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Halloween, Church and Christian Rules

Posted on Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 by Jen Chappell

Harvest-Party-Time-338x251Every year when growing up, on October 31st, I won a goldfish. This was the highlight of my night.

Sure, the rest of the “harvest party” was fun – the candy, the games, the contests- but all the other activities were just time fillers until it was that big moment. The moment where I got to throw the ping-pong ball into the fishbowl, the moment I would win a brand new pet. A goldfish. Naturally, my parents would let me try until I won, I mean, after all they understood the importance of winning a goldfish.

It was a big deal.

And this was my Halloween celebration. No costumes, no trick-or-treating, but a harvest party.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think I missed out. My mom always created the largest bag of candy for us – usually my bag of candy was far superior to the candy bags the trick-or-treaters got. Mine was given to me, while theirs required hard work. Donning a costume, trekking through snow and freezing cold temperatures…

Fast forward a few years later, and here I am, creating my own family traditions. I get to decide what my family does or doesn’t participate in. I get to decide what memories my kids will cherish (or cringe at) later on. I don’t take this lightly, I really don’t. I’ll be the first to say I don’t know everything. But whether I know it all or not, I still have to decide how we spend the holidays.

That being said, I have chosen to let my kids participate in Halloween. As a Christian mother, and even worse – a pastor’s wife (dun dun dunnnnn) – most (perhaps especially those in the church) don’t understand this.

How can you let your kids participate in such a pagan holiday?

Don’t you know where it originated?

Don’t you know it’s Satan’s holiday?

Where do you draw the line? First Halloween, then an oijui board, then your kids will be practicing witchcraft, flying around on brooms…etc etc (I literally read that in an article today and it made my head spin)

Brooklyn Halloween 2014Why should I dress my kids up? Is it wrong I think my daughter is adorable as a little strawberry? I want my son to get free candy, big deal!

All of my wondering brought me to this – 3 simple points on why my kids are celebrating Halloween:

  1. Every holiday is evil
    Ok not really. But CAN every holiday be viewed as a pagan holiday?! Sure can. Christmas and Easter are the biggest Christian holidays there are. Is the biggest focus Jesus? I don’t really think so. To me, yes. To others- no! It’s Christmas trees, Santa, and hot cocoa. Easter bunnies and marshmallow peeps. Those amazing little Cadbury chocolate eggs. I celebrate Columbus Day and that didn’t originate from Christian culture.In fact, if you read about Columbus, it sounds like he didn’t have the best moral compass.Am I evil?

    Is Christopher Columbus evil?!

    Is 4th of July evil?

    That holiday isn’t about Jesus.

    Holidays are what YOU make them. If I make Halloween about dressing up and getting candy with my kids, no that isn’t evil. No, that isn’t celebrating a satanic holiday.

    I am the parent. I can frame what my kids think about Halloween. In fact, that’s my job.And side note – I’m confused – isn’t having a harvest party still celebrating Halloween? Just because you are stamping Halloween as evil and calling your celebration something different that makes you less evil? I don’t get it.

    Instead of keeping my kids quarantined from the evil holiday, how about I let them celebrate it on my terms?

  2. Everything is spiritual.
    A while back, I heard a story about a pastor who was on his way to his church and saw a homeless person in the street. The pastor stopped and told the guy he would buy him a beer if he came to church. Sure enough, the homeless man obliged, and five minutes later he was seated in the front row of church.Drinking a beer.In church.

    Drinking a beer while in church. I remember how excited I was after hearing this story.

    Wow, I thought, this pastor really understands what Jesus was talking about!

    I mean wasn’t Jesus all about bringing people to church? Letting them be exposed to the gospel on their own terms? Bringing Jesus to people where they were?

    I told a few of my friends and family about that story. Their reactions were quite different from mine.

    “How could they let someone drink a beer in church?”

    “Sure, that’s all a homeless man needs, more beer. That’s gonna help him get off the street”I was shocked!

    How could such a unique and genuine gesture be taken so wrong?

    I think we can find something spiritual in everything. I think we can find Jesus in everything. Let me repeat that. I think, we can find JESUS, in everything. In all aspects of our every day life. In fact, as Christians, I think that’s our job.

    Someone drinking a beer in church is spiritual. Jesus would have loved that.

    What’s spiritual about Halloween? How can we find Jesus in a “pagan satanic” holiday?

    You find Him. That’s how.

    Maybe it’s in giving free candy to strangers while smiling and welcoming them into your home. Maybe it’s about making their day better.

    Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t normally knock on my neighbor’s doors and have conversations with them. Maybe now, because I knocked on their door, because of Halloween, I can invite them to church. I can bring them a meal when they are having a hard time. I can spend time with them. Get to know them.

    Maybe before Halloween I wouldn’t have known what was going on in their life. Maybe now I do.

    Maybe because of Halloween, my kids can meet friends their own age, and later lead them to Christ.

    A little far fetched? Maybe. Or maybe not. All I’m saying is, as Christians we can find Jesus in everything. Let’s stop pointing out the bad and evil in what “the world” is doing, and start making “pagan” things about Jesus.

    Let’s take over what is portrayed as evil and turn it into something good.

    Sound familiar? Sounds a little like Romans 12 – “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”

  3. Stop being so uptight. Yeah, you heard me.What are Christians most known for?Are they known for being loving, accepting, and compassionate towards all people? They should be, but most times aren’t.

    Christians are known for a set of rules. Rules, rules, rules.

    Rules that don’t make any sense.

    I didn’t go to prom – because people get pregnant on prom night and dancing is evil.

    I didn’t go to high school parties – because people smoke weed and play beer pong.

    I didn’t celebrate Halloween – because it’s Satan’s holiday.

And we wonder why people aren’t banging down the doors of churches these days.

Why would anyone want to be a Christian when it’s just a list of no no no no?

After Service Hayrides
My kids will not grow up with a list of rules. My kids will not grow up separate from the world they live in, but live in it and make a difference. My daughter is allowed to be an adorable little strawberry, and no one will ever convince me that’s evil.

My opinion could very well change as my kids get older (they are now 1 & 3) but for now, I think it’s innocent fun.

If you don’t want to celebrate Halloween that’s fine. The point of this article is not to convince you to. My point is that it’s ok if you do.

– Jen Chappell

And it’s definitely okay at Roc City Church, where we encouraged our congregation to come in costume last week, and gave after-service hayrides. If you’re interested in attending a future service, check out our calendar for service times.

 

 

One Response

  1. Christian says:

    Thank you, Jen and ROC City Church, for posting this article. I grew up in the church, where rules existed for nearly everything – like you, we didn’t celebrate Halloween. It was evil. It was Satan’s holiday. Like you, I endured more than my fair share of “harvest parties.”

    My extended family struggled when our kids were young and we decided that it was okay for them to dress up. For them to go and get some hard-earned candy…which, in all honesty, was more for Mom and Dad in the early days…just sayin’.

    The great thing about being a Christian, at least in my opinion, is the freedom that was purchased for us and freely given. We have the ability to participate in Halloween – and, as you say, perhaps be a point of light to the dark world around us.

    Chances are, we’re not bringing the love of Jesus to the world, if we’re hanging out at a Harvest Party.

    Thanks again, for an insightful and thoughtful article!

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