It’s October 30th and my nine-month-old doesn’t have a Halloween costume. Before you chalk that up to maternal oversight and procrastination, which are perfectly logical conclusions, let me stop you right there. This is intentional.
Joshua and I have made the decision to skip Halloween.
This isn’t a one time deal, but one we were faced with when we considered how celebrating the holiday might impact our daughter and her future siblings, and one that we will openly discuss with them each time October rolls around. We realize it’s not a popular standpoint, and even many Christians defend the holiday. If you’re one of them, great for you. But that’s not the direction we wish to take for our children. This isn’t a judgmental standpoint we’ve adopted so that we can sit back on the 31st and make sarcastic remarks about people posting pictures of their costumed children on Facebook or shake our heads at a small army of Elsas and Supermen and princesses pouring out of a minivan with a fish on its bumper.
This is a decision that we have made for our family and for our family alone. And we hope that you’ll respect that.
Joshua and I use a system for evaluating how we should handle matters that are not explicitly addressed scripturally and that might be quite popular culturally. The system of Rs has been adopted by previous teaching we’ve encountered, and you may be familiar with it. By using three Rs: Receive, Reject, and Redeem, we can approach events and ideas thoughtfully before accepting or rejecting them outright. Let’s stick with the theme of holidays to illustrate, shall we?
We receive Easter, as it it a brilliant celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and triumph over death. There are some cultural aspects, such as the Easter Bunny, that we leave out of our celebration. But for the most part, we’re pretty darn gung ho about our Easter celebration.
We redeem Christmas, because it’s not a holiday that has clear Christian roots, though the Church throughout the ages has added many significant, meaningful ways for Christians to celebrate – namely by celebrating the Nativity of our Lord. There is much about Christmas that we don’t cling to, particularly the Santa tradition. But there is also much that we celebrate, including decorating the house with a Christmas tree and garlands, exchanging gifts, and participating in seasonal worship services. These are things that are worth celebrating, and that are a far cry from the solstice roots of winter celebration.
We reject Halloween outright because, frankly, there is not much room for redemption. Halloween is a dark holiday. It is a celebration of death. We are a people of Light and Life and see no reason to participate in a wanton celebration of things exactly opposite to those that we celebrate the remaining 364 days of the year. And PLEASE, for the love of all that is good, refrain from directing me to a blog post that claims that light and darkness should necessarily coexist on October 31st. I’ve read so many of these. Joshua and I have discussed them to great length. And we’ve compared what plenty of smart people have said to what scripture says. I’m not going to get bogged down in defending my point because you probably already have a pretty good defense for your celebration or non-celebration of the holiday and my words will not change your mind – they’re not supposed to. I will however, leave you with this idea from Romans 16:19, which says “be excellent at what is good and be innocent of evil”.
Conveniently, Reformation Day also happens to fall on October 31st and it’s a great day for remembering our theological heritage. We briefly considered dressing the kids up like rebellious monks and nuns, handing them German Bibles, and having them go door to door nailing copies of the 95 Theses to neighborhood homes but have chosen not to go that route. Do you know how hard it is to find a tiny monk costume?!