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Friday, October 31, 2014

Пятница Ponderings: Halloween...Yay or Nay?

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate 
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian

What are your thoughts on celebrating Halloween? Is it fun? Is it your favorite holiday? Is it evil and devilish? Should Christians celebrate it or not?

I have no issues with Halloween although it has never been a favorite holiday. I have fond memories of going to costume parties and dances and trick or treating when I was young. As an adult, my holiday decorations have always been more fall related than Halloween specific, but that wasn't deliberate, it was just personal taste.

My personal opinion is that Halloween in no way conflicts with my Christian beliefs. We don't celebrate the occult or the macabre. We celebrate and enjoy the fun activities with family and friends.

Say what you want about the origins of Halloween. But when you really, honestly look into it, many of the theories and ideas behind the origins of our modern Halloween traditions have both Christian and Pagan roots. Much like our Christmas traditions.

Someone once told my kids that Halloween is the Devil's birthday and they were pretty critical toward our children about the whole Halloween thing. While they are certainly entitled to their thoughts and beliefs, their behavior was quite upsetting to my boys at the time and one of those situations where I thought it could have been handled so differently and the differences of opinion or belief could have been shared kindly rather than so disagreeably.

If someone doesn't like Halloween or doesn't celebrate it or participate in Halloween activities, that is their right. They shouldn't be mean or critical of those who do and those who do, shouldn't be mean or critical of those who don't. Period. I am so amazed sometimes at the criticism and judgment that Christians level toward one another and the manner of self-righteousness displayed.

When my boys were little, Halloween was fun. They could dress up and in our California hometown, the city had a big downtown celebration. The main streets were blocked off, the merchants handed out candy, there were bounce houses and activities and it was great fun. We went every year. Those costumes ended up in our dress up box and were used year round for play time.

When we moved to Idaho, we didn't find the same city celebration, but we'd go trick or treating and it was fun. Usually really cold, but fun, although one parent would stay home and hand out candy or if we both went with the boys then no one would hand out candy.

Our church usually has a ward dinner and trunk or treat activity and we always participate in that. I don't mind handing out candy to the cute church kids!

A couple of years ago, finances were tighter and I just wasn't feeling the Halloween love. The boys were older and on a whim, I said, "What would you say if I offered you each $10 and a bag of candy to not go trick or treating or hand out candy?" They both said, "Awesome!" That year, we turned off all the lights and watched a family movie. People still knocked on the door, but it was nice to not deal with it all.

The next year, we went to the dollar theater instead and have done it each year since. The Boy has been asking for a week what movie we are going to see tonight! The money I spend at the theater and that I "bribe" them with is significantly less than I'd spend on candy to hand out or buy/prepare costumes.

Do I feel guilty for not handing out candy to strangers? No. Do I feel like I'm cheating my kids? No. They had a lot of fun years trick or treating and getting candy. Do I hate Halloween? No.

Now, we are making fun memories doing something different.

What about you?

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