Wednesday, October 21

i have a confession... i dislike halloween



Gasp!

I realize I'm basically alone out here on this little island of dislike, but as much as I have tried, I cannot shake the uneasy feelings I have towards the holiday. 

We have basically been able to ignore that it exists until now. For the last couple of years, we've handled Halloween as a time to dress up as your favorite character and receive/give candy from/to friends at school, never really referring to it as Halloween. This year however, Little J is old enough to comprehend wearing costumes, trick or treating, etc. in honor of the Halloween holiday. Even more, he is thrilled about it. 

I will not lie, I cringe at the very mention of the word. Hall-o-ween. Every time that he says it, I tell him Mommy doesn't like Halloween but offer him no real reason as to why I don't. Possibly because I'm divided. What he is doing at school - dressing up as Spiderman, carving pumpkins, playing games, and begging for candy - all seem relatively harmless, fun even. So, what's the big deal? Why the dislike? Before you count me crazy, hear me out for just a moment.

1) Halloween has associates
When you think of Halloween, what other words come to mind? Scary. Mischief. Spooky. Ghosts. Devils. Superstition. Goblins. Spirits. Evil. Occult. Magic. Vandalism. Mystery. Crime. Spiders. Witches. The list goes on. To me, none of these words bring me warm fuzzies. As a matter of fact, in all seriousness, these are all very scary. I know there are folks who truly enjoy being scared, but I am not one of them. And I certainly have no desire to make friends with evil spirits, devils, or ghosts, even if it is only for play. The devil is real and even though there is innocence in children participating in these activities, does the innocence remain if it's in the devil's honor?

2) Halloween is the night that ghosts of the dead return and cause mischief and vandalism. 
Seriously, this is the basis of the holiday. Based on some research I conducted, Halloween originates from the Celtic festival Samhain which represented the last night before a new calendar year. Ghosts would return, revisit their homes, cause trouble, damage crops, and the devil would be the center of it all. People would wear costumes to disguise themselves from the ghosts that may be looking for them. They would light bonfires to ward off evil spirits and burn animal sacrifices to keep their crops safe. Some however, welcomed this day of the year, hoping to communicate with the ghosts of the dead.

3) Halloween is plain scary.  
I know I mentioned this to some extent already, but it warrants it's own discussion. I am not interested in instilling fear into my children, on any level. (Unless of course, it's the fear of God - which is a reverential fear, not an I'm scared kind of fear.) Everywhere you turn - commercials on TV, advertisements, neighbor's decorations, the news, books, etc. have scary visuals. Dead people, witches, ghosts, gore, and more. I can monitor the TV and the advertisements to filter out the Halloween scariness, but it's frustrating that it's constantly in your face. 

Did you see where one woman's decorations were so scary, she may have to take them down? I'm pretty sure if I lived on her street, I would be furious. My 5 year old does not need to see that. I prefer he sleep at night rather than having nightmares, and I wouldn't want to have to explain to him over and over again that what he saw wasn't real. You think it's mostly innocent, but is it? An example - this morning while the boys were playing before school, Little L started to walk into the closet that is underneath our stairs without the light on (an area full of toys). I hear Little J say in a spooky tone, "be careful L, there are ghosts in there."

So, I'm at a divide. My children attend a church affiliated preschool that celebrates the holiday each year, not with gore and things of fear but with costumes, pumpkin painting, games, and trick or treating. I believe all of these activities are conducted with pure and innocent hearts - not one of their teachers is secretly worshiping the devil and communicating with the dead for the ultimate goal of scaring my children.

But I cannot completely let go of the possibility that the devil is secretly winning each time we, as Christians, celebrate this holiday. I ask myself what exactly am I teaching my children when it comes to the purpose of Halloween? I realize at their age they do not understand it's true origination, but is ignorance bliss? We are to abstain from all appearance of evil, does this count as an appearance of evil?

I do not have the answers, and have chosen - for this year at least - to not take a stand for or against Halloween when it comes to my children celebrating the holiday. Immediately, the verse a double minded man is unstable in all his ways comes to mind. I struggle with trying to explain to Little J why Mommy and Daddy dislike it and him being the only child not participating when it comes to wearing a costume or begging for candy. If we chose to follow through with not participating, I would pull him from school for that day and we'd have a family fun day. But, he's talked about their party day at school for several days now, so I'm not sure I could even shield him from it if I wanted to. 

Well, being the pushover that I am, I headed to the mall Tuesday to snag some costumes for Little J and Little L. I found a Halloween store in the mall and picked up Little J a Spiderman costume and Little L, Superman. It hurt me to give them my business, it really did. I hid the bag from Little J because the bag was scary! Little J absolutely loved his "suit." So much that he wanted to sleep in it. 

Do I want him to miss out on the simple joys of dressing up as his favorite super hero? Of course not, his excitement was precious. But, I wouldn't have minded buying this costume any other time of year for the sole purpose of having fun either.

I would love to know your thoughts on this. Is anyone else on the dislike island with me?
 
~Trista~

Linking up with Alanna

15 comments:

  1. I am not a fan of being scared either so I don't like that aspect of Halloween. Instead I focus on the pumpkins, dressing in characters (noah is going as an astronaut) and eating too much candy. Noah's school is also a Christian based preschool and they do a Harvest party (not Halloween) with a petting zoo, pumpkins, and give them cowboy hats. Then on actual Halloween they are hosting a trunk or treat for the public. I like you have no problem with any of this. I do find it interesting with what you say because I know that my son's friend goes to a temple for preschool (even though they aren't Jewish) and the preschool doesn't celebrate Halloween. The kids won't do anything related to the holiday at school.

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  2. It's always tough when it comes to children and definitely tougher when their school is promoting it too. Thanks for linking up.

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  3. I agree totally. I hate Halloween. "Scary" is not fun or good. These days it's mostly a commercial holiday; a day used to make lots of money from parents who are suckers. I could go on and on about that. However kids do like to play "dress up". They like to wear costumes all year long and absolutely love it. Halloween is tough. I did as you, dressed the kids in cute, non-scary costumes and begged at two or three homes (relatives). Was it the right choice? I don't know.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean. And you're right, it is a commercial holiday. I read some stats just a couple of days ago about how much money the retail industry would see thanks to Halloween. Crazy!!

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  4. I'm not a fan of being scared either. I'm not really into Halloween for that exact reason. I do like the costumes on the kids and find them to be cute. I like all the pumpkins and the cute stuff but I don't like any of the scary stuff.

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  5. It is definitely a tough situation. I am a teacher and I work with children of varying ages. Halloween, while it was at one time something to do with devils and ghosts is now a very commercial holiday. Its about candy, dressing up, and yes being scared/scarey. You don't necessarily have to participate in the scary or allow your children to but it is not going anywhere. One of the problematic things I have seen is parents wanting to shelter their children from everything. Yes, scary can sometimes be a pain for little kids but kids are tougher than most parents want to give them credit for. The lady has absolutely no reason to change her yard because children might be scared, that is ridiculous. Avoid her block. Some of my parents will take a walk around and check out the decorations to decide where they will go trick or treating with their kids because while some kids might love it others might be scared more easily. I like that you said if you decide to not have them participate you will keep them home, that's a great idea. I don't know exactly how old your children are but you might take this opportunity to explain to them the religious reasons you are not comfortable with halloween and allow them the choice to participate. They can tell you if they would rather get a costume and go to school or stay and have a fun day with you. They may surprise you.

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  6. I'm with you. I don't celebrate Halloween at all. Sometimes I'll hand out candy but more often than not I just stay home and turn off our porch light. As I child we celebrated Halloween until I was 7 and then stopped. Each year my parents would by my sisters and I huge basket of candy and we were always happy for that. For school, we were allowed to dress up as something non-scary, but we knew that it was only for school and we weren't actually celebrating the holiday. I don't feel like I missed out on anything at all, it was just something that we didn't do. As a christian, it is definitely a tricky situation though.

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    1. Thank you for the encouraging comment! It's nice to hear from someone who is basically my kid right now. We didn't do much halloween celebrating either - but that was mostly because we didn't live in town. Out in the country, there were no trick or treaters. Same for my kids today but I feel like it's a lot bigger deal in school now than it was when I was his age.

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  7. I definitely can see where you are coming from! I like Halloween - mainly because I love fall. However, I do NOT do scary! I can't stand scary movies, I am terrified of being alone and even scary commercials scare me. So, I understand what you mean!

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  8. i don't like being scared at all, but i see kids dressing up and asking for candy as harmless fun. but the haunted houses and stuff? i have had the actors break character and laugh bc i'm apparently hilarious when scared.

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  9. Girl I'm with you - not really that big of a fan! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  10. I'm not a big fan of Halloween either, I grew up trick-or-treating and I love dressing up but I can do without all the scary/gory stuff. Not a fan :-P

    Green Fashionista

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  11. I'm not thrilled with Halloween either. I like pumpkins but I think they're more of a general fall thing than just Halloween. I totally get why some people don't "celebrate" Halloween.

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  12. Oh girl. I feel you on this one. We've never been big Halloween people. But I also don't want to rob my kiddos of dressing up with their friends either. (When they are older and know better) for now B's preschool doesn't allow Halloween anything. They can't dress up or do anything Halloween related. The church (where the preschool is) hosts a bar dance on Halloween night. Guess we will just see how it works itself out in terms future.

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    1. And I did make them mummy dogs this weeks. Ha!!!

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