Family Life

How Our Family Handles Halloween

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Disclaimer:  I understand that families have many different ideas when it comes to Halloween.  In this post I hope to offer a peek into the way our family views this celebration.

October has arrived, and along with it falling leaves, cooler temperatures, and …Halloween.  For years our family treated this day as most others do.  Our children donned costumes and we walked the neighborhood streets trick or treating.  As Christians, I never allowed any demonic or ghostly costumes (although my oldest son did dress up as a werewolf one year).  Last year I looked into the origins and practices of Halloween and my way of thinking changed.

Halloween is associated with Samhain, which is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. It is celebrated from sunset October 31st – sunset November 1st.  This is celebrated as a religious festival by Wiccans.  Christians in the 9th century decided to redeem this festival, and called October 31st All Hallows Day (Halloween, or All Saints day).  They dedicated this day to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers. (credit)  Reformers denounced this “holiday.”  Puritans strongly opposed Halloween, and it was brought to the United States during Scottish and Irish immigration in the 1800s.

(On a side note, did you know that the Puritans despised the celebration of Christmas as well?  Christians sought to replace the winter solstice celebration, which honored the sun god, with an extra-biblical celebration (Christmas).  In fact, in the mid-1600s Christmas celebrations were illegal in Massachusetts.)

History aside, why did my thinking as a whole concerning Halloween change?  Last year I discovered that Satanists sometimes have “breeders” in their covens for the purpose of infant sacrifice on Halloween.  One such article can be found here, and there are many others to be read as well.  I decided then and there that we would not celebrate Halloween.

Instead we enjoy fall activities.  Autumn is a beautiful season that the Lord created, and these are a few things that we do with our children:

  • We visit a pumpkin patch, and let each child pick out their own pumpkin for our outdoor fall display with hay bales and scarecrows.
  • We get lost a corn maze.
  • We take a hay ride.
  • We paint pumpkins.
  • We bake fall cookies.

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 Some of our kiddos at the pumpkin patch and on a hay ride.

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At first glance, you might think, “Why is your son wearing a skeleton shirt?”  We have a life-size, inflatable skeleton with labeled bones in our school room, and my three-year-old loves it.  He wears skeleton pajamas year round.  He was beyond thrilled when we found this shirt for him.  He’s going to be a scientist one day, I tell ya!

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This is my youngest daughter.  Don’t blink mommas, they grow so fast!

This year we are considering:

  • Taking our children to a autumn festival that does not fall near Halloween in costume.  We did not do costumes last year in any way, shape, or form, and the younger children really missed it.
  • Carving pumpkins.  I would use it as an analogy of how God takes away the yucky stuff inside of us, and replaces it with a light to shine for Him.

Edited To Add…

We decided to take our children to the zoo for a costume day a few weeks ago.  This isn’t really near Halloween, so it shouldn’t be a problem, right?  Wrong.  There were costumes everywhere that were dark in nature, as well as some revealing ones.  We won’t be doing this again.  I’m going to try my best to purchase costumes for dress up throughout the year, and our local science museum hosts a “Night at the Museum” for kids one evening during the summer.  This will be our plan next year!  We ended up not carving pumpkins either.

On Halloween, we will be staying in, and maybe have a movie night.  Basically, we will be treating it the same as any other day.  We moved out of a neighborhood about six months ago, and therefore do not expect trick or treaters to stop by.  If you do live in a neighborhood, may I suggest that you hand out tracts to trick or treaters?  Most Christian bookstores carry tracts and candy for this exact purpose.  How often do you have people coming your door in this manner?  It is the perfect evangelism opportunity!

How do you treat Halloween?  How do you feel about Christians “redeeming” pagan holidays and “Christianizing” them?  Is there a difference between Christians celebrating Halloween (remembering martyrs and saints) in place of the pagan Samhain, and Christians celebrating Christmas in place of the pagan winter solstice celebration?  Honestly, I’m not quite sure how I feel about this topic.  This is a quote from Spurgeon:

“When it can be proved that the observance of Christmas, Whitsuntide, and other Popish festivals was ever instituted by a divine statute, we also will attend to them, but not till then. It is as much our duty to reject the traditions of men, as to observe the ordinances of the Lord. We ask concerning every rite and rubric, “Is this a law of the God of Jacob?” and if it be not clearly so, it is of no authority with us, who walk in Christian liberty.”
-Charles Spurgeon’s Treasury of David on Psalm 81:4.

Learn not the way of the heathen…

Jeremiah 10:2

 

 

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21 thoughts on “How Our Family Handles Halloween

  1. We don’t celebrate it either. And each year when my kids go to the doctor for flu shots, they always ask them what they’re dressing up as. And each year with have to deal with the look of shock on their faces when we tell them, we don’t celebrate it. sigh. Thankfully, we only celebrated it once when my first was only 1 year old. {he’s almost 13 now!} so there wasn’t much of a transition for my kids. I think it was harder on me. lol! We celebrate by having an “Escape From Halloween” getaway. Each year we visit dear friends of ours in PA for some wonderful fellowship. 🙂 My kids know that even dressing up in innocent costumes is still participating in something we feel doesn’t bring glory to God, so we just abstain all together. 🙂

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  2. Great article. I can tell you did a lot of research. I find the histories of Easter and observing Sunday as Sabbath interesting as well. I appreciate your blog so much!

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  3. I love your ideas of celebrating “fall” rather than halloween, however I have to correct your statement of this;

    “Last year I discovered that wiccans sometimes have “breeders” in their covens for the purpose of infant sacrifice on Halloween”

    no Wiccan would ever sacrifice a human or animal. Ever. There are certainly some sick individuals who would harm others but i have yet to meet a wiccan who wouldn’t be overcome with revulsion at the thought of killing a child. (the article you linked mentioned that the person involved in this was a satanist, I understand as a christian satanism/wicca seem much the same, however they aren’t.)

    Halloween (or Samhain as Wiccans usually refer to it) is about honouring the dead, acknowledging the loss of the sun god who will be born again on the winter solstice, and spending time in reflection and self-improvement.

    I point this out not as an attempt to discourage you or change your mind, just sharing the knowledge and hopefully some understanding. Love your site!

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      1. thanks Nicole, and I am glad you were not offended by my comment 🙂 I love hearing about how others handle halloween 🙂

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  4. Our family doesn’t celebrate Halloween either. We used to trick or treat before we came to The Lord. Now we go to a Hallelujiah Party at our church that night. The kids can wear costumes (nothing evil or scary) and there are games to play which they earn prizes for. Then they take a trip down the Hallelujiah highway where they say “Hallelujiah” and are greeted back with “Jesus loves you” and get a treat. I’m thankful for this opportunity to take my children to something fun and where Christ is the center of our evening. It is a great evangelizing night for families in the area to hear the message of salvation while having fun with their family.

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  5. We have never celebrated it. My kids like to dress up all year long, and I buy discounted candy the day after (we love candy:) We always had an abundance of dress-up clothes when the girls were little, and we find different reasons to dress up in historical costumes from time to time (like parades), so no one feels like they have missed out. Our subdivision is a zoo, people come from miles around and drive their children from house to house. This has turned me off even more than the pagan associations. It seems like it has become more about what you can get without contributing (it is probably worse in larger subdivisions.) Several nicer neighborhoods have had to hire off duty cops to keep people from being run over in our county. I think the participation in our neighborhood (among homeowners) has decreased because of the economy and because people got tired of so many people from surrounding areas descending on our neighborhood to “get the good candy.” So…we will watch a movie again this year and have a good time hanging out together. Then we will eat half price peanut butter cups for a few weeks afterwards:)

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  6. We do not celebrate Halloween, either. Many years ago we started a tradition of going out to eat Chinese food and getting ice cream instead. Since we do not eat out much it is a treat for our kids and keeps us from feeling like we are hiding out in a dark house.

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  7. We have “Trunk or Treat” in our city that is sponsored by local churches & the city (police department included). There is face painting, bounce houses, snack shack, games & a prayer booth. We decided that we’d use the open candy bags as an opportunity to share Jesus. We hand out information about our churches (as well as candy). We’ve seen over 2,000 people at this annual event (this will be our 4th yr) & we pray every year that they will see God’s love being spread around in our community.
    p.s. I love reading your blog! Very thought provoking. Thanks!

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  8. we don’t go trick or treating. our kids have worn costumes before but never on the actual holiday. We try to avoid anything that is obviously occult but it can be hard to know. Even the jack o lantern used to be a pagan symbol, thought to ward off evil spirits. So when we carve pumpkins, we try not to make them sinister looking. I might do the Pumpkin Parable for my Sunday School class, about how Jesus cleans out the bad stuff inside us, puts a smile on our face, and His light inside!

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  9. Our thought on the Halloween vs Christmas is that Halloween is a pagan holiday and Christmas (not Winter Solstice) actually does have a relation to Christ – the birth of Christ (and since we don’t truly know when He was born this is as good a time as any to celebrate). Celebrating Halloween with a Christian twist is still celebrating Halloween, in our opinion, since there is no relation to Christ. Last year was our first year of not celebrating. We don’t dress up and we don’t carve pumpkins until after Halloween and then it is not faces but harvest images like leaves, patterns and Thankfulness/Thankful. For Christmas we celebrate CHRIST not santa, elves and major shopping, mall-santa’s, etc. We give one gift per person and avoid the whole “American Christmas” madness. We have a very small budget for our family members (since they do celebrate Santa, etc though we’d rather not do gifts with the whole family). Our whole Christ-mas season is built around Christ, not gifts and santa and we certainly don’t focus on any pagan ideas of Christmas (unless we aren’t familiar with it being a pagan thing). Like you stated about carving pumpkins – pulling out the bad stuff and letting the light shine – the same goes for some Christmas traditions as well – lights on the house reflect the light of Christ, a tree we decorate with nativities and angels and avoid santas and reindeers – a tree is a great way to display the beauty of Christ and the Nativity story as well as God’s creation. And we absolutely LOVE the Nativity Story that you can often get at the Christian bookstore for $5. We do watch Santa movies (classics) because often they have a moral to the story and our children know that a cartoon santa is the same as sponge-bob – not real and for fun but we don’t allow visiting santa to tell him what you want, etc. This got quite long. So sorry! Blessings to you and thank you for a great blog!

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  10. We don’t celebrate Halloween anymore either. For several years now, we have been going out to dinner as a family. Then we spend time out shopping for our Operation Christmas Child boxes. It is a fun way for us to be out together doing something productive, working together to give to others, and not be home when the trick-or-treaters would be coming by our house. We usually top the evening off going out to ice cream to celebrate the fun family night…and all the goodies we got for the children around the world who will receive those gifts!

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  11. I was always pleased that Halloween was a bit if a non-issue in Australia, seen as an American tradition and not really celebrated much here. But each year I see it changing. It’s quite ridiculous because it is spring here and pumpkins are out of season – but I guess there’s not many chicks around at Easter or snowmen at Christmas either! (I always feel sorry for the shopping centre Santas sweltering in their thick red suits!) Anyway, my kids are becoming aware of it more and more – today Miss 2 put a black pointy headband hat on at a craft shop and said “wit” – hmmm. I told her we don’t dress up as witches because they’re not good, and she could try on a princess crown or some animal ears for dress ups instead! I’m still holding to the “it’s unAustralian” line but I’m going to have to start explaining it, especially since the shops and tv seem to be promoting it more and more…

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  12. I really haven’t considered it much until lately. I know that many Christians who “celebrate” Halloween like you are doing. Still taking part in the traditional things of Halloween all except trick-or-treating. It kind of reminds me of high school—think of me as before being a truly committed Christian—about how far you could take it with a boy before “doing it” and losing your virginity.
    Here are some some questions I have on Halloween. If you teach your children the history–people used to dress up and have bonfires and jack-o-lanterns to scare away evil spirits and as they get older teach them what is happening today among select groups–and how unnecessary it was because of the Holy Spirit and that there are still many lost souls out there….is it really that bad? If you use trick-or-treating as a celebration of the beginning of fall is it really that bad? If you participate in some–aka carving pumpkins, apple bobbing, caramel apples- but not all the things of Halloween (aka trick-or-treating), are you being just like a girl in high school that would do “everything” with a boy but “it” (aka trick-or-treating)?
    Shouldn’t it be an all or none thing? If you are fooling around with a boy all but having sex, you have already engaged in sexual behavior and ruined a great deal of your innocence. You just haven’t done the physical act. Wouldn’t the same be of Halloween. If you are doing all but trick-or-treating, aren’t you celebrating Halloween on a certain level?
    I am not being critical of what you do. I am just trying to sound off some questions and maybe get some answers for my family to raise my girls in the best way possible. You have found your conviction, I am searching mine out. Where should one draw the line to stand out and be a light??? Is it an all or none deal or can we play around with some and still be just as effective?

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    1. Of course we shouldn’t play around with evil. The question is, what is evil and what isn’t? I went cold turkey last year… No costumes, etc. This year my younger ones might wear a costume to a fall festival type event. Costumes themselves are not evil, and neither are hayrides, pumpkin picking, etc. Prayers to you as you decide what is best for your family. 🙂

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  13. We don’t do Halloween. We do pass out tracts however! If I may I’ll share a website for some really great tracts at chick.com. They’re cartoony so. They DO get read! However, I would stay away from the more provocative ones, but ones like Boo! are really nice.

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  14. Hi as an Australian, it’s interesting to observe the Halloween talk each year amongst the American Christian bloggers. The pros and cons are often argued back and forth. For me, having never been raised practising it, since over here it is not a tradition, I would not touch it with a barge pole! So I’m really glad to hear that some people are changing their practices. Let me encourage you to see it as an opportunity to educate the public on the pagan roots of the tradition, to be salt and light even when no one else is. What a wonderful opportunity you can have telling people the gospel and how it has freed you from such practices when they ask you incredulously why you don’t celebrate.
    Cheers, Sharon
    http://heleadsmesharon.blogspot.com.au/

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  15. Hi there! 🙂 After I read your recent movie review, I was curious how you handled Halloween so I am glad I found this! I agree completely with your conclusion… And if we refrain from the “dark in nature” costumes, then I must say that watching Malificient is also out of the picture. It would be like partaking in Halloween… Something to think about… I really enjoy the articles on your blog and find we share many similar beliefs…

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    1. P.S. We don’t replace Halloween with anything either. We don’t feel we have to apologize to our children for not celebrating something that God hasn’t ordained and is clearly dark. But we do glorify and rejoice in the Holy Days He has given us 🙂

      Okay, I better get to my homeschooling! Apparently this topic is more close to my heart than I realized!!

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  16. Yep, we don’t celebrate Halloween either. I am going to cook a good homemade dinner, we’ll have a movie night and buy the kiddos some candy or bake a treat here. We don’t do much sweets at all here, so it’ll be really special to the kiddos to have a treat at home.

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