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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Great Christian/ Halloween Debate

Every year around this time I find myself in the middle of, or at least witnessing, the age-old debate: should Christians celebrate Halloween?   I say YES- in a family-friendly, Biblically sound, kind of way.

Halloween's name originally came from All Hollows Eve, which was the eve of All Saints Day, a Christian holiday set aside to honor the deceased.  Around the time the Christian movement was sweeping through Europe, pagan holidays and customs were very popular, often coinciding with celebrating the passage of the seasons.   At the end of October, pagans celebrated Sanhaim, a festival marking the end of the harvest and beginning of winter, commonly looked upon as a time of death.  The Church chose to celebrate All Saints Day right in the middle of the pagan festival, as an effort to give new converts something else to celebrate and detract attention from the pagan feast. 

It was only logical, then, that some of the pagan traditions became mixed with these "new" Christian holidays.  In fact, many of our other holiday traditions, including Christmas trees, can be traced back to pagan roots.  Even though a Christmas tree was originally an ancient fertility symbol, does that mean we are worshipping it or celebrating the pagan meaning when we have one in our homes?  Of course not.

Clearly, Christians are instructed to stay away from occult or satanic practices:
Deuteronomy 18: 10-11: 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
However, it doesn't say anything about dressing up in silly costumes, giving/getting candy, or making a pumpkin look like a silly face.  If you dig around you can trace some of these ideas back to the pagan celebration from the same time of year, but, do you really think the average Joe in a pumpkin costume is in a spiritual battle, attempting to hide from evil spirits?  No, more likely, Joe is just having fun and being silly, the same as he would wearing a costume any other day of the year.

Here's the best article I've read on this subject to date: Christians and Halloween.   It gives a great historical background and a common-sense approach for choosing how your Christian family will deal with the holiday without appearing to be superstitious.  

As for my family, we'll be trick or treating in our neighborhood, passing out treats to the neighborhood kids, wearing fun costumes, and attending our school/church Autumn Harvest festival.   I can't think of a single thing in there that's sinful... unless maybe we become gluttons on the candy.   ;)

What about YOU?  How do you feel about Halloween?   Will your family participate in trick or treating?  I invite you to link up your post on the subject, and please.... let's all play nice.   I have seen too many of these "discussions" get nasty online.   We can all learn and appreciate  one another's view on the subject, even when we don't agree!

Join me here each week for Tinseled Tuesdays to share your holiday gift ideas! And don't forget to visit my new blog, The Sugar Sharks, all about our life with Type I Diabetes. 
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1 comment:

  1. Halloween is an opportunity to fellowship and share Christ's message over here. Our community is very close, and the girls don't venture to houses outside of this little niche, but we have LOTS of folks roaming around that we wouldn't otherwise exchange everyday chat with.

    Jay takes the kids around our loop while I sit in the driveway with our neighbors (a perk to living in AZ!). We cook up hot dogs and have a spread of chips/sodas. As folks are coming by, they can grab a little dinner. We keep lots of chairs out front to give the message that they're welcome to sit and stay for awhile. People start talking, kids play, friendships are found. This year, the kids have organized a food drive with our neighbors as well.

    This will be the 5th year that we've been doing this. Taking the time to build these relationships over the years has opened the door for many people to consider meeting up with us for a church service. We talk openly about our faith, and enjoy using the Halloween "tradition" as a "conversation starter". I've witnessed many people and their families come to Christ...and it all started with a "chance meeting" on Halloween night ;)

    How can you pass up the opportunity to mingle with dozens (maybe even over 100?) of people who pass through your front yard?

    I have a few wonderful Christian neighbors who absolutely will NOT have anything to do with Halloween festivities in any shape or form. The way I see it, they really aren't who I need to be sharing my hot dogs with anyway.

    PS...as for the "Diabetes-Candy Thing", it hasn't ever been an issue for our family. My daughter was diagnosed very young, and we immediately began a tradition of letting her pick out 10 pieces and trading the rest for a trip to the toy aisle ($10 limit). This has become the way we do things...for everyone. It works great for us :) The candy gets thrown in a freezer bag...and guess what fills the bowl next year! (I mean...if you can eat your wedding cake topper a year later, candy shouldn't be much different, right?)


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