I remember growing up in the Bible Belt in a very conservative denomination where Halloween was not celebrated. My grandfather being a pastor in this denomination made things even more taboo to dress up and participate in the trick or treating going on in the neighborhood. Now my memories (which could be wrong and often are) tell me that we were not allowed to dress up and participate but I also have seen pictures of me wearing a witches costume with some friends. I am not exactly sure how that happened because surely if my parents were going to dress me up for any sort of participation, they would have dressed me as the angel I already was, certainly not a witch. But there are pictures to prove it! Hopefully my grandfather has never seen them, I mean he disowned me and said I was going to Hell for getting my ears pierced when I was 13 (he has since changed his mind about this).
I vaguely recall going to some fall festivals at my elementary school, playing fair-type games of bobbing for apples, dunking booths and ring tosses for prizes and candy. I also recall when our church decided to "embrace" the idea and started hosting a Hallelujah Night, very similar to the fall festivals of my childhood. We dressed up but by this time I was in High School and was working the booths so I just dressed as people I already was, mostly a cheerleader.
I would have to say that my fondest memories of Halloween though, are turning all the lights off in the house, heading to the basement where there were no windows and watching The Great Pumpkin and fun cartoons like that with my family. Even to this day, for Halloween, while my roommates are headed to parties and going door-to-door hoping someone will take pity on the adults with no children wanting candy, I find myself turning off the lights and watching Charlie Brown.
Pastor Travis Johnson posted on his Twitter & Facebook the following thoughts.
My Top 5 thoughts about Christians on Halloween:
1. Party all the time! Look for excuses to laugh and make memories.
2. Leverage every moment to show Gospel hospitality...as in a well lit porch and heaping piles of candy for the kids.
3. This is the one-day of the year where the whole community comes to your door. So, drop in a church invite in their bag too!
4. Have fun with your kids whether you choose to take them trick-or-treating or not (I am).
5. Hi-jack every pagan holiday every chance you get!...including holidays like Easter!
Travis is the Lead Pastor at LifePoint Church in Homestead, FL. I went to Lee University with Travis. You can follow his journey at http://www.travisjohnson.net/.
So what are your thoughts on Halloween?
What are your Halloween traditions? Do you go trick or treating? Do you hand out candy?
I would love to hear about it.