Scanning e-mail one morning a couple of years ago, I saw a link to a roundup of viewpoints about observing Halloween in Christian families. In one of the entries I found a reference to my little book Let’s Shine Jesus’ Light on Halloween.
Growing up, our family went from one extreme to the other on how we celebrated Halloween. With our own family to think about now, my husband and I have changed our opinions on a few things over the years, but the overall thought is the same – we want Christ to be the center of whatever we do. We participate in a fall festival at our church, but don’t go gather candy from neighbors. We do carve pumpkins, but we always do one that is based on the book Let’s Shine Jesus’ Light on Halloween and The Pumpkin Patch Parable, and focus on what the light of Jesus and what He has done for us. We can’t avoid all the decorations that we see in the weeks leading up to Halloween, but we can talk about the scary things together. As believers we can still share and be the light of Christ during a holiday that is focused on darkness.–Jolanthe, blogger at homeschoolcreations.net
When I was growing up, Halloween festivities were, well, festive.
Actually, where I grew up—Anaheim, California—had the largest Halloween celebration in the country for a while. Schools closed, children painted downtown storefront windows and marched in costume in a morning parade, and that evening an even larger assembly of floats, marching bands, and drill teams paraded through town.
On Halloween night, dusk hushed the little orange-grove-turned-subdivision street we lived on, and then, as porch lights and jack-o-lanterns glimmered one by one, costumed children ventured down walkways and onto sidewalks. The entire neighborhood transformed for two hours. It was magical.
And at times a little scary.
But outwardly at least, Halloween wasn’t nearly as dark and violent as it can be today.
Still, some families want to give their children the fun of carving pumpkins and dressing up and going house to house at night (or store to store in the mall). They can’t prevent their children from seeing every one of the spookier outdoor displays (even our wonderful Cincinnati Zoo decorates on the scary side much more than I would like, especially for the littlest kids).
These families focus on the fun of appearing in wholesome costumes; they talk with their children about the reasons they don’t decorate with witches and ghosts.
They aren’t naive about the realities of the underside of Halloween and they avoid them, confident in the greater power of the One they belong to as Christians.
That’s the spirit of Let’s Shine Jesus Light on Halloween.
Halloween is jack-o-lanterns, costumes, and candy on a dark and spooky night, but Jesus is the light of the world!