Today, we’ll wrap up this series with the last of our interviews. Here’s what new traditions these young couples have begun in their households and how they are using Halloween to reach their families and beyond with the message of Jesus’ love. Some of them have the full support of their families; others do not. But all of them are passionately in love with Jesus and training up their children to put Him first in everything.
Tara and Grae: “We don't want to just sit around at home and do nothing on that night because then it seems unfair. We started to do fun things that have nothing to do with the holiday. Like go to a movie, go swimming, or just take off to the beach for the evening. We still love dressing up; there's nothing wrong with that. So we do that at other points throughout the year, such as dress-up themed parties, etc.”
Kayla and Skyler: “Two Halloweens have passed since we made a firm decision to leave Halloween behind. Every August when Halloween starts hitting the stores, my son can't help but notice the scary shift in decorations occupying the store shelves. Around this time of year, he seems to have a reoccurring dream about a witch that is eating him. Once Halloween decorations are full force in the stores (September), I generally just stop taking my kids on errands with me. For TWO entire months, Halloween decor disrupts normal life in our household. I have to take extra precautions to shield my now three children from the scary faces that are shoved in their faces on ANY errand we might be running.
“We've talked about Halloween at length with our oldest as much as we can (often because he is questioning us about it), and at all times of the year - not just when it's at its heightened season. We have talked to him about it being a celebration that doesn't make God happy but instead makes Satan happy. That it celebrates evil and disguises the evil for good.
“The other day in the car, we passed by the local Halloween Boutique that appears in August for a couple months. My oldest saw the sign and said, ‘Ew yuck! Halloween is here!’
“Younger brother (2 1/2) asked what Halloween was. My oldest told him, ‘We don't celebrate Halloween because we want to do things that are pleasing to God and do things that make him happy, and NOT things that make Satan happy, and Satan loves Halloween.’
“I was so proud of him for his understanding of why we don't celebrate. Not that we are taking things and celebrations from him, not that we don't want to have a good time, not that we want to be ‘religious’ about it, but that at the bottom line - we want to do things that are pleasing to God and Halloween just isn't.
“So, we are quite looking forward to our first ever All Saints Day party this year! We can't wait to have THAT kind of celebration!”
Brian: “We tend to sway back and forth on the issue of Halloween, and how to celebrate, or not celebrate at all. Fortunately our kids are still young and don’t really know the difference yet. So from our point of view, there is not any universal right and wrong here, just room for personal convictions as led by the Holy Spirit.”
“We have decided for these two big reasons and several other smaller ones that we’ll pass on this holiday. Our kids can dress up in costumes any other day of the year; we treat them with candy and dessert more than we probably should already, so they’re far from deprived. We’re just going to sit this one out and talk about the many other holidays instead.”
Nathan and Sommer: “Last year we went to a church event for Halloween. We have explained to our children what Halloween represents and why we feel as Christians it is not something we want to celebrate. I love how we can still decorate for fall. We steer away from anything that represents Halloween. Beth’s book, Taking Back October, has given us so many other ideas for fun things to do instead. Our kids are excited to dress up in costumes on their birthdays.
“We also went to a party at Beth’s house last fall to celebrate All Saints’ Day. We had a blast. Her book is filled with all sorts of ideas and fun ways our family will use to create memories and new traditions.”
Making it redemptive
Every couple agreed about one thing. They want to address the question of Halloween not only as a teaching opportunity with their children, but also in redemptive ways to their families and community. These families continue to wrestle with how that will look each year as Halloween approaches and their children get older.
Tara and Grae: “Our boys are still too young to understand our reasoning in this and honestly don't even know what Halloween is yet. But when they do, we are prepared to explain why we've made these decisions and hope they come to the same conclusion when they get older as well."
Brian: “Will we hand out candy as a means to get to know our neighbors, or will we leave the porch-light dark October 31st? I’m still not sure on that point. But celebrating the holiday of Halloween, we will not.”
Britney: “To be clear, we are not above anybody who does choose to partake in the festivities of October 31st. We are sinners saved by grace like any other, and have no room to be prideful about our convictions or decisions.”
Nathan and Sommer: “Our girls are 5 and 6. They love Jesus with all of their hearts and understand the reason we have decided not to celebrate Halloween any longer. We are forever grateful for Beth standing out and writing about this subject. If she hadn't we might have continued to celebrate such an evil day. Sadly not many people know the true meaning behind it and I think it's important Beth is getting it out there.”
In her book, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, Lois Tverberg sums up this series perfectly. “We should aim to obedient in all ways, but we should always aim to love, and that sets our priorities for how we should obey…If your family celebrates holidays with a tradition that you don’t embrace, seek to do what is loving rather than dividing the family over it. Choose the most loving path. Jesus himself would probably do the same things in your situation. Indeed, He is using you to do it.”
And so, each of us must choose for ourselves – how can we honor and love our Lord and Savior - declaring the light, life, generosity, and truth He came to give us? Yet at the same time, how can we show love to those around us in a way that invites them to love and honor Him too?
*If you would like to learn more about this, I recommend Taking Back October available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Back-October-Believers-Pursuit/dp/1502516292/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440009808&sr=8-1&keywords=Taking+Back+October
#teachingkidsabouthalloween #halloweenandchristianity #raisingkidsGodsway #takingastand