I’m a Christian and I’m Conflicted About Halloween

halloween

I’m not a Halloween grinch. But I am close. Its a stupid holiday, really. In a nutshell – parents spend oodles of time, money, or some combo thereof on costumes only to run around and collect candy you could buy at half price the very next day.

While scampering from house to house you are treated to wholesome neighborhood decorations such as lifelike baby dolls hanging from nooses and pass zombies from The Walking Dead. In Minnesota we have the added bonus of freezing our hind ends off in the process. Then, when the actual night is over, you have to deal with your children’s incessant badgering with the candy requests. Yup. Halloween is the gift that keeps ooooooooon giving.

Its almost gross how much candy my four-year-old collected.
Its almost gross how much candy my four-year-old collected.
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For the life of me I can’t understand why a holiday that promotes evil (the gory, violent kind) coupled with evil (sugar, the substance parents are constantly trying to keep away from their kids) has risen to number two in popularity among US citizens. Evidently candy and gore now officially trump the celebration of a risen Savior. God help us.

To be fair, Halloween and I got off to a rough start. One of my first memories of trick-or-treating is my brother heroically swiping an apple out of my hand and chucking it into the woods before I had a chance to drop it in the candy bag. He gravely informed me that the guy who was handing out apples probably put a razor blade in it. I have never looked at Halloween (or apples) the same way since.

Every year there are news reports of someone discovering drug-laced candy. But no one should get too worried about that now that we we know sugar is every bit as addictive as cocaine. Why not double down on the high?

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I celebrated Halloween as a kid by donning the same costume of a blow up googly-eyed cartoonish monster year after year. Sometimes I’d mix it up by tossing a sheet over my head and go out as a ghost. We munched on bat-shaped cookies and made toilet paper ghosts in school. Sometimes someone put on a witches hat or plastic vampire teeth. That was as scary as it got back then. Nowadays its become a game of sport to outdo the neighbor’s kid in the gore department.

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We were one scary crew.

In my book, a holiday purportedly for the kids and celebrated “just in good fun” doesn’t need to be so increasingly glorifying of evil.  I get it that people who exercise creativity with sensational decor or costumes are not raising little axe murderers and are just having fun. Really, I do. But its not fun for little kids to be scared half to death by images typically reserved for R rated movies. Plus, in a day and age where we bemoan the rise of violence and decline in morals among our youth, it seems strange that we collectively devote an entire day to the worship of both.

Every year I am torn about whether we should even go near this holiday. I have read all the articles for and against Christians participating and understand why many Christians eschew Halloween. But so far we haven’t bowed out. The reason? Community. I agree with the argument that it is the one night where entire neighborhoods open their doors and interact. I really … really … wish we could restore this tradition to a holiday less, uh, disgusting and its my prayer that we right that ship. But it seems like the wholesome holidays are increasingly getting attacked so for now we are stuck with this one as the great community get together.

Every year I wind up choosing to overlook the bad in favor of the good.  I believe it is good to get out and meet my neighbors. It is good to have discussions with my kids about being part of a community without compromising their values. It is good to let the kids have a little fun dressing up in costumes and running around laughing with their buddies. It is good to teach the kids about real versus pretend and remind them that Jesus’s love overcame ALL evil. It is good to enjoy a night with my grown-up friends.

And its good to steal my kids candy while they sleep.

Here comes the red lion, pajama ninja, Elsa, and Steve.
Here comes the red lion, pajama ninja, Elsa, and Steve.

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Tammie Haveman
Tammie is the wife to a gem of a husband and mama to four of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet. She chases her kids and a menagerie of horses, goats, and chickens around her little hobby farm out in the Minnesota countryside. Tammie is passionate about God’s command to love and serve others in community. She plays an active role in women’s ministry at her church and serves as assistant director of a nonprofit that wraps around isolated kids and families. Tammie blogs about hospitality, faith, and serviceat www.twentyshekels.com. You can also catch her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.