I grew up with schizophrenia when it came to Halloween. I remember being very young and going to a Halloween party at my church with carnival games and dressing up and such. I remember dressing up and trick or treating. I even remember times where we turned off the lights and pretended not to be home because Halloween was evil. Whatever Dobson or Fallwell or Robertson said about Halloween from year to year determined what we did. I’ve heard all about the evil origins of Halloween. I’ve read the articles and tracts. I think we even gave out some of those tracts one year.
I ran across this post from Michael Spencer as well as this other one that Spencer refers to in his post that give a different understanding of Halloween history than what I was familiar with. I thought they were interesting.
Regardless of the origins of Halloween and what each person chooses to do on that day, Halloween does offer a great opportunity for us to be in our neighborhoods and interacting with the people we live around. We can choose to create our own alternatives so we can feel good about not celebrating evil yet still having fun. We can choose to participate in the fun and go from house to house gathering candy while dressed up. Or we can find ways to build relationships with our neighbors.
What does that look like? Well, if you’re a regular reader of Elemental Children’s Ministry then you already know the answer to that question. It depends on you, your culture and your context. For some that means setting up activities in your front yard that neighborhood kids can participate in, giving you time to interact with other parents and guardians. For others, it might mean handing out hot chocolate and coffee to shivering kids and adults. For another group of people it could mean giving out boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts that were left over after a fundraiser as a thank you as your kids get candy from various homes (we did this one year… it was so much fun!). Use your imagination!
As an extra treat, here’s a video of our Family Pumpkin Party this past Sunday.