My parents kept me away from the scary side of Halloween. We never went to haunted houses or scary events. We didn’t want horror movies or do scary things.
I assumed that when I had my own children, I would dress them up and take them trick-or-treating. After I was married, Mike and I passed out candy to neighborhood children on Halloween, often enclosing little tracts to share the Gospel with them. About this time, strange things started happening to candy. There were rumors of razor blades and other non-candy items being found in children’s candy. Kids were encouraged to take their candy to the police stations to be checked before they ate it. And, parents, who had years before, sent their children off were now encouraged to go with them. As a result of these scares, or so I thought, churches began offering Halloween alternatives. Children would dress up, play games, and gather candy from large bowls around the fellowship hall.
As a youth pastor, my husband planned and headed up many of these events in our church. We had fun and played silly games.
As we were discovering the dark side of Halloween, Halloween became more and more popular in America. Suddenly the stores weren’t just filled with candy, they were filled with creepy decorations. I would brush by skeletons and spider web decorations while I shopped for groceries. Creepy costumes never were attractive to me, but to walk through stores decorated for Halloween and see neighbors turn their lawns into graveyards gave me a start. I didn’t like the darkness of the decorations. Maybe I just like things to be bright and happy. I’m not scared of spiders, but brushing against spider webs, even though they are just a decoration, does bother me.
We decided to find out more about this holiday. As we did, we realized that we didn’t want to participate as a family in celebrating Halloween. At the same time, we didn’t want to be Scrooges, so we passed out candy and Gospel tracts with our children. Soon, however, they asked us questions like: “If we think Halloween is bad, why are we passing out candy?” or “Why can’t we go out trick-or-treating?” They were confused by our behavior and so, to be honest, was I.
One year, we decided to turn off all the lights and hide. I felt horrible as the children knocked at the door. Was there a solution? Well, as we looked at the calendar, we discovered that on October 31, Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the Whittenburg Door and the next day, November 1, was celebrated as All Saints Day for centuries by Christians. Now, those things were things I could get behind and celebrate.
If you would like to learn more about our celebrations at the end of October, check out our book, Celebrate our Christian Heroes (Instead of Halloween). You can purchase it at our Powerline Productions Store or at Currclick.
God Bless You--Today and Always!
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)