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