if we examined everything that happened during celebrations and steered clear of any that included ‘worldly happenings’. The way that we as Americans today celebrate any particular holiday is based on a complicated blend of Christian and pagan traditions that have been picked up, twisted, changed, and rearranged over the course of time.

It’s like saying that we shouldn’t celebrate the fourth of July because a lot of people blow things up on that day. Or that we’re going to avoid Valentine’s Day because it glorifies lust and has its roots in Greek mythology. Or that we shouldn’t color our mashed potatoes green on St. Patrick’s Day because a lot of people color their beer green. I could go on and on, and these aren’t even our major holidays that are steeped in tradition!

I know it's not quite this simple, but I'm trying to not dissect every aspect of Halloween in one short post.

The truth is, on Halloween I’m not celebrating anything. I’m not worshipping anything. I’m not even trying to redeem the holiday by pretending that I’m celebrating the harvest (because seriously, when did the harvest include candy--like yummy kit-kats and snickers--wrapped in shiny wrappers?). Honestly, I’m just enjoying a fun day with my children. I’m not going to pretend it’s any more complicated than that, because in my mind it isn’t!

Again, for those of you for whom it goes deeper and is more complicated, I respect your decision to refrain from celebrating Halloween. This is by no means any attempt at making anyone feel bad for the way they do, or don’t celebrate on this, or any other holiday.

I’m simply saying, though it isn’t anything profound, this is why we do what we do here in our own little corner of the world. Keepin’ it real…

p.s. If you're curious what we do with Santa and why we don't celebrate Valentine's Day, you can click on the links in this paragraph.  

1 comment:

beachbirdie said...

I have always maintained that we were given imagination and creativity because we were made in the image of God. Those characteristics can be used for evil or for good. Most awesone favorite books on the subject? Edith Schaeffer's "Hidden Art of Homemaking" and "What Is a Family?".

Re-making Halloween into a time of fun and delight, leaving out all the occult garbage, is a wonderful way to Make Memories as a family! I love your philosophy on this stuff. :-D