As is true with other parts of my life, my thinking about Halloween has moderated in my adult years. When I was younger, I probably would have told you that I didn’t think there was any way to partake in Halloween festivities and still be a Christian. I don’t think that now, thanks in large part to many friends who have helped me see in shades of gray, rather than black and white. So please know that this post is not meant to indict you in any way for how you celebrated on October 31st. If you haven’t read my KIOS disclaimer in awhile, go read it because it definitely applies here.
That being said, Nik and I have decided to forgo celebrating Halloween with our family for several reasons.
1. I have very limited creative energy and sewing time. I am NOT about to squander it on coming up with costumes for my children that will only be worn for one day (or at best for a few times).
2. I know we could also just buy/borrow costumes for our kids, but we also have some serious ethical concerns with the the amount of money spent (wasted) on costumes by society at large. To us, it’s a waste of resources, both monetary and environmental.
3. Our kids don’t even really know what candy is. (Remember Ellie’s pencil candy?) We don’t see any reason to let them acquire the taste for it any time soon.
4. For a variety of reasons (no sidewalks on our street, our front door is difficult to locate, etc., etc.), we get little to no trick-or-treaters at our house. We see plenty of them in our neighborhood but they just don’t come to our house. Therefore, Halloween isn’t even a fun night for us at home anyway. We’d be sitting around with a bowl of candy with no one to give it to. What fun is that?
5. One of the true evils of Halloween? All that chocolate tainted by child slave labor. It’s hard to forget once you know.
6. Last but most important to me, I just can’t do scary stuff. If someone could promise me that Halloween would just be cute babies in bumble bees and little girls as princesses and boys as firemen, I might be OK with it. But I’m just not OK with dripping blood, glorifying evil, and celebrating death. I don’t see any way to separate the cute from the horror and so we’ve chosen to separate ourselves from it. We know our children will need to learn about the very real presence of evil in this world but it doesn’t need to happen when they’re young.
You can’t just say, “NO!” right? Eespecially now that Ellie is old enough to understand that something is going on, that other kids are doing something fun and she’s not, we knew we needed to have a family tradition for October 31st. Last year, we went out to eat on a whim and this year, we decided to just do that every year. We super-rarely eat out as a family just by ourselves (maybe 2-3 times a year?), so it’s a big treat, especially FOR ME!!!, to get to eat in a restaurant (no cooking! no dishes!). We decided to combine it with a trip to Loch Raven Reservoir to see the geese, and there you have it! A fun family tradition!
One of these things is not like the other! Somewhere, a farmer is sad, missing her duck.
At this moment, Ellie would only consent to being in a picture if we were being silly.
my precious, growing-up-so-fast daughter
stomping to scare away the geese, who clearly have been fed too many times
I’m not sure what will happen once our kids get old enough to have their own opinions about trick-or-treating, costumes, and Halloween. When the time comes, I hope that our willingness to listen to their deep desires and concerns will inform our conversation about how to live ethically and responsibly in all areas of our lives. If that involves one child or the other wanting to celebrate Halloween, then we’ll just have to work together to figure out how to do that in a thoughtful, responsible way.
In the meantime, Ellie was thrilled to eat the biggest piece of pepperoni pizza she’d every seen and I don’t think she missed the candy at all!
How about you? How have you solved the Halloween issue? Maybe it’s never been an issue for you? If you do go trick-or-treating with your kids, what in the world do you do with all that candy? :)