On this post-Halloween day, I have a lot to ponder about this ridiculous holiday. First off, I do have the dilemma of what to call it. Some people I know call it the Harvest Festival, Fall Festival or simply the "day the Lord has made." However, I just feel silly calling it by any other name, it is what it is. Is that wrong?
I do believe God can take something the world meant for evil and use it for His glory. There are a lot of pagan traditions that we revamp for the Church's purpose - like the Christmas Tree. In some form Old Tannenbaum, had been worshiped by pagans, but the Christian Church has assimilated it into our celebration of Christ's birth. It now symbolizes everlasting life - possible through Jesus Christ. Even the time of year we celebrate Christmas was decided based on a pagan holiday. So, I think it is the heart that matters - i.e. I am not worshiping the Christmas Tree. Also, a measure of caution is a good idea too - i.e. is it honoring to God? Personally, as long as I have a Christmas Tree, I think we will have fun with Halloween in a God honoring way.
Which brings me to my next thought, if you feel God does not want you to participate in Halloween, then you should not. However, it might be o.k. for someone else, so do not judge others, but be peace-makers. This issue brings to mind the scripture of Romans 14, particularly verses 14 through 19. This is where it speaks of differences between the Jews and Gentiles in regards to food laws. Also, do not pressure yourself into not participating in Halloween (like trick-o-treating), just to appear holy or spiritual to those around you and yourself. Nor out of the pleasure we get by judgmentally saying to others, "We do NOT celebrate Halloween." Those are actions the Pharisees would have displayed proudly. We all can admit, myself included, to that uplifting feeling we get from putting others down below us. Last night I caught myself doing this silently a number of times in regards to some of the costumes I saw at church's festival. One good example that sums up the thought of this paragraph is when once, out of Christian concern for my daughter, I asked a much respected couple with older children if they let their daughters play with Barbie dolls when they were younger. The husband sarcastically replied, "Only on Halloween."
For Halloween we buy or make inexpensive costumes. After all, it is not really a wise use of our money to buy something expensive if they are only going to wear it once. I never buy a new costume unless it is on clearance - by buying next years costume this year. Playing dress up year 'round is a great way for a little one to spend their time too! Do not forget buy used, save the difference. A costume is a great item to buy used at a thrift store. Family Fun magazine always has wonderful costume ideas that are simple to make for those of us that are low on time and lack crafting skills like myself. My oldest son is fascinated by bats, so it was his wish to dress up as a bat. The costume was easy and inexpensive to make.On the "day", we have a couple from church that are close friends of ours over for dinner and trick or treat with the kids. Since their kids have out grown it, they really like reliving that phase of their life. It is another chance to build a relationships between us. We only go to the houses on our street - i.e. people we know. This takes care of the whole taking candy from strangers. This does not take much time, but it is plenty long enough for the kids because they are more excited to go to our church's fall festival. Our church has an annual festival on October 31st as an alternative to Halloween. Here they win candy, hear the Gospel at the Gospel House and see a Bible based puppet show. They also get to spend time with other kids from church and the community, as well as we get to spend time as a family. Last night it was great to see several families from our homeschooling co-op. Believe me, the kids are not deprived - I think we still have some candy from last Halloween!
Forgot to clarify what I mean by participating in Halloween. What I do NOT mean is any behavior that glorifies Satin and goes against the teachings of the Bible - like witchcraft, immodest dress or divination. What I do mean is the secular, modern version of Halloween - like trick-o-treating, handing out candy to children, and dressing up.