In my childhood, during the sixties, Halloweens were more fun than fright. My brothers and I only did trick or treating on our own street. Parents sat on porches or right inside their front doors waiting to fill our bags with homemade treats like Rice Krispy treats, caramel apples, popcorn balls and M&M cookies. A few folks handed out giant candy bars. Up and down Cherry Street lights and laughter filled the sidewalks. For weeks after, schoolchildren brought Halloween treats in their lunch bags. Thoughts of razor blades or poison in our treats didn’t exist. Strategies for dangerous predators weren’t part of our childhood knowledge.
Many years later when I became a mother, I looked forward to celebrating the fun of dress up and treats with my child. Instead, the Holy Spirit intervened. He spoke to Ken’s heart and mine about the pervading darkness behind Halloween. I’m sure most of you know that many of our holiday traditions began as pagan rituals. Christmas trees originated with Druids and their tree burning ceremonies, for example. For believers, pagan traditions morphed into Christ-centered celebrations. For us, Easter represents new life through Christ’s resurrection, not new life through the fertility of some goddess.
This became a sticking point between us and the Holy Spirit. We tried to find redeeming qualities in Halloween. Over time we realized that the dark and fear-based aspects overshadowed the fun. Do some research as I did. You will discover that to those who follow the Wicca religion, Halloween is one of two high, holy days. It is a special day of worship for Samhain (the lord of death) and his release of demonic spirits to torment humans. There are dark forces moving at ramped up speed on this holiday.
So, what did we do during our daughter’s childhood? Well, we didn’t hide in our basement and ignore the front doorbell. We provided a light and fun-filled alternative. We invited some of our daughter’s friends and enjoyed a dress up Harvest party, way back before churches started doing large ones. By her high school days, we were attending our current church who sponsored large Harvest parties in our facility. All three of us helped with carnival games and such for many years.
When we became empty nesters, we started hanging out at the end of our driveway on Halloween nights. Handing out hot chocolate and coffee to weary parents wandering the neighborhood, sparked conversations and shared light into the dark.
Please don’t take this post as a judgement on what you do or don’t do on Halloween. Instead, please hear it as an opportunity to examine what you are doing as a family, and why. The darkness is already cursed; we don’t need to curse it any further by sitting in judgement of our friends and neighbors who are celebrating the fearful aspects of Halloween. Believe me, I get it. Our neighborhood is decorated with sound and light, moving Halloween decorations that scare the spit out of Bella, the dog, and me some mornings. Nevertheless, I want relationship and opportunity with those neighbors.
What can you do to spread light and grace on this upcoming day when our enemy thinks he’s got the edge? Ask our creative Creator to place ideas in your mind and resources in your hands. Get out of the salt shaker and put some flavor in the world around you.