Halloween-Post-Pin

Why we changed our mind about celebrating Halloween

Halloween-Post-Pin

Caroline is seven years old and this will be the first time we’ve celebrated Halloween with her. I thought about not saying anything about it here, but decided that it was important to me to articulate why we changed our minds in case anyone else might find it helpful. I know many Christians struggle with this holiday as we have.

There are four reasons we changed our mind.

1. Not celebrating Halloween made me hate October

It really did. I just dreaded the entire month. I dreaded dealing with the questions from others. I dreaded all the displays and trying to avoid them from Labor Day on. I dreaded trying to explain it to Caroline. Not celebrating Halloween took one of the most glorious months of the year and made me hate it and dread it.

It should not be so. October is a gift from God, especially where we live with the glorious colors. To allow two hours of one day to ruin an entire month for me was not worth it. Now when someone asks us about how we’re celebrating Halloween, we just happily give an answer. No more feeling awkward or like we’re coming across holier than thou. That was never my intention when we didn’t celebrate, but I always felt like it came across that way. I felt like it was a bridge burner rather than a bridge builder.

2. Not celebrating Halloween would be more damaging than celebrating it

Ever since last Halloween David and I have struggled with what to do. Most years we were able to just ignore Halloween. We did our own thing and it worked out fine. Last year Caroline was fully aware of what was going on and she was miserable. She saw all the kids outside trick or treating, dressed up in their costumes, and it was very upsetting to her.

Caroline doesn’t see Halloween as evil. She sees it as a fun time to dress up which is something she loves to do. She’s an off-the-chart creative, imaginative child. From the creativity standpoint, Halloween is probably more her kind of holiday than any other, to be perfectly honest.

This past summer I had a long conversation with an experienced mom who has creative children like my Caroline. She hadn’t celebrated Halloween with her children when they were growing up, but all of her children now do celebrate with their own. She said if she had it to do over again, she probably would celebrate.

I told this mom that I was coming to the conclusion that to not allow Caroline to celebrate Halloween would probably be more damaging to our relationship with her than any potential downside of celebrating. I see celebrating Halloween as putting money in our relational bank. She sees that we were willing to consider changing our mind about something and I think that carries a lot of weight with her.

In this case, we decided to opt for grace, believing in the long run it is better for our family to allow her to celebrate.

3. It’s not a hill I’m going to die on

Whenever I struggle with issues of Christian conscience, I ask myself if it is a hill I’m willing to die on. If you’ve read my blog any length of time, you’ve probably seen me state this before. There are very few parenting hills I’m willing to die on. There are very few theological hills I’m willing to die on. I save the hill dying for really big things (of which there have been some already). Halloween is not one of them.

4. We try not to base our theology on fear

Maybe this should have been the first point, but here it is. David and I try not to base our theology on fear. This is something we have not always done well in our life together. We have made choices out of fear in the past and have learned that is not the way to follow Christ. We’ve had people tell us that they choose to do something because they don’t want to get to heaven and find out they were supposed to do it and didn’t. In my humble opinion, that is fear. If I make a mistake, the blood of Jesus covers it. If we don’t have a clear sense from God that we shouldn’t do something, then we move forward in the freedom to do it. And if we get to heaven and find out it would have been better to not celebrate… God’s grace covers that. Nothing we can do will ever change our standing before our Heavenly Father because our standing is based on Christ’s righteousness, not our own. (See also this excellent article about the origins of Halloween. It’s rather eye-opening.)

So we go forward

We did lay down some parameters for Caroline when we told her this summer she could celebrate. Nothing evil and nothing scary. We won’t glorify evil and that IS a hill I’m willing to die on. She’s going as the princess from Tangled which is fine with me. I’m not a crafty mom so we just bought a costume from Meijer.

After we made the decision, I waited to see if I would have a check in my spirit that we had made the wrong decision. None came and so David and I move forward, glad to have this issue behind us. I don’t regret that we waited until now to let Caroline celebrate. I think before this she would have absolutely freaked out over much of the scary stuff she’ll see when she goes trick or treating. I think she’ll handle it well now.

So now we wait to see if the thunderstorms hold off so we can actually go!

 

Email this to someonePrint this pageBuffer this pageShare on Facebook4Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on LinkedIn0Share on Reddit0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Google+0

14 thoughts on “Why we changed our mind about celebrating Halloween

  1. judy

    I love to read things like this. In the past I always sensed I was thought of as wishy-washy and didn’t quite know how to deal with that. But sometimes, things DO change in a family and what worked before no longer does.
    Have fun with your daughter and ENJOY!

  2. three feathers

    i like/support your decision and agree with your reasoning…..didn’t the apostle paul (or so he’s labeled) say something about how some things are wrong for some folks and not for others? if you believe halloween is “evil,” then it’s wrong to participate; if you don’t see it as an evil time, but consider the positive aspects, like you made, then…..it’s not wrong

    heck, eating spicy pizza is wrong if you have stomach problems lol

    true, making decisions based on fear isn’t the best way to live a life

    thank you for your candor and sensitivity to a seemingly sticky situation in churchianity…..hope your caroline has a blast ;0)

  3. Heidi

    This is so Romans 14. Each decision, based on faith and your current understanding of grace. If you had participated when you felt it was wrong it would have been sin for you. Now you have a deeper grace on the situation and it is not. Father parents us where we are. What is right for a 7 year old is not always right for a 17 year old and vice versa.
    We’ve been on all sides of this issue as well, it is encouraging to see we are not alone/making it up as we go along, but that others have made and are making the same journey.
    Mrs Nehemiah

  4. Meredith

    I am glad you shared this Sallie. I hope you both enjoy watching Caroline have fun in her costume.

    I feel like we as a family were also influenced by some of the “puritan” christian websites when we first started blogging and have eased our stance in a few areas. We have also told our children that if they see evil images surrounding Halloween or on Halloween night (we know they will) then to think of those images as how any of us would be without the love of Christ–horrid! For us Halloween is folded into the greater Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day and is an example of how Christ triumphs over evil and death.

  5. Marya

    I wrote a somewhat similar thought on my blog the other day and then was afraid to post it. Now, I’m going to. Thanks for speaking out!

  6. Jen

    I’ve never thought of it as “celebrating”. The kids just pick a costume and walk around the neighborhood for an hour. That’s about the extent of our Halloween experience! They don’t mention it again until 365 days later when we’re standing in Target looking at costumes. Very few kids in the neighborhood go all out, but the vast majority of kids we’ve seen over the years are cute and dressed harmlessly, going door to door in hopes of a full size Hershey bar. Don’t think too hard about it. As she gets older she’ll gravitate towards peers who want to dress as cute as she does (our 12 year old neighbor girl and her friends went as Sesame Street character this year!). Caroline’s not at risk for going goth. :)

  7. Stefanie @ Calledhis.com

    I’m a proud Christian and lover of Halloween – I love this post. It’s so true. You don’t need to completely not enjoy anything ‘of the world’ to be a Christian. I definitely support your decision and I pinned :D

  8. Cheri Gamble

    It was so fun to read your reasons for changing your mind. I am interested in knowing how the first Halloween experience turned out for your daughter! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sallie Post author

    Cherie – She enjoyed it although the damp weather definitely made it less enjoyable. She trick-or-treated for about an hour and then wanted to come home and pass out candy. I think she enjoyed passing out the candy just as much (if not more). I asked her what she wanted to do this year and it sounds like she wants to stay home and pass out candy. Go figure. LOL!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

captcha

Please enter the CAPTCHA text

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>