I find it irritating that Halloween is so controversial in the Christian community. As if THAT is the "hill to die on". A holiday where children celebrate by playing pretend and eating candy evokes such a strong emotion and ends up making Christians look like petty idiots. World poverty? The orphan crisis? No sir, it's a 5 year old dressed like Mickey and Snickers that we get all up in arms about.
In our family we handle Halloween differently than many people do. I am a firm believer that some of our reactions to things we don't agree with often stem from fear driven by a lack of knowledge. In our house, we talk about Halloween a long time ago. How the Celtic people of long ago celebrated there new year on November 1st along with the end of harvest. The Celtics knew winter was a long, hard time of year a long time ago, and this made them afraid. They also believed that spirits came back from the dead and caused trouble. To our girls we explain that we don't believe this anymore. We know God is in control and that when people die, their spirts go to heaven to be with Jesus, so we don't have to be afraid.
In our house, Halloween is used to celebrate fall. We celebrate that God has set us free from the fear that the people long ago used to live with, because we know truth. We talk about how winter is still very hard for some families and how we can help them to not be afraid. We donate canned food to the food pantry and take jackets we don't need to the shelters for those who might. We don't dress in scary costumes because we know better and wouldn't want to scare anyone who doesn't. We meet our neighbors, celebrate fall with the street festival and by decorating pumpkins at our local library. We build community by handing out candy and chatting with the parents of trick-or-treaters.
For a group of people who have been set free from fear by love and redemption, sometimes us Christians sure act like a bunch of scaredy cats. We think that if we dress up, people won't see Jesus in us and we won't be recognized as different, as if the costume was what was holding us back. We are afraid that if we let our children see the darkness in the world, the truth of love won't be strong enough to combat it. We act as if we don't give evil it's fair respect, that it might just sneak in and snuff the light of Love straight from our children's hearts.
But not our family. I won't teach my children that we need to be afraid, I will teach them to be more than conquerors. I will teach them truth, how love overcomes fear, and how we can celebrate being redeemed from what used to scare us.