Most people look forward to this time of the year with giddy anticipation. The coming of fall marks the true beginning of two of our most beloved seasons: football and boot season. It also marks the beginning of the holiday season, which until a few years ago meant Thanksgiving and Christmas exclusively. Somewhere along the line, Halloween crept in and has joined the ranks of our major holidays, to the chagrin of quite a few.
I am among that number. I can’t stand Halloween.
Everyone knows someone who hates at least one holiday on the calendar. My dad refuses to celebrate Christmas. He is adamant that because Christ was born in the Spring (in March, according to his research) there is no earthly reason why any good Christian would celebrate the yuletide in December. Ironically, this has never stopped him from guzzling down a celebratory beer along with a bowl of bronia fufu.
In the same vein, I know a good number of people who violently protest the celebration of Columbus Day. Why should we fete the destruction of a whole race of people, heralded by the landing of some wayward Spaniard who mistook these American shores for those of India? Why does a man get such recognition just for getting lost? After all, if Neal Armstrong had mistakenly landed on Mars instead of the moon, would we honor his heroism as Americans have done for Columbus? I thinketh not.
I object to Halloween because it’s my Christian duty to do so. This would be a good time to point out that it is my Christian duty to object because of the type of Christian I am, for there are as many types of Christians as there are holidays on your calendar. There are some Christians who eagerly await the coming of Halloween, as they see it as a harmless diversion and a chance for their children to solicit strangers for candy. There are others who recognize Halloween’s dark, sinister roots and its dreadful covenant with the occult. There are other’s still who try to straddle the two schools of thought and therefore end up entirely irked by the months leading up to the event. I’m in the lattermost group.
Our church had done a teaching on Halloween a few years back. There were phrases thrown out about this guy called Samhain and druid priests, and deities of death and destruction and so on. Unfortunately, at the end of the day all I can surmise is that ‘Halloween is bad if you’re a good Christian,’ which is the festive equivalent of ‘good girls don’t have sex if they are Christians.’ There is no explanation or “WHY” in any of this. I am admittedly rusty on why Halloween is supposed to be an affront to my vow to serve Christ, and this has become a frustration.
My interactions with my children has only exasperated those frustrations.
When they were toddlers and more easily controlled, we simply did not participate in any Halloween activities. However as they got older, influences outside of my control abounded and infiltrated the cocoon I had created for them.
“Why can’t I dress up and trick or treat?” the girls would ask.
Their objections became more and more consistent until finally one day Marshall agreed to let them go to the mall and get candy from the different vendors.
“But you can’t wear a costume,” he said authoritatively.
The next year, the girls dressed up as princesses. The year following that, they were fairies. Somehow, our resolve to be “good Christian parents who don’t let their kids participate in the Devil’s birthday” was weakening with every passing of Lucifer’s favorite holiday. Every year, I tried to convince myself that it really wasn’t that bad if they kids wanted to be a Disney character and eat some candy, was it? It was just dress up!
The real test of my convictions comes in the form of the annual Halloween party that my co-worker hosts at her home. Her husband transforms their backyard into a fright-fest for the senses, with caves and tunnels and spider webs blanketing his property. He adorns himself in the most fear-provoking costume he can find and chases little children around, tickled by their shrill shrieks of terror. He LOVES Halloween. This year, thanks to Mr. Stewart and Disney Channel, Nadjah got it into her head that she did not want to be an innocent character: she wanted to be something ghoulish and un-dead. This is where Marshall drew the line.
“But why can’t I be a witch or a mummy for the party?” she whined, tears brimming her eyes.
“I don’t have to let you go at all,” he replied simply, never lifting his eyes from his iPhone. “Besides, Halloween is of the devil and God wouldn’t like you dressing up as a witch.”
“Everything you say is about God!” Nadjah screamed in frustration.
As I watched her flounce on the sofa and cross her arms in defiance, I realized that I had done a pretty piss poor job of raising a child who has any understanding of our basic beliefs. Nadjah is an intelligent girl, and I had done her a disservice by not treating her as such. Instead, I had allowed cable TV and Walmart to shape her world view, just by virtue of my silence. I spoke to my sister, who is religiously abstinent, about the incident.
“Halloween IS about ghouls and goblins and zombies,” she said. “It’s about caldrons and potions and casting spells on people. If you’re not going to do it right, you might as well not do it at all.”
Why indeed? Why just dabble in the occult? Why not just be completely given over to it? At what point does my family decide that enough is enough? 2 Timothy 1:7 says For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. With the advent of Halloween, we willingly take on the spirit of fear…something that is not God approved or God-honoring? I will confess: I gave serious thought to taking Nadjah up to that haunted house on 1-85 to show her Halloween for real for real, but that would be cruel…and contrary to God’s word, wouldn’t it? What kind of mother would that make me?
It’s not for me to judge other people and how they live their lives in relation to God and the bible. Every one of us must live their lives according to their conviction and the information they’ve been handed. I’m just saying have to do a better job of equipping my children with information on all fronts, obviously.
Be safe tonight, and remember to check your kids’ candy before you let them eat them! There are physchos in these here subdivisions these days. Poisoning kids and putting needles in Snicker bars and what not. Just crazy and wearing on my last nerve!