Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Celebrating" Halloween as a Christ-loving Christian

For a topic such as this and growing up in a fairly conservative, Christian, immigrant household, I feel the need that I should write a ton about this subject in order to be able to defend my position, but being that these are my opinions and I'm feeling incredibly lazy and tired, I don't want to.  Also, I think this "article" is more of an opinion piece anyways.  I will babble away though.

I personally think it is safe and reasonable for Bible-believing Christians and especially children today to "celebrate" Halloween as long as they have responsible, God-fearing adults who can teach them what's right and what's wrong.  This is such a generic framework, but yet it applies to everything too, not just Halloween.

As a kid and up until a few years ago, I never liked the month of October. I actually found it annoying.  I hated the emphasis on playing on other people's fears and scaring one another.  I found that black and orange are not aesthetically pleasing as colour schemes.  I was afraid of the "demonic" and the dark aspect of traditions or folklore because I had a very active imagination that would end up scaring me.  I hated the spooky decorations and frightening characters that were on display in public places like shopping malls.  And I hated how fireworks are sold during this time, mostly ending up in the hands of very stupid teenagers who will endanger themselves and other people's lives (FULL DISCLOSURE: I was once a very stupid teen who played with fireworks with friends.  I was an idiot.  Fireworks should not be made readily available in BC).

So what's changed since then?

I think a large part of my mindset before can be attributed to my conservative upbringing, which was heavily influenced by Christian media (eg. radio programs such as Focus on the Family), teachers at the Christian schools I attended, and especially at church, where the leaders in charged of the kids program wanted to distance themselves from all things "halloweeny" because that's a "non-Christians" thing on October 31st.  We're different.  Which means we'll just have a "Fall Fun Day" or some other costume-themed event on October 31st, which will also be filled and centered around sweets and lots of candy.  And if anyone asks, well then no, we are not celebrating Halloween at the church/school/whatever.  It's completely different.  It's a fall party!  No one has scary costumes.  We're playing wholesome games and everyone is going home with the same amount of conveniently portioned Halloween candy because that's what's fair.

When I look back at my experiences as a kid around Halloween, I feel like what I did at church at our non-Halloween party is kind of similar to what non-Christians do now at Christmas time.  Both "celebrations" are just watered down versions of what the other thinks the real day is all about.

And what do I currently think Halloween is all about now? Honestly, its about a lot of candy and dressing up in a costume because it's fun and even that sometimes its ok to act like an idiot because it can be hilarious.  Fear is stupid and irrational and I don't want any part in that. Some people love scaring themselves.  I don't.  Oh yeah, and none of this stupid, slutty version of costumes nonsense.

So what's the point of my opinion piece?  I'm voicing my opinion for the poor kid who's overzealous religious parent(s) is trying to stifle out of the fun of being a kid because you only get to be a kid once.  When I was young, I happily attended the non-Halloween, church-based "Halloween" parties and I loved it. It was great for me.  Nothing to be scared of.  Good clean, wholesome fun. And candy.

As I got older, I wondered what a "normal" Halloween was like and my parents very willingly and happily took me and some friend's out trick-or-treaing and it was fun (although very, very time consuming going house to house).  The last time I went trick-or-treating was in Grade 7 and I went with a few classmates with our friend's parents who chaperoned us. Her dad was a Lutheran pastor.  We dressed up in Wizard of Oz themed inspired costumes, got a lot of candy, and I was happy.

And what do I do now that I'm an adult?  (hahaha that sounds hilarious)

Two years ago I strapped a sword to my back, splattered some reddish/brown paint on a shirt, drew eyeblack lines on my face, wore my steel toed boots, tied my hair back and went to a party as a zombie killer (and ALSO attended Bible study right before that, muahaha).  Last year I bought a banana costume because let's face it, bananas are hilarious.  I went to a going away party as a banana on Oct 30th (I was the only one who dressed up, how strange...) and went to work as a banana, happily typing away at my workstation all day, pretending that nothing was different. And surprise, I'm going to be a banana again this year. If they weren't so expensive, I might consider going as a hotdog.  Food as a costume is hilarious.

Ok so my takeaway message is: Christian parents, guardians, chaperones, adults in charge of your kid's program at church/private school/whatever. If you're reading this, it's ok for your children to "celebrate" Halloween. Just make sure they know what's right and what's wrong and that love conquers fear and that people are inherently evil and stupid, yadda yadda yadda, Christ is the reason why we can be a light in the darkness and to be in the world, but not of the world.

And let me stress that even though I think my opinion is correct, PLEASE don't take my opinion as fact (remember, I'm the guy who dressed up and went to work as a banana last year (and will be again this year) and that is not completely sane). Search the Scriptures yourself, pray, get godly counsel, and then make a properly informed and biblical decision on what's right for your kids regarding Halloween.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2, NIV, emphasis added) 

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  (Matthew 10:16, NKJV, emphasis added)
The packaging that sold me on buying the costume.

November 2, 2013 - Me as a banana at my friends' daughter's birthday. Good times.

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