My Halloween Struggle
I am unapologetically Christian, and pretty religious. Most of my actions are deeply tied to my religious beliefs and personal convictions. And I try not to be one of those Christians who tries to push their beliefs on others. I believe that you should have a special, personal conviction about these things. And recently I've been reevaluating my stand on Halloween. I'm reevaluating more now as a parent, so I can give my children more real, concrete answers to questions they have about why we do things (as best I can). I posted a question on my personal Instagram page, and to close family and friends, about celebrating (going out to trick-or-treat) Halloween to meet our new neighbors. I got a mixed bag of yes, some coated responses about making it more of a religious activity (I am totally opposed to this). So I was left to ponder even more.
I grew up in a religious family, and we didn't celebrate Halloween. I went to a Christian school, so we didn't have Halloween activities, no candy or costumes. I was taught the background of Halloween and wanted no part of it. Also, I have a fundamental issue with handing out candy to children just for the heck of it. The most I remember about Halloween was going to the mall and getting candy because we happen to be at mall during Halloween. One year, as a church, we collected can goods on Halloween for the homeless (I strongly advise against this), and we got offered candy at almost every house which we were supposed to refuse. And thus my religious beliefs shaped my views on Halloween, and I felt strongly convicted on them...until recently.
First, a little background (if you didn't grow up in a religious family), when you grow up in a religious family, everything is painted in a religious tint. There is a rhyme and reason for everything. My ears aren't pierced for personal reasons that stem from religious beliefs. Recently though I've decided that I want to do things because I have a personal conviction about them. Not just because we as a community of believers have decided something is right or wrong based on our personal beliefs or an antiquated way of doing things.
With that being said personally I don't like a lot of things about Halloween. But I celebrate Christmas, and I know that Christ wasn't born in December. Not to mention the commercialism...blah blah blah. I celebrate Thanksgiving even though I hardly doubt the flowery background about the pilgrims and the Indians. And the list goes on. So I have to ask myself how deep does this rabbit hole go? The answer...deeper than you or I could ever imagine. I also have to ask myself, "how far am I willing to go?" I've heard EVERY argument against Halloween, and most pagan holidays alike. So I personally chose to distance myself from Halloween because of the origins, and that worked for me.
But what about the small seemingly insignificant traditions of Halloween that have become commonplace: the costumes, the candy, the parties. To be honest, I love seeing the kids and babies dressed up like pumpkins, lions, whatever. What about a Halloween office party at my husband's job for the kids? Do I let them participate? Do they dress up? What about the treat or tricking on our street to meet the neighbors? Most religious scholars would warn me against the innocence of Halloween, but then how do I justify everything else I celebrate? Unfortunately, religion doesn't give you a yes or no answer sheet on these things, so you have to go merge what you've learned with how you feel to come to the best conclusion.
And so here I am now