NOTE: Before you read this, I have to confess that I wore out not one, but TWO devil costumes as a kid. I can’t believe my mom bought those…
Today is one of my least favorite days. My family and I have chosen not to celebrate Halloween. If you want to know why, the short answer is that we are Christians, not Wiccans, Pagans, or devil worshippers. Obviously most people who celebrate Halloween aren’t those things, either, but like I said, that’s my short answer.
If you want a longer answer, I encourage you to do some research. Here are some links to get you started:
My purpose in this blog isn’t to discuss the history of the holiday or reasons for either celebrating or boycotting it. Instead, I’d just like to write about the experience of living outside the norm.
The fact that that my wife and I didn’t celebrate Halloween wasn’t a big deal before we had kids. Back when I was a classroom teacher, kids would sometimes ask what I was gonna dress up as for Halloween. I just said “myself.” Well, sometimes I said, “as a totally cool guy” or something and then clarify that I was only dressing up as myself. This was good for eliciting eye rolls from my teenage students.
The whole issue was slightly more problematic for my wife when she taught general music classes. She chose not to do Halloween songs in class, unless it was something particularly benign that the kids really wanted to sing. She simply chose not to sing songs glorifying the creepy spiritual aspects of the holiday.
It’s been trickier (no pun intended) since we had kids. We’ve often been asked what our kids are dressing up as, or if they’re excited for the Big Day. People have asked them the same questions. We just politely reply that we don’t do Halloween.
We’ve been chastised by other adults who have accused us of robbing our children of a treasured holiday institution (same thing with telling them the truth about Santa. We explain that we celebrate the Jewish holiday Purim instead (yeah, I know that’s kind of weird, but it’s actually less weird than Halloween if you think about it). Part of celebrating Purim is dressing up in costumes and eating yummy treats. Also, our kids continually have a couple buckets full of candy from non-Halloween occasions, so what are they really missing out on? Going to strangers’ houses and asking for candy?
Thankfully, our kids are almost beyond the trick-or-treating age, so we can avoid some of those awkward conversations.
Halloween makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like it. However, I’m not offended by those who celebrate it. If someone says “Happy Halloween” to me, I’m not offended. I realize they’re just being nice, and I appreciate it. If people put up Halloween decorations on their property, their business’ property, or even--gasp--public property, I don’t really care. I don’t like it, but I’m not traumatized by it, either.
I don’t think people are going to hell if they celebrate Halloween. I don’t think Christians who let their kids dress up and go trick-or-treating are bad parents. I don’t judge them, but I just choose not to participate.
Frankly, it would be easier to just go with the flow and celebrate like everyone else, but my conscience won’t let me. If you want to celebrate Halloween, that’s fine. Two things I ask: don’t come down on me for not celebrating, and don’t come down on me for saying “Merry Christmas.”
I've included some old blogs along with the new. Should you ever find yourself suffering from insomnia, this is the place for you! That's as poetic as I get...