Monday, October 28, 2013


The end of October is here. Facebook and Instagram are full of pictures of cute kids dressed up for Halloween activities they are attending. Pinterest is saturated with pins of yummy Halloween treat recipes and super cute Halloween crafts and DIY decorations (like the peacock pumpkin and gourd pictured here). People everywhere are planning and attending all kinds of carnivals, festivals, and parties to celebrate the occasion.

Growing up, I lived in the same house for as much of my childhood as I can remember. We lived on a circle with only one way in and out. For the most part, the only people who drove through either lived on our block or were visiting someone who lived on our block. My parents knew almost all of the neighbors and trick or treating around our block was safe and fun.

When I was younger, ours was a neighborhood where people would come on Halloween to trick or treat. Flocks of kids I didn’t know would come in by the car full to our little block and would ring our doorbells and ask for treats.

Occasionally I remember us going to a carnival or fall festival where we could dress up and wear our Halloween costumes. These were either put on by our church or the Christian School that we attended. Good food, games, face painting, hay rides, and just plain fun is what I remember about attending these events.

As I got older things changed some on Halloween. Familiar houses became unfamiliar as long time neighbors moved to other communities. Fewer kids came onto our block to trick or treat with us. I grew up and had a child of my own. Now all of the sudden, I’m the adult trying to decide what is appropriate and safe for my child on this particular holiday.

Obviously when he was little it didn’t matter too much what we did. He didn’t know that we were even supposed to do anything special on that day. As he grew up and understood what Halloween was (or at least what the other kids around him said it was) he would ask me if we were going to trick or treat.

A few years we have gone to another neighborhood and became one of the “flock of kids”. Most years, I have searched out church carnivals that we could go to. I didn’t care too much what church was hosting it; I was just looking for a fun, safe place for my son to enjoy the night.

As I have grown both into adulthood and grown spiritually speaking, there are things about Halloween that bother me. Kids dressed up in costumes that just make you cringe. Short skirts with fishnet stockings, or blood and gore like your six year old just came out of the latest R rated horror film. Neither of these things (regardless of your beliefs) are age appropriate for the children I have seen wearing them.

Unless you live in a small community and still know your neighbors, trick or treating is no longer safe. You can’t allow your kids to roam the streets and even if you go with them, you don’t know what you may end up with. You don’t know what you may expose your children to without realizing that you will. I’ve been to a few homes that just felt “evil” when you walked up. Regardless of how much innocent fun you can come up with for your kids on Halloween, it is hard to avoid the spooky, scary, and sometimes evil that comes along with it.

I’m not saying that Halloween is all bad and that you can’t find something fun and safe to do with your kids. My son will participate in a few Halloween activities this year and will dress up a few times this week. I will not ban him from participating in Halloween. However, I will find opportunities to talk to him about what is ok and what is not ok for our family to participate in. I will find opportunities to help him understand what things about Halloween line up with what we believe and what things do not.

For me, it isn’t about avoiding Halloween, it is about guarding against spiritual forces of darkness and teaching my son to do the same.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. – Ephesians 6:12-13

This year my son is dressing up as his own made up superhero, Super Jonathan (yes he made that up himself). Super Jonathan will be reminded this week about the whole armor of God: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the word of God, and prayer. Put on the whole armor, then you can go out and be a superhero!

No comments:

Post a Comment