Monday, October 27, 2008

Tradition of Halloween

I recently heard that Halloween is fast becoming the second most celebrated holiday in America, only behind Christmas. Parents are spending huge amounts of money on elaborate costumes for their children. Churches and community organizations are hosting carnivals that rival Six Flags. Adults are buying costumes and attending lavish parties. Everyone is buying special Halloween decorations, candy, and bakery items. Old warehouses and buildings are being converted into haunted houses that draw huge crowds and charge outrageous entry fees.

You can read about the history of Halloween here. Consider the following quote from this Wikipedia article on the history of Halloween.

The imagery surrounding Halloween is ...... a rather commercialized take on the dark and mysterious. Halloween imagery tends to involve death, magic, or mythical monsters. Traditional characters include ghosts, ghouls, witches, owls, crows, vultures, pumpkin-men, black cats, spiders, goblins, zombies, mummies, skeletons, and demons.[11]

I realize that what I am about to say will not be very popular with many of my readers. However, I am going to respectfully give my opinion on the tradition of Halloween and how we celebrate it (or don't celebrate it) in our household.

We don't enjoy the traditional images that are associated with Halloween. We don't have witches, ghosts, skeletons, or any other scary images in our homes or on our person. As we have studied the history of Halloween, we have come to realize that there is nothing in it that we wish to promote. We don't watch horror movies or even pretend to be scared by ghosts, spirits, or monsters. We just don't feel there is anything to be gained by making light of scary and disturbing images.

That being said, we do allow Grace to partake in some of the fun traditions of the holiday. We allow her to dress up in sweet and cute costumes (princess, bunny, ladybug, etc.) and go get candy at friend's houses in our neighborhood. This year, we are attending the carnival at our church where she will play games, win prizes, eat candy, and play in bounce houses.

I know it might seem a little hypocritical to allow her to participate in some of the fun traditions of Halloween when we disapprove of the holiday. However, this is the balance that we are choosing for our family. Above all, we want to educate Grace about the most important reason to celebrate October 31st: Reformation Day.

Reformation Day is the day that Martin Luther posted 95 Thesis on the door of a Catholic church in 1517. He did this to take a stand against the unbiblical practice of indulgences that was being promoted by the Pope. This act started the pathway to the Protestant Reformation. This is such a huge part of our church history, and educating Grace about Reformation Day will be a major part of our October 31st celebration.

I cast no judgment on families who choose to celebrate Halloween to it's fullest. The purpose of this post is just to communicate how we celebrate Halloween in our family. However you choose to celebrate, I hope that all of my readers have a safe and happy weekend spent with loved ones.

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