So, this year we participated in a Fall Festival/Trunk or Treat at our church. It was lots of fun, with even my husband and I dressing up to give out candy from the back of our van. It brought back a lot of memories for me and some reflections on my journey through the years.
When I was a kid (a pentecostal preacher's kid), I remember having Halloween parties at church (costumes, bobbing for apples, candy, etc.) some years and definitely Trick or Treating every year. We knew which houses to go to and which ones not to. I never knew anyone who got tampered candy or hurt from "bad people". All I remember is having fun. And this from a childhood that didn't allow going to movies, bowling alleys, dancing, girls wearing pants, make-up, you get the picture.
Fast forward about 20 years and now I was married and having children. Suddenly Halloween had become taboo for Christians. I felt conflicted, I just wanted to hand out candy to the kids in my neighborhood. What to do? Some churches thought we should acknowledge at all - so it was to be completely ignored. Others started offering Fall Festivals to "replace" Halloween. Costumes were to be bible characters or nice soft generic things. Conflicted my husband and I usually chose a Fall Festival somewhere (our church didn't offer one) and we did always stop at Grandma's for candy and maybe a few select neighbors. We taught our children the reality of evil (we do believe in a real Satan and that there is true witchcraft, and I even know someone who used to be a witch and then became a Christian).
Finally, we decided to pray about it and decide for ourselves. We decided to go with Trick or Treating around our neighborhood. We've done this for several years. This year we're back at a church that offers a Fall Festival. It was great. I saw all kinds of costumes. Everything from Power Rangers, Incredible Hulk, Fairies, Witches, and Frankenstein. We had a carved pumpkin contest and the Trunks were decorated in varying degrees of "scary". No one avoided the word "Halloween" and everyone had a good time (though my 13 year old had to take off his traditional clown costume because it was scaring too many people!). The whole experience took me back to my own childhood when the holiday was a fun time to dress up and get candy.
One difference, it was nice this year to have All Saint's Day (November 1st for those who don't know) fall on Sunday, where in my church we have the tradition of naming all the saints who have passed on in the previous year.
I respect those of differing opinions, I hope they will respect mine.
Labels: All Saint's Day, candy, costumes, Fall Festival, Halloween, Sheila Siler