Friday, October 24, 2008

Alternative Halloween Ideas

One commenter wondered if we celebrated Halloween or if I had any ideas on alternatively celebrating this holiday. I'm a bit hesitant to enter this topic - but since it has been on my mind as well and with my hubby's approval - I will share my opinion. And, it is just that - an opinion. Each family will need to decide for themselves what they feel is right and what God has called them to do.

Many of you may be like me ~ you have happy memories of dressing up in lovely costumes such as princesses, angels, a clown or pumpkin. Fun memories of deciding what your costume would be and then the thrill of picking up your plastic pumpkin to head out the door and gather treats at the neighbors. Upon arriving home, you may have been like my sister and I where we would dump everything out and begin to trade with each other!

Today, Halloween feels very different to me. First, of all because I am a mom and have small ones in my care - I see things through their eyes and there are many stores we won't go in right now because of all the frightening things. Second, because I'm still trying to get a grip on how I really do feel about this holiday and what it looks like for my family.

We have opted not to celebrate Halloween, but that does not mean I am not on the lookout for other ways to bring fun into my home!

In a quick search of the history of Halloween, I was hoping to somehow be able to pull a thread of hope that could be tied to Christian character or principles - this would be my obvious choice of how to celebrate the holiday! However, I could find no such thing. From what I could find - it was a pagan holiday from the beginning celebrating nothing that is honoring to our Father.

One reference did mention that in the beginning the holiday centered around the end of the Harvest season and ushered in the winter. Ok, that is something I can go with! While I realize that this was merely the timing of the holiday is minor in comparison to the actual purpose and representation - I think I will choose to focus on the Harvest theme in our family.

Here are a few ideas that have come to mind:

~ One idea of course is to simply avoid celebrating at all. And, I have done this too. But, there are so many wonderful things about the Harvest season - this would be a wonderful opportunity to share some of these things with our families.
~ In recent days, I've wondered if a smaller scale Homespun Harvest would be our best bet for this holiday. Bobbing for apples, playing old fashioned games, etc... Here are a few thoughts on planning your own.
~ My Mom just mentioned to me about a group who does "Trunk or Treat" ~ all the families meet in the church parking lot and let their littles dress up. They go around from trunk to trunk collecting treats - very creative!
~ Last year, we did a pumpkin theme - tying a spiritual message into the carving of pumpkins.
~ This year, I think we may do a little costume party for our Family Night. After all, dressing up can be a very fun thing for children and to see their parents do so too! I think we will make mini caramel apples and carve our pumpkins.
~ Many churches now host parties for families to attend. These parties can vary greatly - some encourage dressing up and have carnival games while others discourage dressing up and focus on the Harvest feeling with hayrides and a huge potluck picnic. Either way, these are a great option!

In Mrs. Sharp's Traditions, Sarah Ban Breathnach suggests several options:

* A Pumpkin-Carving Party: obvious activity of carving; serve cider, popcorn and taffy apples. For younger children - provide small pumpkins and gourds with craft supplies to decorate.

* All Hallows' Eve Home Frolic, "Mrs. Sharp says it is time to turn the focus of this old-fashioned young people's holiday back to where it belongs: in the home."
~ bobbing for apples, apples suspended from ceiling, Nut Shower (English walnuts have been cracked open and had small trinkets put inside - reglue shells together) guests gather nuts and crack open to find surprises.
~ Supper partners are found by following a trail of yarn which will connect two friends to dine together. What does she serve? Vegetable soup, sandwiches cut in Halloween shapes, stuffed baked potatoes, popcorn balls, pecan tarts, pumpkin muffins and cider.
~ After dinner more games are included. And, she concludes, "Halloween offers us all the opportunity to remember that the most potent magic spell any parent can cast is the one that makes the home a place where the family's happiest hours are spent."

* Harvest Home, "the traditional Victorian English celebration after all the gathering in the fields had been completed. Over a community feast, families would come together to rejoice in their bounty of blessings." She suggests that All Saints' Day (November 1st) is an ideal time to celebrate this occasion.

Now that I've written this post - I can see that even just processing these things this way has been helpful to me in forming my opinion for our family! What stands out to me from the above is focusing our celebration on home and harvest. Fun and charming! We can enjoy the blessings of the season while teaching our children about where they came from and beginning to enter into the season of giving thanks.

I think a good point is that we don't want our children to feel left out because we don't celebrate Halloween, but to have so much fun doing other things that they don't even miss it!

I am interested in learning how your family handles this and simply ask that you keep your comments positive and edifying.

59 comments:

Katy said...

We, too, won't be celebrating Halloween this year. My memories are the same as yours...but honestly...my kids don't really "love" getting dressed up when they "have" to...know what I mean? Plus..they always get WAY too much candy! Our church is having a trunk or treat! People are dressing up as bible characters and telling out the stories when the kids come to their car to collect treats! I am not sure if we are going or not. I like your celebrating harvest idea though! :)

Lisar said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas for this day...I have wondered what Christians in the US think about it...living in Australia, it is not a huge thing, but is tending to become more popular & I really struggle with it because of the whole pagan history & witchcraft themes...my friends with children don't encourage participation in it...& I guess because our seasons are the opposite to yours, we don't have the whole autumn/fall thing to celebrate....but I do like how you can make it family focussed and positive rather than scary....thanks for the insights. Lisa

Edi said...

Our church has a "Reformation Day" party instead of Halloween. There are games with candy as prizes and each child in addition, takes home a bag of candy. There is lots of snack type foods and soda throughout the evening. Parents come and participate in the games (some do) - all are welcome regardless of age.

One time we even had a special "Reformation Dinner" as part of the festivities.

Someone gives a talk to the kids (short - maybe 10 min) on one of the Reformers or their wives.

Here is some info on Reformation Day from Wikipedia: "Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated on October 31 in remembrance of the Reformation, particularly by Lutheran and some Reformed church communities. It is a civic holiday in Slovenia (since the Reformation contributed to its cultural development profoundly, although Slovenians are mainly Roman Catholics) and in the German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia.

On this day in 1517, Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences."

Ginger said...

Great ideas! Katy's sounds good, too, with church members dressing as Bible characters and weaving the stories into the "trunk or treat" Something postive there.

I agree that Halloween is not the carefree "holiday" (if that is even the right word here) it was in my youth. I never give out candy. My mother always admonishes me to turn off the lights and told my dad this year he had to turn off the light at the flagpole. He said it was too difficult, but I'm sure she will prevail. (All this to make sure no trick or treaters come to the door). It's not safe for the people giving out the candy, either. You don't know who might come to the door! It's a different time.

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

Well said. Like you, with littles, we have chosen not to trick or treat because of the scare-factor, and this year are making a even bigger effort to make our own special family night out of Halloween that can be looked forward to.

Lisa said...

We do celebrate the holiday by going to our church "Trunk or Treat" but I don't allow scary costumes. My older son (now 16) had no problem with it when he was younger. My 5 yr old has been Thomas the Tank Engine for 2 years and will be Thomas again this year. He doesn't like scary either.

I am inspired by you everyday. I love how you look at everything with a Christian perspective. I too am a Christian but I must admit that I fall short and don't always put Christ first in every decision.

Thanks for reminding me what is most important in life.
You are a blessing to many!
Lisa

mom said...

October 31 is also Reformation Day. Our church hosts a Reformation Party for children and families with a carnival-like atmosphere -- games, booths, food, and fun -- but also with references to church history and the people who made a difference.
Love you! Mom

Judy said...

We have done an array of things on Halloween. When my oldest (who's now 15) was younger we did do the trick or treat thing. He was going to Public school at the time. I had great memories of a child and didn't want him to miss out. We would get together with my sister's kids and the children would go around together. The last time they did that was probably 5 years ago. Since then we have gone to harvest parties except for last year. Last year we stayed home and watched a movie. The only down side was getting interupted continuously by children coming to the door (I guess all the lights off didn't give them the hint). The children have asked me if we can do a movie again like last year. I know we will do something at home. Not sure what yet. You have given me some great ideas.

Leanne said...

I thought I would share what our pastor does with his family on Halloween evening.... I think its a cool idea! (He went to Master's Seminary- John MacArthur's church-so he's very biblically minded). He lets his three daughters dress in costumes and trick or treat for the witnessing aspect...but at home, they gather around a campfire and he dresses up as an early church martyr and tells stories, in a non-scary way, about men and women who died for their faith in Christ. He ties "All Hallow's Eve" to its celebration of "All Saints Day"...
I just thought that was kind of neat.
Its a hard call...thanks for sharing... I dread all the CANDY this year...its all they ever ask for already....

Wendy said...

We do not do Halloween either. I have always felt uncomfortable as a parent letting my children participate. We usually go to Church for the Fall Festival. I have been told how "odd" I am and that is nothing wrong with celebrating Halloween. But, as you said...it does NOT glorify our Heavenly Father it tends to do the opposite. Thanks so much for your blog and all the ideas!

Rachel said...

I haven't posted about this subject yet. I guess I am avoiding it. But your post meant a lot to me. We are not celebrating Halloween either and, like you, it has been something I celebrated a lot as a child. Right now our daughter is young (1) so I don't see the need to celebrate anything, but when we do, your ideas will be great!

Joy of Frugal Living said...

Unfortunately we don't have kids yet, but I've been thinking about this too. I think things are quite different from when we were young. Last year we went to a friend's house in a neighborhood with lots of kids and chatted while handing out candy. Some of the costumes were shockingly skimpy, along with the scary ones. Even though those friends aren't particularly religious, it really got to them - we were all wondering if our parents would have let us out of the house like that!

I have heard of churches that do something for for All Saints or All Souls day - dressing up as a saint or Bible character, or just a nice party for the kids at church. I'll hope there's something like that when I have kids ready for Halloween.

Jennifer

Annette said...

I have those same memories but we decided last year that the Lord was leading us in a different direction with our kids. We do not celebrate halloween. If our church does something like a fall festival we will participate in that, we started homeschooling this year so I am doing some fall activites at home as well. Also I wanted to tell you I enjoy reading your blog and you are very encouraging to me. I have left you a blog award on my blog at echoesofloveacademy.blogspot.com.

Chrisi said...

I am so glad you shared this. I do not have little ones, but we do not celebrate halloween either. I, like Wendy, have been called odd for not celebrating. I'm always glad when it's over, many places you go there is such a dark & evil focus preparing for the day.
Even without little ones, I am inspired by what you shared and think I may try to plan something for my family to counteract that evil focus of the evening.
I love the mini carmel apple idea, that is wonderful!

Justin said...

You have great ideas for celebrating the season without celebrating Halloween!

I personally would prefer not to celebrate Halloween, but my husband prefers that we do. So we do let the kids go trick or treating. Our church holds a Family Fun Festival the night before Halloween, so we'll be doing that too. I'm hoping that since this is our first year TOTing in a cold climate (we've been in Florida for the past 4 years), my kids will realize how cold it is outside at night at our church's event, and won't be so eager to go out on Halloween itself, but we'll see!

Thank you for your good ideas!

Elise said...

I don't mind Halloween, being raised with it and all. I did research it a few years ago too, and was not sure. I don't feel like God has told me not to at this point. I love what Mrs. Sharp said about turning it back toward the home. I love that book!!
We just love to dress up, though.
Elise

Melissa said...

I also have fond memories of dressing up and TOTing. My mom typically hosted a dinner at our home for friends and their parents. We would come in from the cold and sip hot chocolate, eat a fun dinner, and trade candy at the table while our parents visited. Those are good memories! BUT, Brian and I won't be celebrating Halloween with Jane. We have kept the light off for years, and now that she is here we don't want to emphasize Halloween or even create an interest. The world has changed. Fun is no longer fun...boo! No pun intended!!! :)

Paige said...

We don't do Halloween, for the same reason I don't go on platonic dates once a year with my old boyfriends. It's simply a betrayal of my loyalty.
We are going to make Fall themed cookies, carve pumpkins and do candy/caramel apples. Make s'mores every friday night and eat popcorn littered with candy corn. We will enjoy the season, without doing Halloween.
P~

RoseAnn said...

I agree with you Monica. We do not celebrate Halloween. It is not a christian holiday by any means anymore. Our church does a "halleluia" party. Bible charactor costumes, games, and treats make this a fun night for my children and an outreach for others. We live in a rural community and now that my boys are old enough to semi-understand what the hoiliday is all about(the oldest are 5 and 4) I am considering bucking the system and DELIVERING treats. As a school project the kiddos are going to make treat bags with an attatched personal message about the love of Jesus. Thanks for the ideas!

Carrie said...

What great ideas! Halloween is such a "creepy" holiday, but I love the ideas you shared of still being able to enjoy the season. :-)

Rachel said...

What great ideas! We don't celebrate Halloween and generally try to be away from the house on Oct. 31st. Thanks for posting about the harvest ideas!

-Rachel @ Surviving The Stores

Amy said...

We let the children dress up and we go to our neighbors homes (three or four houses) to get some treats to put in their bag. Last year my son surprised me and decided he wanted to jump in the leaves with the neighbor boy instead of collecting his treats- which was great for me.

I know that it is a very personal decision on if you to decide to celebrate it or not. Our evening focuses more on a fun dinner and popcorn & cocoa when we get home :)

angie said...

Thank you for the information-packed post. You reminded me of the Pumpkin Patch Parable, a book I have wanted to add to our family bookshelf. We will add the reading of that to our carving night.
My children do dress in costumes for Halloween. They go to public schools, which thankfully forbid combative or gruesome costumes. They will trick or treat in our immediate neighborhood (less than 10 houses.) Some neighbors I have only met through TOT. And I will hand out candy at our door, although I have, in the past, refused to open the door to frightening costumes. As with all things, Halloween gets re-evaluated in my mind each year.

ren said...

I always appreciate your thoughts and how you honor your husband, Monica. What I find interesting in recent years is how it's easy for us believers to not celebrate Halloween b/c of pagan origins and symbols, but not Christmas. I've been doing lots of research on that one b/c I truly want to be set apart... but I'm still processing through this.

Storybook Woods said...

I have several friends who have apple day on Halloween. Clarice

Monica said...

We don't participate in Halloween activities. We've just explained to the kids that we have to think carefully about what honors God and what does not. There are "fun" things that other people will do in life that we will choose to step away from and that is just part of living out our faith. It's not a punishment, but it's a blessing to be free to not have to. Initially, we tried to fill certain holidays with "Christian alternatives", but have found that we really don't need to remake things to make them "holy". God has enough great things for us to enjoy and participate in for outreach and for pleasure. It's become easy to leave these types of things behind. Hopefully, taking this kind of step together as a family will give our children courage and accountablity with one another to make much harder choices in the future. Also, it's another platform to model and train them not to be condemning to others that choose to participate in some way. We are only responsible for ourselves.

Thanks for opening this discussion. It's been good to read.

carol said...

Our church does Trunk or Treat, mainly as an outreach to our community. We pass out candy & booklets on Christianity. We also have them sign up, then go visit them or study with them.

Sirena said...

When we got married it was hard for me because my husband's family never celebrated halloween and I didnt' understand why? As I learned more and more about the holiday I started to see why. Our church hows an Awana Grand Prix every halloween. Everyone from ages three and up make a car from a wooden block and we have a track that they are raced on. There are games and a canteen at the same time as the races. There isn't any dressing up but the kids usually get a little, and I mean little, bag of candy at the end of the evening.

Jenn said...

Funny you mention this. No Halloween here, but in order to have the children not be miserable we are having a lil family thing for just ourselves...

...making caramel apples with the seasonal delights magazine directions, giving the children a goody bag of assorted candy from us, and having a movie and maybe "sleepover" by letting all the children camp out after the movie on the living room floor. ;-)

debra said...

I have friends who don't celebrate Halloween due to religous beliefs. We try to make it not too scary here & try to focus on the (non-scary) costumes, candy (yikes), and pumpkins. Our church has a trunk or treat and that is really the only place we go as everything is 'nice' and there is no scary factor.

Michelle said...

Don't forget about a VERY important day in history that actaully falls on the 31st and can be made into a party...Reformation Day.

Henley on the Horn said...

I tagged you!!

Benjamin, Kelly, Madelyn, & Anderson said...

Monica, I thought you did a great job processing through all of this in a way that is grace-filled and would honor our Father! :) I know, its hard, trying to do what you think is best for you family and honoring to God. Great job! xoxo

Jamie said...

Whew...we're not alone;o) It was so good and also reaffiriming to read your post and many of the comments here. My neighbors think we are a bit odd.

Fall is such a busy season for us. I'm amazed at how much my daughter loves it and how easy it was to turn it into such an awesome celebration...for months! We do more crafts, cooking, and baking at this time of year than any other.

It became even more fun when my son was born two weeks early...and his birthday landed ON Halloween. At first I was so disappointed. But now it just changed the entire day from Halloween to JOHN'S BIRTHDAY! Talk about a good reason to celebrate:o)

Julie said...

I struggle with observing Halloween for many of the same reasons you mention. Thank you for all the alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful ideas, Monica!

Hope the littles enjoy whatever you decide to do. I'm sure it will be FUN and meaningful.

Love, Grandma

Angie said...

We somewhat celebrate Halloween, mostly for the costumes! Our little girl is 3 and she dresses up all the time anyways, so for her to pick out a special (friendly and modest only) costume is really cool for her. We go to our downtown area because the businesses all do a "Trick or Treat on Main" from 4-6pm. They all dress up and hand out candy to the kids. She loves to see them all dressed up and watch the other kids. That's the only thing we do on Halloween other than stay home and eat candy in front of our fireplace afterwards! We also go to The Greatest Treat Festival at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds (Shelby, NC) which is a short drive from us and usually on a weekend around Halloween. We meet some friends and have tons of fun. It's put on by the area churches and they do a lesson for the kids about Jesus and how He's the greatest treat you can ever have. Then they have games and trunk or treating set up. Dressing up is optional. We struggled with the idea of Halloween and we decided that we live to glorify our Heavenly Father and this was one of those areas that could put boundaries and still be true to our ultimate goal which is to show the world Jesus through our lives. I love your ideas for celebrating Harvest and we do a few things like that from October through Thanksgiving but maybe we can do that next year instead of Halloween.

RT said...

I grew up being allowed to trick-or-treat one year and not the next. I remember attending a lot of alternative church parties, but...

I now feel incredibly strongly in the opposite direction. I feel led to turn on my front porch lights and welcome the neighbor kids to my porch. I feel like it's my chance to show them a friendly face and place treats in their bag. My husband and I also realized how many neighbors are doing the same for my child--we met so many people last year through trick-or-treating! I feel like it's way too easy for Christians to retreat to the church parking lots for reformation day parties and fall festivals when we should be doing what Jesus would be doing, hanging out with the "sinners." Halloween can be a dark night, but it's not in my house. Rather, it's a chance for our light to literally shine into the darkness and I would rather not hide in the shadows of my house while little people (made in God's image) are walking on our neighborhood's sidewalks.

I don't mean any disrespect by sharing my opinion here! Clearly, the Lord allows us as parents to do what we think is right. I simply wanted to share my thoughts on this holiday. : ) Thanks, Monica.

annacoumos said...

A good movie for parents or anyone probably over 12 to watch is "Halloween: Trick or Treat?" Not sure who puts it out. I got it from a church library. But it talks about what many people do on Halloween. There is a man who was born into a family very involved in witch craft, and he shares what his life was like when he was growing up. It was a real eye opener for me! Hard to watch, but necessary.

I don't think parents should feel like they need an "alternative" to Halloween. Just because allot of people do celebrate it, doesn't mean we need to find a reason to make it okay. I don't think your kids will feel left out. We never celebrated halloween, my parents taught us it wasn't right, and I don't feel like I missed out on the candy or fun. I played dress up all year long, and we didn't have to celebrate halloween to get candy.

I think it is a subject that each person should look at with an open heart and really pray about. I feel many people do halloween completely unaware or uninformed of the real things that happen on that day that are definitely NOT glorifying God.

NCLighthousekeeper said...

For years we attended various church Fall Festivals on Halloween. But 2 years ago I decided to take a slightly different tack. We invited friends over for a FEAR NOT PARTY at our home. The focus was on the fact that God sent the Light into the world to conquer darkness, and we don't have to be afraid! The kids were invited to dress up as a hero, we played lots of games with a Bible theme, we had yummy homemade treats, and a bonfire in the backyard, during which a friend of ours gave a great devotion for the kids. I decorated the house and yard with fall decorations and white lights. A big handmade banner that said "FEAR NOT" hung from our car port. I wanted the neighbors and passers by to know that we were celebrating something a bit different at our home. The kids LOVED LOVED LOVED it, and begged us to do it again. I think they "get it" - we talk about why we can celebrate, and how that is different from what others are doing on that night.
http://nclighthousekeeper.blogspot.com/2007/10/what-we-do-for-halloween.html

<><
Beth

thehomespunheart said...

First of all, I really appreciate the way you all responded to this - I know it is a sensitive and somewhat delicate topic. So, thanks to everyone for responding respectfully and with truth!

I will say that I am a bit less certain now about what we will do. After reading some of your thoughts - there are many valid points here.

Edi - Thanks! I grew up in a Reformed church, so am very familiar with the celebration of Reformation Day.

RoseAnn - I love the idea of DELIVERING treats! Very clever!

Angie - Great point about using this as an opportunity to meet neighbors. It isn't a very neighborly thing to just turn my light off and hibernate for the evening - which is what I usually do.

Ren - One thought that comes to mind is that the origins of Halloween aren't anywhere near God whereas the celebration of Christmas is foundational in Him. Yes, I think there are some Christmas TRADITIONS that are not rooted in Him, but celebrating the birth of His Son is. I trust that you will know what He wants for your family through your research and learning.

Monica - GREAT point! And, something that had actually crossed my mind before I wrote this post and even since I've written it. We certainly do not have to conform to the ways of the world on this one and yes, there are plenty of other ways to have fun! I appreciate you sharing -

Jamie - love that you can turn the day into a birthday celebration!

Rebecca T - Love what you shared as well. You are absolutely right about the opportunity to shine His light to your neighbors. Thank you for being open and sharing your perspective - thought provoking.

Thanks, Anna - for sharing your thoughts as well. I responded to this above with a similar comment! Appreciate your perspective.

Beth - love the Fear Not party idea! Very creative!

Thanks for all the great feedback and input, ladies!

Michelle said...

We're having a "Hooray! Christmas is Coming" party on this end. As Canadians, Thanksgiving is already long past and we're starting to focus on the Christmas season. We get snow a lot earlier, too, which helps with the whole holiday theme.

I totally agree that it's more fun to make an alternative celebration, rather than have your children wondering what they're missing.

Mary Ann said...

This is a topic that comes out to be discussed at our house every year about this time. :-) We don't have children so we haven't had to make a definite decision. For now our biggest issue is whether or not to hand treats out to trick or treaters or participate in alternative Halloween activities that we are asked to help with.

I have participated in alternative Halloween parties in the past and frankly, to me it felt as though we were just celebrating the same holiday under a different name. And I'm all for Harvest parties and fall festivals but is it really any different if it is taking place on Halloween? I'm asking myself here.... I continue to struggle over this.

Like you, I'm somewhat confused on what to do for Halloween. So far we haven't turned on the light for trick or treaters since we've been married. Our town has a big to-do on Main Street so all the kids go down there. If friends are wanting to bring their kids over, I don't make a big deal about it but ask them to call before they come and I'll have a little treat for them.

This was a great post. It's good to think through these things. I hope you will post about what you decide to do with your little ones this year!

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

I know of two options- All Saints Day and Reformation Day. We do choose to trick-or-treat, but these are wonderful options for those who do not. You can find children's books on both holidays. Enjoy your fall celebration!

cheapsk8mom said...

You've been tagged!
read here

Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

Thank you for sharing your ideas, Monica. We haven't celebrated Halloween for a 12 years. Though all month long, we celebrate Harvest time and All Saints Day by reading about Christian martyrs.

When we lived in the city, we did not trick or treat but did keep our own door open for neighbors to visit our home. We even handed out little gospel stories with a candy treat and the children loved to minister to others in this way.

I know you'll make just the right choice for your family.

Blessings,
Lea

Angela said...

Monica...thank you so much for this post! I love the suggestions. My kids want so badly to participate in the scary aspects of this day because they see it so commercialized in the store. I have strived to put the emphasis on Fall, or if you will, a Harvest theme like you discussed.

Do you give your children the reasons for not celebrating in the traditional manner? What have you told them?

SchoolinRhome said...

We don't really do halloween but we do harvest time celebrations. Included in ours though is still trick or treating but modified. We didn't trick or treat for years. My kids love dressing up and love to for play but my older children also love dressing up but won't much just for playing. We ONLY do this now that we moved because we have some neighbors we know and trust and we just stay within those homes. They always dress up creatively and never anything gross, evil or that would not be dressing appropriately/modestly. We do a lot with leaves and pumpkins and try to find a harvest party within church or co-workers, etc to attend if we can! We like to live creatively and have fun together as a family but at the same time we also always want to bring honor to the Lord.
Thanks for your post!
Have a great weekend!
SchoolinRHome
P.S. I am curious if you visit other blogs and if so, what are your favorites and do you leave comments?

Tania said...

Well said. Thank you so much for talking about this as I wanted to, but didn't feel I would say it so well as you.

My boys instinctively have a fear of all things Halloween. They don't like the pumpkins, witches, skeletons, or scary costumes. This alone would cause me to steer away from this day. My conscience as a Christian and what I know, how I feel God would want me to handle this: We just stay away from it. This does not disappoint anyone in our family. (-:
I do love Fall very much and love your ideas from ushering in the Fall season. Thank you!

Kerry said...

We will celebrate in similar ways as your family. We try to remember that Halloween originated as a pagan holiday but just as Christmas was able to raise above that origin this holiday can ultimately bring glory to the Lord as well. Yes, Christmas was originally a pagan holiday which is the reason why many of our Christmas traditions today stem from pagan traditions. It was known as winter solstice by the pagans but when early Christians were converted they made that holiday a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus (we really don‘t know His actual birthday). Winter solstice is derived from Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) and it happens Dec 20-25. Pagan cultures celebrated this day because they feared the sun was leaving them (due to the shorter days) until Winter Solstice happened when they received a little extra sunshine. Fortunately, we know the One who made the sun!
Everyone has great ideas here as to how they are using this day to center around the Lord. I encourage you to turn your lights on to welcome people to your home that you would never normally talk to; take this opportunity to build a relationship with them and treat your neighborhood as a mission field. This may be the only time they come to you. Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it SHINE!

The Things We Do said...

As a mom of older children than yours I can tell you that at first it was really hard for us to be for-runners in our family and group of friends for not celebrating Halloween. The way it happened for us though was that we were trying to teach our children the real meaning of all the holidays. When Halloween came, like you I couldn't find anything good and God tells us to not set any unclean thing before our eyes. My babies were also terrified of what came to our door that night and in the stores as well.

I would just encourage others to not feel like you have to come up with something different. Just because the world has a holiday doesn't mean you have to come up with an alternative. I think we have too much guilt as mothers. We think that if we don't celebrate Halloween that all our great mothering through the rest of the year somehow doesn't quite add up to enough. Others will make us feel this way as well by there reactions when they find out we don't celebrate it.

Our church doesn't have a harvest party of any sort. As a family we have studied the life of Martin Luther and the Reformation. Being that Oct. 31st is Reformation Day, we celebrate that instead. It's a wonderful way to bring something important to our attention on a day that is geared towards being distracted from this spiritual history that we have in Reformation Day. We also take our kids out to dinner to the restaurant of their choice so that we can avoid trick-or-treators. It's a fun family tradition now.

My kids have asked at times if they can dress up to go out to dinner since it's the one night you can get away with wearing a costume to a restaurant and we let them if they choose to. We aren't against dress up clothes, in fact we have a whole tub of them for every day play.

Aside from the evil, I'm also happy to avoid all the candy. I'm not happy about how Hallmark and others have turned some of our holidays into candy holidays. My kids surely don't need more candy and they don't need to go get it from strangers in this day and age.

Bay said...

Thank you, Monica, for having such a thoughtful and respectful post. It is such a personal choice for every Christian family to decide what is right for them.

Growing up, my mom loved to decorate for harvest-time and we always had pumpkins and the like around. My parents are pastors of our church, and the church always hosted a 'Hallelujah night' party that was open to the community. Since it was an opportunity to witness to neighborhood children, there were scary or inappropriate costumes that would come in, but we understood and no one looked down on those children. We were always thrilled that we got to choose a costume of either a Bible character or an animal or something. I never felt like I was 'missing out' by not trick-or-treating!

I think I was "Queen Esther" three years in a row. ;)

blessedmommie said...

I wanted to recommend a book called Redeeming Halloween, by Kim Wier and Pam McCune (sp?) published by Focus on the Family. It is very thought-provoking and full of many ideas to shine a light in your neighborhood on a dark night. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas!
~Tiffany

Jenn said...

At our house, we celebrate more in an Autumn Harvest fashion than Halloween with pumpkins, delicious rich hues of gold and rust autumn leaves, hay bails, apple picking, cider and spice donuts. Mmm. It's the perfect prelude to Thanksgiving!

Our children do dress up in "friendly" costumes - like those of our youth - doctor, clown, train conductor, princess, etc. And we visit the neighbors next door and across the street.
I really dislike the candy...so we usually hand out inexpensive friendly toys: tops, crayons, kazoos, etc.

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

Michelle said...

When my boys were young, we opted out of the Halloween celebrations; however, we did attend the event that our church had planned. The activities were more of a fall festival but the children were allowed to dress up as a character from the Bible. That type of dressing up was fun and educational for the children.

Joani said...

We don't have any kids, but debate whether or not to hand out candy. Last year we tried, but were disappointed with unsupervised kids coming by multiple times, even adults TOTing and some inconsiderate behavior when we ran out of candy. Our neighborhood is large & well lit so a lot of people come, park and TOT when they don't live here.

This year we're thinking we'll make some treat bags (individual bags of Teddy Grahams & fall themed stickers) and bring them to the kids on our block in the early afternoon and just let them know we won't be opening the door to TOTers. We like the opportunity for interaction with our neighbors and would like to take advantage of it, but not the same way this year.

Anonymous said...

I think reformation day celebration sounds great! I also think a special dinner out at a resteraunt is great too and possibly letting them dress up for that as another commented they can get away with it on that day! LOL!!! =)

I also think upon what jesus might do on a day where many unsaved are out and about. Sometimes you meet neighbors you have never even met yet on this day. We often don't answer our doors or put a sighn up that says no candy here but after pondering that I think for me now as I think about it is kind off unloving pretending we aren't home when we are. I think another good alternative could be having the kids get dressed up and passing candy out to whoever comes to the door with a smile and a tract. Your being friendly, not avoiding neighbors and people in town and spreading the good news and hopefully the start of building upon relationships that can start from friendly loving,warm hellos. God is love so in all we aught to act in love to our neighbor. perhaps somehow tying those things together to make it a special memory and legacy for our families that for generations would be passed down for future generations to come.

Great suggestions and great topic so we can all share! =) Thanks so much, and you have such a lovely blog and family...god bless richly!

~momto4

Rambling Girl said...

Loved reading your post on this subject. I am 47 and a Methodist Preachers daughter. When I was real young we had fall festivals at our church and I can remember dressing up as a witch. I also remember the youth had a hauted house, fishing was also, cake walk, country store with homemade jams and other items. We had gospel sings also there. But this was in the 1960's and things have changed so much now. I really believe halloween is what you make it to be now. What your life represents as in a new season. Not something evil and bad. Some people take it to the estreme as a cult or something. But with the times from when it first was started till today, the different feelings have changed. I do think each has there own belief and I respect that. I hold nothing against anyone not celebrating it but I don't like some to judge me as a bad person as some do.
Again I really love your post and your whole blog. You really inspire me in my beliefs to love the lord more and talk more openly about God. I love reading all about your family and the things you do. Some days I go to different blogs and just read from the past blogs and I do this alot with yours. So inspirational.
Thanks you again for posting your thoughts on this and other matters. You truely are a beautiful person. I hope we can become good friends down the road. I hope you don't take my post as being offensive because it is not intended. I express things better in person than writing.
Hugs
Beth

Alpaca Farmgirl said...

Hi Monica,
I love Mrs. Sharp's Traditions! What a great book with some excellent ideas. I hope to celebrate St. Lucia day this year. Have you tried any of the recipes from the book? I would like to.

You have a wonderful blog! Thanks for inspiring me.