My perspective on Halloween has changed to many forms over my life. As a child, I enjoyed all things horror and strange. I often watched movies like Poltergeist and Nightmare on Elm Street with my grandma…when I was 3. My grandma, for some reason, saw nothing wrong with allowing me to just watch whatever she was watching and, to this day, is convinced that a child that young isn’t affected by exposure to things and will not remember. However, psychological studies beg to differ. The fact is, exposure to horror movies can cause PTSD in children because they have not yet developed the ability to differentiate between real and fake, reality and fantasy.
When I was in middle school I was very into Wicca and divination. I had spiritual stones and drew my own tarot cards. I had a vast understanding that there simply MUST be something out there–humanity came from something. I simply wasn’t sure what. I just knew that I believed in spirits of some sort and that my foresight was strong in this. While I became a Christian at 13, it took a few more year after that to shake affinity witchy things. Even praying the rosary is idolatry (I’ll save the rest of this topic for another post).
And so, I went from complete obsession with Halloween to a slight tolerance for it, complete abstinence from it, and now I’m here letting my daughter watch Halloween shows on tv…you know, Paw Patrol and Dora the Explorer go trick-or-treating and such. Of course, she won’t be watching the things I saw as a child. Now that I am a mom, I need to evaluate how to handle the topic of Halloween with my daughter. Will she be forbidden from participating? Do I argue with the church because they even considered having a ”Trunk-or-Treat” celebration? Or do I let my daughter make her own choices?
You see, at only 2.75, she isn’t quite old enough to make her own choices with this yet. She isn’t aware of any spiritual affiliation with Halloween. She isn’t completely understanding of who Jesus is, besides that she hears about him sometimes. It’s up to me, the parent, to set the tone. After reviewing my experiences as a child from my grandmas free-range approach to my mom’s overbearing dictatorship, I’ve compiled a list of tips with biblical backing for how to handle Halloween.
5: Research for Yourself
You must know for yourself and find out what the Bible says about anything that is not of God. It cannot be denied that so much of Halloween is for Satan. So just let me reiterate: I’m not calling for Atheists, Agnostics, or otherwise to convert in this post. I’m talking to my fellow Christian peers. Do you know what you believe? If you do, how important is that salvation to you? Open that book and start reading. Before you decide what your kids will be exposed to and how you will act on your beliefs, they are already watching you. They are already forming questions–get to know the answers before your own lack of understanding confuses your flock.
4: Don’t Compare to Other Parents
All parents are different. Some are more convicted about Halloween than others. The worst thing you can do is change on a whim and follow the herd when your children aren’t able to understand. So, if you chose to go to a Halloween event or to take your kids “Trick-or-Treating” only to be nagged by another Christian mom who chose to abstain, you might want to share you convictions with your children in a gentler way than snatching them off the sidewalk and marching home. Instead, try some thought questions from the next point:
3: Allow Open Conversation
You would be surprised what questions and calm conversations will come from your kids if you just ask them: So what do you think about Halloween? If we just learned in church that we must call good “good” and bad “bad”, what are we doing here? The answer is probably this: I wanted to dress up and eat candy because it’s fun. Well, is dressing up and eating candy worth your soul? Even younger children get this if they have been taught about Jesus and all the good things he’s done. If we are to believe in a God that actively works in our lives, we must also believe that He has an opinion on Halloween. Start that conversation in a gentle way and listen more than speak.
2: Don’t Spread Hatred and call it Jesus
Oftentimes the Christians who harp on a topic the most do so because they we strongly convicted of the same sin in the past. It can be eye-opening to see the plethora of things God does not approve of and realize how many of them are in your life. It’s like you realized you are drowning and finally made it back on the boat, then you looked back and see everyone else who is still drowning–naturally, you want them to get back on the boat too.
When Christians are putting people down for continuing to do a certain thing they are missing the entire point of Jesus: forgiveness and salvation. That isn’t to say we aren’t supposed to be positive role-models or that we aren’t supposed to encourage one another to do good. Spreading goodness and love is not accomplished by teaching your children to point at another person and say “God hates what you’re doing.” or “You’re going to hell for that.” Instead, by loving your neighbor as yourself and speaking to them the way you would prefer to be spoken too, you earn their listening ears and they might want to know what you think without you casting any verbal stones. Don’t ever forget that the only person who was righteously justified to cast a stone chose not to saying “…“Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”” -John 8:11 NIV
1: Model Appropriate Behavior
It sounds pretty obvious that a parent should be modeling good behavior, but sometimes acting the way you want your own children to act can be a challenge. You clearly want to “behave” so they see how to behave, so how do you do this when it comes to setting the example for Halloween? Whether you choose to fully remove your family from participating, alter your plans by going to a “Fall Festival” instead of a “Halloween Party”, or fully indulge in the festivities, remember to consider the true intentions of your own heart. As a Christian, ask yourself with purpose WHY you want these things?
Your sin is not who you are as a person! But I understand: ripping sin from my life has definitely felt like trying to pull my own arm out of socket. I’ve been really attached to many things in the past that I’ve been convicted of, and all of these things from Witchcraft to being that nagging, bigoted person are just some of them.
My hope is that there is encouragement in moving on from whatever is holding you back in order to have a better relationship with Christ. Don’t worry about comparing yourself to other parents or beating yourself up for past choices. However, I firmly believe changing your perspective on not only how YOU do Halloween, but how you TREAT others on Halloween who chose to do something different, can make a huge improvement in your spiritual growth.