This is Halloween. Part One.

It's pretty safe to say that I grew up with a strict, very Conservative, overtly spiritual mother. When I was a child, I was never allowed to celebrate Halloween. It was the evil, sinful, devil holiday. We shielded our eyes when entering stores, and she even had us pray over ourselves when passing by places with Halloween decorations.

We could never participate in anything Halloween related. Not once, did I ever dress up as child. Growing up, I was fine with it. It was just the way it was. It was what I knew. To this day, I know people who Christians who do not even acknowledge the holiday. They think that as a Christian, they have to stay as far away from that holiday as possible and stick to only Harvest church events. Obviously they way people handle this issue is different and will vary. My family was and is on the extreme side, which shuns it.

I remember early in my childhood, being at my biological fathers house. It was Halloween, and to my shock and horror, my biological father passed out candy to some kids. Horror of all horrors! He had me come to the door and participate by association. Heaven almighty, it was unthinkable what I had been privy to. I think I cowered behind him as he gave some kids candy. That was a long time ago, as we haven't really known each other since I was a little girl. But I remember that Halloween night and what a scandal that was.

To this day, my mom maintains her disdain of all things Halloween. When I had Caleb, I know I wanted to treat the holiday differently but I wasn't sure how.  I kind of had this issue with every holiday, but Halloween especially was different. 

When I entered college and made friends, we sought to recognize Halloween every year. It has steadily progressed to where we even had our own Halloween party at my house last year!

Some photos from last year's party:
Last year trick or treating with Caleb!
His first time.
Now Caleb is apart of it all, and I have sort of gone through our own little evolution as to how we handle the holiday. My take on Halloween for us is this-in no way will I deprive my child from celebrating in the vast ways that I was. In no way do I think he needs to be separated from the other kids by solely going to a church Harvest event (which I didn't even do as a child), and yet not have the experience of trick or treating. He can do both for the purpose of having more traditions and experiences. I think hanging out in our communities with people is beneficial and good. I don't think Christians in particular need to shield themselves from others or from Halloween. Every family can determine how they want to treat the holiday. But I am uncomfortable with segregating ourselves away from others. Naturally, I aim to keep us away from the icky dark stuff. Like horror type of stuff. There is a lot of dark grossness that comes out during this holiday. But we can do the normal Halloween type stuff appropriate for children. I know I was raised in an extreme, and that is why getting back to this basic level of normalcy is a process.

In general with every holiday, I have an interest to dig deeper into the origins and history as to where that holiday originated from and how it came to be. This can be especially important for a holiday like Halloween. It is my desire to try and make each holiday about Christ in some way. It's easy to do that with the other  holidays, but I have found fun ways to do that even with Halloween that I did not really do this year.

I am uncomfortable with this mentality that we can't be apart of normal and fun Halloween activities like pumpkin carving, having parties with friends, and going trick or treating. I don't like this mentality that says that as a Christian, I need to shun this holiday and everything about it. I know I don't speak for everyone, of course. But my frame reference is one of extremes. And to this day, it is an issue. But in my life with my son, we do things differently, especially holidays.

Today I was asked about how as a Christian, I am to be different than everyone else if I do the same things as others for Halloween. This troubles me because I want to be set apart by a spirit of love for God and humankind. I want to be set apart by the way I see people, or by my daily interactions. I want to be set apart by the way I think of race, gender, equality, etc. I want to be set apart as someone who doesn't judge or resort to criticism. I want to be set apart by my openness, willingness to admit fault, willingness to grow and recognize my mistakes. I don't know what the "Christian way" is supposed to be. I just know that I love and care about what Jesus says. And I know that all I really want, is to be like him in my life. I think in every family, we can chose to celebrate holidays like this in whatever way works for our ideologies and families. For me, fostering the atmosphere I lived in my entire life in regards to Halloween (actually, in most every regard) is not something I want to recreate for my son. I just don't think it is at all necessary. And I think we miss out on a lot by hiding. I am not saying other families who celebrate different are hiding, or whatever else. I am just speaking out of my years of experience regarding to what I have had to deal with.

So what did we do this year for Halloween? I'll post about that in part two of my Halloween blogs. I know, you're excited.

What are you thoughts on this?
Caleb's preschool parade last year.