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October 19, 2005

Christian Thoughts on Halloween

Tim Challies had a great post on this yesterday, and I was planning on writing this yesterday evening, but you know what they say about "best laid plans." Tim talks about John MacArthur's response to Halloween, and talks about his own efforts. He points out that, to many neighborhood kids, a dark house at Halloween isn't taking a stand against Satanism or paganism -- it's a house full of people who can't (or won't) have any fun.

Halloween is a big deal where I live now. It's a small town, everyone knows everyone else, and trick or treating turns into a big block party, where you go visit the neighbors and they give you candy. My daughter ends up with quite a haul by the end of the evening -- and we don't go far from home. Usually, our rounds end up taking us in a half-mile loop, and last year I had to run home and get the "auxiliary bucket" when she ran out of candy room in her bag.

Scary costumes? We haven't done them yet, and probably won't. My daughter is just not that type -- she's more of a princess costume type (Cinderella this year, along with a few thousand other four-year-old girls). I don't see a vampire or witch in her future.

"But what about the pagan influences?" I can hear it now. If you're worried about pagan influences, then I hope you:

  • Didn't throw rice or bird seed at your wedding.
  • Didn't do the whole "Something old, something new ..." thing either.
  • Never put a penny in your shoe, or did anything "for good luck."
  • Don't wear a wedding ring.
A LOT of things we do just out of a sense of tradition are taken from pagan sources. I won't even go into the various pagan roots of many of our Easter and Christmas traditions, because I don't want to get people started.

My point is simple. American culture is good at one thing -- assimilation. We are the Borg of modern culture in many ways. There is no such thing as a purely American culture, because from the very beginning, we have borrowed from others to create our own traditions. While I think that Christians should be careful about what they do and don't do, I think that stubbornly refusing to participate in a holiday that is simply a way for kids to get candy without their parents paying for it isn't a good decision to make. Teach your kids about evil in the world. Teach them about good in the world. And use trick or treating as an opportunity to share the Gospel with kids.

Just don't give them any of those nasty fake chocolate things that so often get packaged with tracts. If you're going to give tracts at the door this year, give the kids something good. If nothing else, the parents who end up eating it will thank you.

Posted by Warren Kelly at October 19, 2005 01:38 PM | TrackBack
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