On my parenting blog people ask me questions all the time about raising children and about how to keep the feeling of love in their homes. This recently asked question is both timely and important to consider.
“Nicholeen, what do you do for Halloween? It seems like such a dark holiday, and I really don’t like participating.”
I love the quote, “Bring your children up in light and truth.” (D&C 93:40) That is the rule I follow regarding Halloween.
I don’t really like Halloween either. My mother loves it! I think it makes her think of her birthday. She is born in the fall, and so loves all the fall time things. I must admit, she made the holiday really fun growing up. She still likes to decorate in a cute way and take the grand children to the pumpkin walk in our area (a fall festival for children.)
History Of Halloween
Why do we celebrate Halloween? As far as I understand, Halloween was a holiday started by Pagans the night before All Saints Day, which was celebrated by the Christians. No matter how diligently the Catholic Church tried to make the holiday a good one, it’s members kept joining the Halloween festivities in order to supposedly scare away all the ghouls by being more scary than they were, or something like that.
Any way you look at it, it’s a superstitious holiday which focuses on darkness. It was a holiday from the dark ages for dark times. We have light and understanding now. The Holiday was originated to keep evil spirits away.
Looking Deeply Into Halloween
Evil can’t keep evil way. That’s a lie. Only good can. Evil doesn’t even have a body. He wants one, but can’t have one. The mere fact that we have bodies make us better and more powerful than evil.
Halloween is actually all about the body. And, that kind of bugs me. It is about disguising and mistreating the body. Nothing would make an evil being, who is at war with us, more happy than to see us not understand how important and sacred our bodies are. They are hooked to our Spirits. They are one soul. This is huge! The Devil doesn’t have a body and can’t have one. Misery loves company, so of course he would want us to ruin the great blessing God gave us; our bodies. Or at the very least joke about doing so and treat them lightly.
So, the start of Halloween wasn’t really so grand in my opinion, and it seems to be rooted in unhealthy practices. I don’t think it’s healthy to get scared. It creates stress and brings a dark feeling. The Devil is the author of fear, not God.
Also, if the Devil had a food, it would be candy. It’s so bad for us.
Furthermore, what kind of message do we send by going house to house saying, “You better give me what I want or I’ll trick you.”? If it were any other day, we would call the police. Sounds like a hold up at a bank.
Trick-Or-Treating Gone Wrong
When I was young I remember waking up at 2:00 am one Halloween night to a huge crash!!! We all ran to see what had happened and found a huge flower pot smashed through our bay window and broken all over our kitchen table and floor.
Apparently, my parents had told some kids that they didn’t have any more candy or that they were too old to be trick or treating or something like that and then this is what happened to us. The trick principle is not exactly a healthy idea to teach children. It creates hatred, and feelings of entitlement.
Safety Looks Different On Halloween
Also, what about not opening the door to strangers? This is a cardinal rule now days. When I was young, a man dressed in a gorilla suit came into our home one Halloween night and picked me up and carried me around. I was so scared. No one could stop him. I thought I was going to be taken. Luckily, he put me down and left after a while. No one knew who he was. If this happened any other day of the year people would call the police.
Okay, this one is picky, but who really wants to be a bad guy? There are so many gross costumes out there which I really think no one should want to be. Why dress up as something bad. We usually feel different based upon what we look like. Our insides are part of what happens on our outsides. Isn’t this why we have standards we choose to live by?
Last, the whole idea of the holiday is to fear the dead. Why would we fear the dead? The dead are our ancestors. People who paved the way for us and watch over us. Sure, death is a bit unknown to most people, but only a fool fears something he doesn’t really know. Death is a part of life, which if embraced creates love, purpose and happiness. I don’t agree with fearing death or the people I love who have died. I love my dead so much I am spending a whole day each week this year seeking after my dead, with my children, by doing genealogy work. I look forward to the day when I can meet my kindred dead again.
But I Like Halloween Too
Okay, those are the reasons I don’t like Halloween. But there is a great up-side to the holiday too.
There isn’t really another day of the year when the whole neighborhood comes outside at the same time and goes house to house with smiles on and gifts to give. I see so many people on Halloween who I don’t see other times of the year. I love to talk to my neighbors and catch up on their lives. I also love the sense of adventure it offers my children and the anticipation it naturally creates. Even if I only chose to go to two houses, my children would love to dress up and knock on the neighbor’s door.
I also love celebrating the harvest. I love carving pumpkins with the children and drinking hot apple cider. We make a dinner in a pumpkin every year which is tons of fun for the family.
This Is How We Celebrate Halloween
My husband and I discuss it every year without fail, because we don’t really like the holiday or the feeling it can create, but we come to the same conclusion every year.
We will not decorate in a dark way, or dress as dark things. We will dress up as positive characters to make the Pagans mad. (Because, they have publicly said they are angry when people make their holiday so cutesy.) We will look at it as a social custom which is useful in bonding with our friends and neighbors and look forward to the opportunity to get to know them better and be their friends.
We will eat some candy, but not over do it. Our main focus will be celebrating the harvest time instead of the haunting stuff.
The more cutesy and happy the better!
We will enjoy ourselves the way our family likes to by playing games and dressing up for fun together as a family.
We rebel against darkness by doing happy family things, being happy characters, and choosing to bond with people instead of scare them.
Oh, and we also watch The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. It’s the only Halloween movie we watch.
Holidays are so important for family memories and relationship building! For many of us, holidays are the reason we gather as families and often become the visions of what happiness means to us. Holidays are our fondest memories. The mention of many holidays conjure up feelings within each of us which excite us and inspire us throughout our lives.
Since holidays are so significant in our lives it only makes sense that we take time to look deeply into the holiday memories and feelings which we are going to create. Look closely at Halloween this year and decide what kind of holiday memory and feeling you want to create. What does you family need the holiday to be like to strengthen relationships and improve the Spirit in your home? Society doesn’t get to choose how you spend your Halloween; you do.