Every year I plan to write a post about how we celebrate Halloween as a Christian family. Then I never get around to it, and a bunch of other people write similar posts. Then I think, oh, well. It’s too late. And now a bunch of others have written similar posts, and it’s the night before Halloween. So, it is too late. But I’m going to write it this time anyway.
We trick-or-treat. We do costumes. We carve Jack-O-Lanterns. We watch It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown on TV.
And there are things we don’t do.
No witches. No ghosts. No zombies. No guy with an ax sticking out of his head. We don’t go to haunted houses.
This is how we did it when I was kid also, growing up in a church parsonage.
To me it’s not so much the holiday, but the intention behind how you celebrate it.
Halloween in America today is far removed from the ancient festivals and traditions it’s derived from. For most, it’s void of any religious meaning, Christian, Pagan or otherwise. Like almost all of our other holidays, we’ve taken bits and pieces from many cultures and experiences to create something uniquely American.
For our family, Halloween is a day for kids to dress up in costumes and play make-believe. A day for communities to open up closed doors and show generosity to their families. A day to eat all the candy you can and not feel too guilty. Here in Michigan where the snow will soon fly, it’s also one last celebration of the harvest and a farewell to fall. It is for many other Americans as well. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with participating in that.
There is a dark element to the holiday, and that’s the part we avoid. Witchcraft and a belief in the paranormal are counter to our faith, and something I don’t even want to pretend to take part in by wearing a fake, pointy hat or donning a white sheet. I don’t like zombies and gory costumes, because I think they make light of death and violence.
For our family this is what it looks like to be in the world but not of it on Halloween. This is how we set ourselves apart as peculiar people, but still carry the light on a day that can have an element of darkness.