Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat?

There is a pretty drastic divide among my brothers and sisters in Christ over the topic of Halloween. Some see it as a benign celebration of candy and dress up, a nice treat. Others see it as a sinister day of occult rituals and Satanism, a demonic trick on unsuspecting innocents. Some fall in between.

We never celebrated the Día de los Muertos when I was small. After coming to the US, the first year we did do Halloween. I dressed up as Big Bird. My parents divorced, and my mom thought that dressing up was OK as long as we didn't do anything scary or evil. I was Strawberry Shortcake the next year.

When my parents got back together, my dad got a lot of material from Gothard and others talking about the dark side of Halloween (and just about everything else). It went into detail about pagan celebrations, child sacrifices and all sorts of grisly things. The same sources found evil aspects of just about any aspect of popular culture, including Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Ponies, any music that was not written expressly as worship music (or written in a minor key, or after the 1800's, or not classical march time, or...). Don't even get me started about the night we burned our Cabbage Patch dolls. Even "Hallelujah parties" or church "Fall festival" celebrations were viewed with suspicion, as being imitators of the world and watered-down Halloween.

I appreciate the desire for holiness and the willingness to obey God in small things. I agree that as Christians we should abhor evil. I also believe that God may convict my fellow Christians on an individual basis about participating in this and many other things. My intent is truly not to mock them.

However, as Carlos and I have talked and prayed about this for our family, we have not felt impressed with the same beliefs on this as I had growing up. So this year, for the very first time, our kidlets are dressing up and trick or treating. We did Hallowmarine at the aquarium last night with their cousin and had a great time! Ariana dressed as a bobbysoxer, Joel as Captain America, Elena as Spidergirl and our little primo as the Great Pumpkin. :) I thought all the costumes were very cute and appropriate to their personalities. Tonight they are going to dress up again (different costumes) and visit some of the neighborhood houses.

This isn't a new issue, of course. The early church dealt extensively with candy that had been offered to idols (er, something like that). I Corinthians has several relevant passages. So does Colossians 2. I would encourage any believers to read them on their own. What I have understood from them is that the only objection, as long as my motives are right, is in possibly causing my brothers to stumble. I truly am not aware of any way that our actions regarding Halloween will cause others to fall. So I am OK with them.

I've heard several objections:
origins of Halloween/paganism--Honestly, nearly every component of any celebration has at times been used in pagan worship. The church has also used nearly all of these things to worship God. Our hearts are to honor God, and I believe that He is pleased that our family is having fun together in this.

Scary stuff--Our kids haven't expressed a desire to dress up as anything particularly scary, but I actually see some cool symbolism in the way that we can face and overcome fear. This is such an individual thing (Ariana is terrified by things that surprise me at times, yet loves our neighbor's lighted Ghost Rider display).

Sugar overload--Kind of agree with this one. We might do the Candy Fairy (like the Tooth Fairy, only she takes away candy and leaves something like a coloring book or stickers). Last night they were fine with me telling them that I would put it away and they could only have a couple of pieces each day. They have had food restrictions from allergies for so long that they totally get the concept of food making them feel icky.

There are probably many other objections (feel free to leave comments). But for us, this isn't "the Devil's day". This day, and all others, belong to our Father. This is the day that the Lord has made, and we will rejoice and be glad. And eat chocolate.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Love this post! This is our first year Trick-or-treating too. : )