Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Celebration

 
    Growing up, my family celebrated Halloween with non-frightening costumes and trick-or-treating. Many years my mother sewed our costumes. We would start the evening by first visiting each of our grandparents to show off our outfits and trick-or-treat. Then, we'd go house to house in our neighborhood.
 
    I had a cousin who wasn't allowed to participate in Halloween for religious reasons. I didn't quite understand why, but didn't really ask either. For us, it was always a fun and innocent occasion. Even as an adult, I didn't think much of Halloween. I carved a pumpkin and bought candy to hand out to the little trick-or-treaters each year.
 
      Then, David and I moved to a different area of the country and became exposed to an entirely different side of Halloween. Halloween isn't just an occasion for costumes and candy, it's a full celebration. The town even holds a parade in honor of the occasion. In August houses are decorated with fall scarecrows, pumpkins and mums much like they are where we grew up. But by mid-September those decorations are removed, and in their place come bloody dismembered heads, hands and feet hanging from porches, front yards transformed into graveyards- some with the likes of decomposed bodies partially appearing from the "plots," portrayals of demons and ghosts in windows. It's not hard at all to find one of these displays. Terrifying "haunted" houses are very popular as well. To us, it's all shocking and disturbing. It's just not something that is practiced where we grew up. It has definitely exposed us to the full scope of the Halloween holiday.
 
     We discussed how we would desire to handle Halloween for our family. We noted that even if friendly costumes and candy was the extent of participation, there still exists some element of the holiday which elicits a sinister nature of celebration. We don't desire to be a part of anything which would have that kind of characteristic. So, our son will not be dressed up in a costume and we will not be handing out candy (hooray for saving all that money!). We will be inside our home enjoy family time just like any other evening. In the future, we may use this night as a movie night and do a fun meal or activity.

      As long as we make the evening fun and emphasize togetherness, we don't believe our children will be missing out on anything. We have lots of other ways to celebrate the end of the year seasons and holidays. We currently have a list of activities for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. I hope to create a fall activities list for next year. We're always celebrating this time of year, but very purposeful as to what we're celebrating.

      (Note: This is a highly debated topic, and I'm not looking for a debate. I'm simply sharing what we've decided for our family. If your family chooses something else, then I respect that. I ask that you respect our choice and reasoning as well. Thanks)
      

3 comments:

  1. I didn't grow up celebrating Holloween and I never felt left out. My parents explained everything so well to me, that I knew I wasn't missing out on anything. I also live in a part of the country where there are horrible, gross decorations everywhere and huge celebrations. It's very sinister, and it's also very hard for me because I believe Hell is real, and to see depictions of it everywhere and see people celebrating it, is very sad.

    That being said, I always looked forward to Halloween because we got to turn off all the lights in the house (always exciting for a kid!) and do things by candlelight. When we were little we might play hide and go seek. When I got older, I just liked it because I could pretend it was back "in the old days" before electricity. Tonight we have a birthday party to go to, but if we didn't, my husband and I would spend the evening at home by candlelight, watching movies and I'd make apple cider. I know some people who celebrate Reformation day instead and watch "Luther" and have special food, and that seems fun. Like you said, as long as you emphasize family togetherness and make it a little special, it will be fine!

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  2. Hi Whitney. We don't participate in any Halloween related activities either. I did some research about Halloween back in 2005, when I was 19 years old, and I decided then that I would no longer participate in anything having to do with Halloween. It's not necessarily a popular stance to have, but I know its best to follow my convictions on the matter. Also, I certainly don't want my little boy (19 months old) exposed to any of these scary and sinister things on purpose. Anyway, I could go on and on, but I agree with you.

    I hope you have a great weekend!

    ~~Sarah in GA~~

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  3. I grew up very similarly - we weren't allowed to dress as anything frightening or evil (witch/devil etc.) but we were permitted to go trick-or-treating. My husband was allowed to dress up and pass out candy, but not actually trick-or-treat himself. It's challenging - on one hand I truly don't think that I ever associated Halloween with anything other than getting a bunch of free candy - on the otherhand, I think things have changed since I was a child and Halloween has become more intense and pervasive (our town also heavily decorates). One of our local churches was even advertising their "Halloween party." I love you idea of making it a fun night instead!

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