Tuesday, October 9, 2007

To "Halloween" or not to "Halloween"?

Our kids are ages 11 and 8. When our youngest was approaching his first Halloween, back in the '90's, my husband and I had a lengthy discussion about whether or not we should dress our little tyke in some cutesy costume...or let it go. Since our son was only a little over 1 1/2 yrs., we figured we'd let it go. Then the next year came along, and we just sort of ignored the day. Each successive year, it became easier to not deal with it. When our son started kindergarten, we had already pretty much made up our minds that we didn't want to celebrate the day.

Now don't make us out to be scrooges. We both celebrated Halloween throughout our childhoods. But when we were in college, the town was known for its "witches convention" and big, secretive gatherings by those who were into animal sacrifice. The females on our campus were even encouraged to stay inside on that night. Or, at the very least, not to be out alone after dark. It was a very real situation. It convinced me of the evil that takes place on that night. I could give more details, but that's sufficient.

Back to our kids. While in kindergarten, we told our son's teacher that he wouldn't be celebrating Halloween. They didn't force him to sing the songs, and he had the option of making different art projects, etc. On Halloween, we took him out of school for the day, as they were having an all-day party. Our church had a different type of celebration, with kids dressing as saints. Some of the parents in our church agreed with us, so that made it easier.

In the years following this, we have taken that night as a family night. We take the kids to some fast food place with a playland. We come home and play games, with the winners earning free candies, etc. I have gone to Wal-Mart and purchased sale-priced costumes for the kids to dress up in when they are just playing. We just didn't want it to be a celebration of the dark.

However, this year, our kids are not home schooled. They are in school. Halloween songs are being sung. Costumes are being discussed. There will be parties. We are in the very small minority of people who have never celebrated this with our kids. Most people think we're crazy. The Catholic church also celebrates November 1st, which is All Saints' Day. It is a celebration of the lives of those who have stood as examples of living a truly holy, Christian life.

So I'm asking for your thoughts. I really don't know what to do with this situation. Having told our kids all these years the reasons why we don't celebrate this...how do we reconcile that our church's school celebrates it? And should we just lighten up and let them do this...even though that is completely the opposite of what we've always told them?

Let me know what you think!

*jack-o-lantern photo by Christopher Walters


Mrs. Darling said...

Hmm this is truly a hard one. As a Mennonite we were told it was purely evil. But now my husband sees nothing wrong with it so our kids go trick or treating to the neighbors and then go out to the church harvest party. I really dont see anything wrong with it as long as one doesnt do the witches and devil type outfits.

Children arent into the philosophy behind it all. My kids are dressing up this year as a ketchup bottle and a mustard bottle. They only think of it as a fun tradition. And I think maybe thats the way to approach it.

On the other hand 11 is getting at the cusp of actually going door to door. I dont know if you are only speaking of dressing or of going trick or treating too. But the trick or treating usely ends at jr high and thats when the parties begin. Now I will never allow my kids to go to a Halloween party in the evening in Jr high or high school. We already faced this with Wendy and it was a strict no on our part.

But to just dress up for a school party during school hours? I dont really see anything wrong with it. I guess I'm in the same boat you are. Should we or should we not, but since hubby has no qualms than that settles it here. The kids dress up and go out. I have no idea if all this rambling has been of any help but there you have my brain leak on the matter. LOl

Christina said...

John and I have decided to not celebrate it. We don't celebrate other religions holidays, so why celebrate this one just because we made it cute. We just rather error on the side of holiness. My girls do just fine with it. We talk about why we don't and why others do. They don't go to school that day; however, I let them decide about the songs and projects before that day. They know if it something they don't agree with or don't like they don't have to do it. Kinda tough when our Pastor's kids do celebrate it; but kids understand a lot more than we think. It is just another thing that we don't celebrate like Santa and the Easter Bunny. A lot of people don't get it so we don't bring a lot of attention to it. So it really is no big deal. We stopped celebrating Haloween when I was 6, it didn't bother me at all. I think I turned out ok. LOL... well maybe.

Anonymous said...

Don't compromise your standards.

Queeny said...

That is a toughy. I'd say stick to your guns. If you truly believe that it benefits your family to not celebrate, then don't bend to the pressure now. Lots of school kids don't celebrate traditional holidays.

I have a friend who's a Jehova's Witness, and her family never celebrated Xmas. So she never participated in any gift exchanges. But, as an adult, she decided she wanted her children to be in on it, so they now get a Xmas tree and everything.

Guess I said all that to say, do it your way now. Your kids can do it their way later, when they're old enough to understand.