Thursday, October 30, 2008

Can We Talk About...Halloween?

Tomorrow is Halloween. I have fond memories of trick-or-treating with my friends: gathering the candy in pillow cases, spreading the loot over the floor, trading bazooka gum for snickers and eating every piece while my older sister horded hers only to pull it out at Easter and slowly masticate each piece in front of my jealous eyes. I remember dressing up as a leprachaun, a nurse, and a book (Little Women, made out of a refrigerator box). When we lived in Canada the kids were old enough to do the trick-or-treating and we'd spend the evening with our neighbors: fun Fall meal, walking the neighborhood, meeting or re-meeting neighbors (A once-a-year ritual), coming back into the warm living room with the fire and hot cider while the kids inventoried their treasure. Ian was Tin Tin, Emma was Cinderella and Aidan was a M&M.

The families we hang with now don't "do" Halloween. We haven't gone trick-or-treating and I haven't made costumes for the kids. I miss it. This year, however, our church is hosting a "Trunk-or-Treat", where our parking lot will have cars filled with candy, we'll be roasting hot dogs, serving hot chocolate and passing out Bibles. And we'll be dressing up! Dave and I will be the King and Queen of Hearts. Liam (the only child voluntarily dressing up) will be Spider Man. Our family friends, however, will not be participating. For spiritual reasons they avoid all things Halloween. It's a bit awkward. I don't think ill of them and I trust they feel the same for me.

What has been your Halloween discussion? Is it an issue?


Paul Merrill said...

We love halloween. We just don't do stuff like put gravestones in our yard.

This year, "our" Vietnamese adopted family are joining us with their 3 kids for trick-or-treating and pizza.

Suzanne said...

Good memories of our Halloween with you in Vancouver and dinner with your friends...cute kids' costumes etc. Sounds like fun this evening. Wish we could join you! Does David like dressing up any better now than he use to?

Heather said...

I have great memories of Halloween as a kid too. We started out trick or treating with our kids...and every year I just felt weirder and weirder about it. Halloween isn't what it used to be when we were kids. I don't feel the innocense is their anymore. Now my kids can't walk down the street without seeing something scary on someones house or someone wearing an awful costume! So we don't do it anymore. They still get to dress up and we go to church events like yours and have a great time! I think it is good to be a light in the world on a night of darkness. Halloween can be a hot button issue in churches...don't let it be in your friendships. God convicts ALL of us on different things and all we can do is follow His guidance without judgement of others...hopefully your friends feel the same!

Rev Kim said...

I have fond memories of Halloween. We lived in a rather traditional neighborhood. Everyone knew most everyone else. We went trick-or-treating in big groups. One lady set-up a card table and served punch to all of the thirsty trick-or-treaters - and we were allowed to have some because we all knew her. There were plenty of parents on the streets, too, and they felt free to discipline and correct if any of the kids got out of hand. And we knew to listen to them as if they were our parents! I dressed up as Laura Ingalls Wilder one year.

Now, we don't get too many kids because there is so much going on in town. Same with my where my parents live. They are in a typical suburban neighborhood, but the kids all go elsewhere. Though I remember one year some of the teens were kicking peoples pumpkins. I will never forget the sight of our next-door neighbor in the middle of the street giving them the "what-for" for stealing her pumpkin and another Halloween decoration.

Dave Moody said...

"Does David like dressing up any better now than he use to?"


Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

We eschew terror and fright, but love to dress up. We try to make costumes that do our whole family. (This year, it's the Wizard of Oz...not a lot of families big enough to have the kids as the major players and STILL have leftovers!)

There's always Reformation Day and All Saints, where you can teach history and the faith.

Courtney Orrange said...

Our kids are dressed up most days, so on Halloween it just means they get candy and aren't the only ones with costumes on in the bookstore!

I loved Halloween as a kid (even well into my college years) and NEVER go distracted by the evil-ness of it. Even when I was 20. It was just dressing up and getting candy. I hope to make it the same for my kids.

Suzanne said...

So will you get on IChat and give us a preview?

I hope it was nothing your parents did to you as a child that caused you to dislike Hallowen. Your dad mentioned earlier today he never did like having to take you out trick or maybe that's from his background -)!

I Was Just Thinking.... said...

We had a great time last night - about 100 kids came by the church, with parents. Shared hot dogs, cocoa, apple juice, lots and lots of candy and bibles. Not many church folks joined us.
Liam was spider man, I was queen of hearts and dave obliged me to be my king.
I think the church will host the trunk-or-treat next year and hopefully more folks will be involved.
Our friends didn't join us but hosted their annual bonfire. I was a bit sad about that but that's there choice.
I don't like the scary stuff about costumes either - it terrifies the wee ones.
I remember the tainted candy scares, razor blades in apples and the zodiac killer stories when I was a kid so maybe times aren't really so different.

Suzanne said...

A great way to be a positive witness in your community!

Anonymous said...

My Christian Taiwanese neighbor asked me about Halloween. She was really confused why Christians participated in something that appeared so non-Christian...pagan. Although I didn't grow up in the States (but in Africa where we had plenty of evil stuff that was real evil magic) so don't have lots of childhood memories American Halloween, it's obvious to me that you put candy and costumes (dressing up to see what it's like to be someone else for the evening) and you have something that has universal appeal. When you see a parade of kids in their costumes all waiting for candy, who DOESN'T want to be a kid?
So I asked my Taiwanese friend what Christians in Taiwan do at non-Christian holidays. She said there basically no traditional "Christian" holidays (unlike Americans who are privileged to find religious meaning in ALL our holidays EXCEPT Halloween, which we seem to be somewhat confused about...and Christians have many opinions)
"So what do you do in Taiwan during pagan holidays?" I asked.
"We eat the food because that's from God and no food is forbidden to Christians, but we don't participate in the religious practices."
And so do we...
We eat the candy and dress up, but do not practice knowingly in any religious ceremony that worships idols.
I think God redeems us within our cultures, but He doesn't take us out of culture, because our presence in culture transforms it through the Holy Spirit in us.
Iris Antonucci