Christian Parents Are Divided On This Topic – What’s Your Take?

Fall is in full swing, and all of us – especially children – are excited about upcoming holidays.

There seems to be a sense of excitement in the air, and families find no shortage of special events to participate in with the kids.

But there is one upcoming celebration that has Christian parents expressing a wide variety of opinions.

Halloween is celebrated for just a few short hours on October 31st, but we’re sure you’ve noticed costumes and decorations in stores for months now.

It seems as if our culture has adopted this day as a week-long celebration, but for Christian parents, there may be concerns.

It is believed that Halloween began as a Celtic pagan festival to celebrate the New Year of November 1st and that the evening before, the worlds of the living and the dead became intertwined.  The Celts dressed in skins and made sacrifices to remember the dead.

As Christianity spread across Europe, Pope Gregory III moved All Saints Day from the spring to November 1st to focus traditions of the day from pagan to Christian.  October 31st at that time was known as “All-Hallowmas” or “All Hallows Eve.”

When European immigrants came to the U.S. in the early 20th century, they brought portions of these different traditions with them.

A hundred years later, Halloween has become a retailer’s dream as they find more and more ways to get Americans involved in celebrating what has become a purely secular holiday.

But this is where Christian parents are divided.  Is Halloween a fun day to use your imagination and gather candy in a simple celebration of fall?

Or is it something Christian parents should avoid because of its pagan origins and how our culture has given it dark connotations?

According to Off The Hearth, there are a few different approaches Christian families take towards Halloween.

They may feel it is a purely secular celebration that is fun for the kids and has nothing at all to do with how we walk in our faith.

Some believe that it is a celebration of life stemming from its relationship to All Saints Day in the Catholic Church and thus celebrate it in an appropriate way.

Others believe they should not participate in festivities at all because of its modern-day association with the dead, evil spirits, or the occult.

So how should Christian parents approach Halloween?

First and foremost, the answer is a personal one – one that works for your family.

Halloween has become a very commercialized part of our society, but that doesn’t mean we have to “buy” into what is being sold.

Kids may be influenced by friends or classmates whose families go “all-out” and celebrate Halloween for weeks on end.

Their friends may be allowed to dress as vampires or zombies, and their parents decorate the house with blood and gore thinking it’s fun.

But our family traditions are our own, and we don’t have to fall into the trap set in an overly commercialized day that celebrates things that may frighten our children.

There are many fun and simple ways to approach this celebration.  Halloween takes place during fall harvest time, and many families choose to focus on that theme instead of one of “monsters and mayhem.”

Experts agree that a sense of make-believe and fantasy are good for kids.  Kids love dressing up, and there are plenty of options for safe and appropriate costumes.

Make one with your kids from things you have on hand or pull something out of the dress-up box.  They’ll love it either way.

Some Christian parents who celebrate say it is a way to connect with the neighbors, get outside and spend some real time focusing on the kids, in a simple celebration of the change of seasons.

This is your opportunity to take a hayride and pick some pumpkins to celebrate the abundance of what God gives us this time of year.  Talk, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company.

Have a party for the kids at your home where you sip apple cider and make scarecrows out of old clothes.  Or have a bonfire and roast marshmallows with friends from church where the kids can have a costume parade and you don’t have to worry about what they may encounter trick-or-treating.

We know kids love to dress up and have fun with their friends, and many churches offer Halloween alternative events on October 31st.  This way, kids can participate in a safe and Christian environment.

Many Christian families do trick-or-treat, but they don’t go overboard with the commercial symbolism, and the nice part about this celebration is that you can tailor festivities to your individual family.

Whatever your approach to Halloween, establish traditions that reinforce your values and strengthen your family.

Have fun, and happy fall!

What is your family’s approach to Halloween?  Do you avoid it altogether or participate in harvest activities to celebrate the beauty of fall?  Leave us your comments.



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