Friday, October 31, 2008

Something that's on my mind today...

****Update: to further the discussion*****

I came across this verse last night at our bible study and to me, it seemed to apply to this discussion and some of the comments. It is Romans 12:2
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is---his good pleasing and perfect will."

People, let's get something clear right now! I am in no way claiming that I do everything right! I don't! I'm human and I fail because sometimes I choose what my flesh wants instead of what God wants. Sometimes I choose what's easy instead of what might be right, but hard. This discussion is meant to be an exhortation to make you think about something that maybe you've really never stopped to think about before. Some of you have, I know. But I'm also willing to bet that some of you haven't ever really thought about or looked into the history and true meaning of halloween. I did this post to bring awareness to the topic and to also share how God was working on me in regards to it and changing the way I have been addressing it with my family.

I feel like the above scripture really applies here. Now, are there things in my life where I conform. YES! I'm not gonna lie. But I'm here to take the plank out of my own eye. After hearing that scripture I came home last night and erased recordings of a few shows that I've been watching over the last few years. Shows that I knew had content that I don't need to be watching. (nothing crazy...just mainstream shows on the regular stations) So I erased them, and I won't be watching any of the upcoming episodes either. I desire to renew my mind. I want to see God's will. In order to do that, I can't conform to the patterns of this world. Are there other areas I need to look at. Yes! Who doesn't. But that's where God spoke to me as of last night.

I shared what I was letting go of because I think sometimes we too often use other peoples failures as our own justification for the choices we make. Other people should not be the standard. The Bible should be.
Just wanted to share something that's been on my mind this week....
My family does not celebrate Halloween in anyway. We don't do harvest parties, go trick or treating, etc. We have always totally ignored it basically. I was pointed in the direction of this article and it's made me think a bit.....

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
By Pastor Eric WattGuest Writer – What about Halloween?
Should you and I be involved in the celebration of Halloween?
Finding the answer to this question has been an interesting journey in itself. I interviewed several people and then researched what many leading Christian writers, authors and spokesmen have written about the subject. I also searched various websites like,, and to read what others might be saying. What I found was an agreement on the origins of Halloween, but a mixture of recommendations about allowing our children to participate in this super-charged media driven holiday.
The origins of Halloween are Celtic in tradition and have to do with observing the end of summer sacrifices to gods in Druidic tradition. In what is now Britain and France, it was the beginning of the Celtic year, and they believed Samhain, the lord of death, sent evil spirits abroad to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves. The waning of the sun and the approach of dark winter made the evil spirits rejoice and play nasty tricks. Believe it or not, most of our Halloween practices can be traced back to these old pagan rites and superstitions.
But what about today? Perhaps we can still learn from history. In the fourth century, Christians attempted to co-opt the holiday by celebrating the lives of faithful Christian saints the day before Halloween. This was a conscious attempt to provide an alternative and re-focus the day away from ghouls, goblins, ghosts, witches and other “haunted” experiences. Since that time many Christians have decided to allow their children to dress in more “innocent” costumes of pumpkins, princesses, Superman or as a cowboy. Part of this is due to the simple reality that in today’s Western culture it is nearly impossible to “avoid” Halloween.
Just before reaching a conclusion on the subject, I was struck with the thought that I ought to further my search and find out what Wicca, the official religion of witchcraft, has to say about Halloween. Perhaps they viewed the day as a simple fun and innocent neighborhood activity?
“Shock” is the only word to describe what I found. Halloween is a real, sacred day for those who follow Wicca. In fact, it is one of two high and holy days for them. The Celtic belief of spirits being released is current, along with the worship of Samhain (the lord of death) – both are promoted as something to embrace on that day. There is no question in my mind that to those who believe and follow the practices of witchcraft, Halloween represents an opportunity to embrace the evil, devilish, dark side of the spiritual world.
So after discovering this, what is a reasonable conclusion? As Christians you and I are placed in this world to be a light in a world of darkness. There is no lasting benefit to ignore a holiday that exists around us, but it also does harm to celebrate Halloween as it has originated and grown over the centuries.
My suggestion? Christians should be teaching their children (age appropriately) that:
there is a spiritual world filled with goodness from God and evil from Satan (Eph. 2:1-10);
life with Christ has power over darkness (I John 4:4); and
those who celebrate Halloween either are unaware of its roots, or are intentionally promoting a world where evil is lauded and viewed as an ultimate power.
To counter the evil influence of Halloween, we need to join together and celebrate the reality of the heroic efforts of Christian saints over the evil in their day. Many leaders in the past -- and present -- have fulfilled the mandate of destroying the works of the devil through their sacrificial commitment to Christ and His Kingdom.
Too, rather than “hide” in the face of evil, we should unabashedly and boldly create an alternative that is positive and uplifting; that celebrates good over evil and the triumph of God over Satan. We need to provide an environment that also makes room for heaps of fun while using the day as a “teachable moment” to celebrate God’s protection, provision and purpose for our lives.

When I say that it's made me it hasn't made me reconsider my decision to participate in trick our treating or that kind of stuff. It made me think about the fact that I'm totally ignoring it and not taking the opportunity to use it as a teachable moment with my kids. I've got some ideas stirring around in my head for next year on how to approach it in a more teachable way with my kids. I want to come up with an idea that will teach them about the scriptural perspective of spiritual warfare, and to celebrate God's power! I've got a year! If anybody has any ideas and wants to join in next year let me know. I'm excited to take this in a new direction and claim this day for God rather than ignoring it and just giving it to Satan.

Part of the reason this has all come up is because my daughter for the first year is feeling left out. And trying to teach her just the plain old history facts isn't really cutting it for her. I tried to explain it this way..... "Ok, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. But there are people all over the world who don't really believe in Jesus, but they still celebrate Christmas. In their mind it is just a fun holiday where they get to give and get gifts. But just because they aren't acknowledging the fact that it's really about the birth of Christ doesn't change the fact that it IS about the birth of Christ! So halloween is the same. Millions of people all over the world celebrate halloween as a fun holiday where they get to give and get candy. But just because they aren't acknowledging the satanistic history and meaning of it doesn't change the fact that that IS the real meaning of halloween." That helped a little!! =)


  1. My husband doesn't care for Halloween for the same reasons. He's ok with me dressing the kids up as funny little characters and letting them have a little make believe fun...but you can bet he'd never let a witch or devil walk the halls of this house. :)

  2. I am with you, girl! We've given in and let the kids dress up to go to school (cheerleaders, cowboys, football players, etc) but we don't do anything else associated with the holiday.

    But, just like you, we have not used it as a teachable moment. I would like to do more next year, too, so I'm joining your bandwagon.

    I keep saying I need to recognize more of those "teachable moments" in our every day goings and comings - and this is a prime example. I need to stop ignoring and start teaching. Thanks!

  3. I get what the article is saying. I just think you can do more than just teach your kids. We are going to our Harvest Festival right now. We are expecting 7,000 plus people. Not only will they play games and get candy, but they will be given the gospel message. Can't think of a better thing to be a part of.

  4. Thanks for the insight Shannon - it is a great topic for sure! I've had differing thoughts on this issue for years - hating the holiday and now participating in trick-or-treating with "nice costumes" for the girls. My mom has quoted scripture to me before that every day belongs to the Lord so in my heart I choose to claim this day for Him though I guess my participation in the paegan ritual of the holiday doesn't really say much for Him - not to mention how completely gross I feel when I look all around me in the small town of Battle Ground and see a culture who doesn't know Him, adults and children alike dressed as demonic, evil, grotesque things that freak my sweet girls out -- is the candy really worth that exposure - I say NO - now I need to figure out how to un-do this little tradition in my children's world - maybe our church will offer something that allows our children to experience joy and fun and laughter for His name's sake - to give God the glory - and maybe they will invite their friends someday... I'm proud of you for your choice - thanks for making me think...

  5. I'm with Kim on this one. We were going to head out to the festival but the kiddos were too tired and still not feeling too well. I like that they said on the announcement no scary or offensive costumes I had a little lamb and white tiger who if I say so myself looked awfully cute. My tiger had a lot of fun with all of the other little kids making noises of what they were dressed up as.

    The only other thing I would tell you Shannon is don't just do your research on the internet. It can be flawed. Wicken and black witchcraft are two different things. Wicken people do not worship the devil. I used to volunteer at a leadership camp through the National conference of Christians and Jews and I learned more through some of our activites regarding different religions, faiths, and belief systems. Now I know you probably don't care either way, but I think it is important when trying to say someone is right or wrong.

  6. We all know many many more than 5 people read this blog. Lets share, this could really get interesting.

  7. okay here I go...
    I totally appreciate your perspective, shannon. I don't think however, that by my kids dressing up and trick or treating, that we are 'celebrating', 'condoning', or encouraging Satan or origins of witchcraft, etc. I don't believe to quote that we are, "unaware of its roots, or are intentionally promoting a world where evil is lauded and viewed as an ultimate power."
    To see my kids excitement in dressing up, getting candy, playing games, etc...they are not putting satan on a pedestal. I do, however, think it is extremely important to teach our kids there is a spiritual world filled with goodness from God and evil from Satan (Eph. 2:1-10); and
    life with Christ has power over darkness (I John 4:4);
    I believe Halloween is a perfect opportunity to teach that there IS good from God and evil from Satan and Christ has POWER and AUTHORITY over darkness. I think both perspectives can have the same goal in claiming that day for Christ whether we decide to dress up and trick or treat or not. Don't get me wrong, I'm disgusted by the origins of Halloween and what many people around the world do on that holiday. However, I don't believe we are 'participating' in Satanic activities, obviously. I think my kids could eventually actually be a light in the darkness in sharing with friends who don't know Him while 'being in the world but not 'of' the world'. This is a hard area as Christians and not one as parents that we could ever be 'right or wrong'. Obviously, I think if you choose to not acknowledge Halloween that you are definitely honoring God. But I also think that those of us who choose to participate in dress up and parties are honoring God on that day as well. We can all claim that day for Christ no matter what we decide for our kids.

  8. first of all, thank you Shannon for posting this article...I've been talking to a lot of my friends about 10/31 and I love discussing it and hearing from others about it. As my kids get older, it has gotten harder because they ask questions (darn them!) They know I don't like witches, spiders, and the "dark" stuff associated with halloween, but I also want to turn it into a teaching opportunity.
    OK, here I go, don't hold this against me, but it's what we've decided for our family....
    I grew up not trick or treating, in fact, we usually left town or hung out in the basement at home until our church started hosting a harvest party and then we attended those. My husband grew up trick or treating, but we decided that we would not trick or treat. That was our "line in the sand" and I've struggled with that. I've heard harvest parties behing referred to as Christian Halloween parties. I've just decided to let my kids know that we celebrate the season of fall and the harvest, not halloween. I want to protect my kids from the yucky, scary, inappropriate costumes, etc that are out there. The harvest parties for the most part do not have yucky scary stuff. Our neighbors, the Condons, have for the past couple of years, set up a table in their driveway and served coffee, tea, hot chocolate to our neighborhood and just sat outside and talked to whomever comes by. I really feel like this was a great way to connect with neighbors, I'm filing it away for maybe when my kids are older..anyway,I'm rambling, but after a very chaotic, loud and sweaty experience at the harvest party, I've decided I'm done with those now too! So now what?? I'm feeling the need to be more intentional with my comments to my kids instead of saying "I dont' like halloween" I think they need more from me. we've got a whole year to discuss before next year!

  9. This might be totally random, or off subject...but I just think that sometimes as adults, we have the fun we want to. We watch TV shows, and movies, that are not christian movies. So many things we do everyday in this world that doesn't put Christ first. Yet, we are so quick to give our kids standards that we don't necessarily hold ourselves to. I can say this, becasue I know that I do it. Whats wrong with dressing up in a cute costumes and having some fun. I loved believing in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, trick or treating, when I was a child. And when we get older, we put away childish things. They are kids. Let em' have some fun. OUr Harvest Festival went great. Families that my kids play sports with were there. My kids secretary and her family. They all were either talked to about Jesus, or given some literature to read. Thats how you bring the light into the darkness. Just my opinion, of course.

  10. I almost kept my mouth shut on this one :-) I said almost.

    Seriously, though, this topic has been discussed in our house....more than once. The one new point you brought up that I hadn't thought about was the whole non-Christians who celebrate Christmas thing. I'll have to ponder that one.

    I agree with your sis though. I think what it comes down to is we as Christians are all convicted of different things. There is no black and white. Wouldn't it be easier if there was? My husband and I don't drink alcohol, but that certainly doesn't mean I don't think Christians shouldn't. I personally am very sensitive to material I watch on TV and read, but not all Christians are. I think it's something we need to pray about and see what is best for our family. There are definitely some learning experiences and teaching times here no matter how you look at it.

  11. Shannon, I loved your post.

    In Australia, we have never really had halloween here. Until recently.
    I was always glad, because I share the same view as you on the matter.
    I guess living in a country where celebrating halloween seems wierd, it's easy to not participate.
    It must be hard for you guys though. So it's a tough thing.
    This past halloween has shocked me here in Oz.... leading up the shops were filled with merchandise! Normally the junk shops will have a little bit, but this year ALL the shops had it. I was kind of annoyed by it, because I was grateful before that our country didn't participate. I guess it goes to show, it's a good excuse for the shops to make a few extra bucks :(
    I saw some scary costumes this halloween too.....

  12. As a family we have chosen not to particapate in Halloween. I grew up trick or treating, no harm done. It was easy when our oldest was young but as she got older she started feeling that she was missing out. Especially when all the kids at church were celebrating and at one point discussed trick or treating as a church outing with their small group. I started really struggling with whether our decision to not take part was a good thing or not. We had her do research and write a paper on Halloween. Then we talked about it as a family and in the end she was the one who decided that she didn't want to partake. This year we again gave her the option of going to her friends houses for Halloween parties and to the church organized outing. She chose to come with us bowling and playing video games. Our youngest, 7, looks at her sister as an example and is taking it as it's just what we do. Or in this case, don't do.

    I'm thankful that this hasn't been an issue for us. I'm thankful I don't even have to walk the costume isle! I can't say what we'd do if our kids were begging us to go. Or if we lived in a neighborhood. Or... or... or!

    It does concern me that this "holiday" is closing in rapidly on Christmas. People are going all out with decorating their homes to be "scary". At the bowling alley we saw a very young boy, maybe 7, dressed up as "the angel of death". hmmm.

    I'm content to sit this "holiday" out.

  13. This is really deep. Let's face it, most evil doing is done not on one night of the year, but in the quiet corners of peoples homes and to children, and women. Rape, molestation, murder, torture. That's an everyday event, we could all agree. I understand the origins of halloween, and get how us parents need to communicate to our kids, the real evils that are out there. What I see on the news the rest of the year, trump whatever evil goes on that night. Kim and I have a friend who came out of satanic worship "real satanic worship" and is a wonderful woman of God. These folks need the love of God. As I left our churches harvest festival, several teens were praying with a a guy from the church. I overheard the teens as I was putting my babies in the car, and one said "Man, that ruined my high!" That's what it's about!

  14. I agree with your new post Shannon. We are definitely all together on that one. Checking our own hearts daily. I think just like other "freedoms" in christianity, we have to know what things we can handle and what we can't. I don't ever feel like I am "celebrating" Halloween. We enjoy supporting our church activities, and enjoy seeing our community reached for Christ on that day. I don't have a problem with other Christians, choosing to ignore that day. I think we all make stands in different areas. I am proud that as a family you take seriously what impacts your children. We all have to make those decisions in our homes. I bet you are right that a lot of people don't realize what Halloween is all about, which in my mind kind of proves that they aren't "celebrating" it the same way someone who is trying to "celebrate" the evil of it does. Love ya, cant wait to hear about your trip.

  15. Kim, when did you stop believing in Santa and the easter bunny, huh?!

  16. Way to go GIRL! I'm proud of you for bringing up a "touchie" subject with Christians. I mean, come on, wouldn't we all like to just tip toe around each other on this subject.

    We will all have to just love each other through our difference of opinions. Because that's what unconditional love is.

    Boy Satan has really knows how to package FUN really well!

    Even though it's November, I'm going to be brave enough to list the reasons we don't celebrate Halloween. However, we do delight in the Lord on the 31st day of October and have fun as a family and make it our FAMILY FUN NIGHT--like we do the rest of the year. With no tricks from Satan but treats from the good Lord.

    You are a mighty warrior! Thanks for encouraging me to be more bold.

  17. Amen on the update. And if you wanted to make me did!

  18. I appreciate the update and I'm challenged by it. Lee Ann, I also appreciate what you commented to. Kind of the same thing...we have to let the Holy Spirit guide us as individuals on all things in our lives (what we watch, what we do). I'm really glad we've been able to discuss this.

  19. Shannon, you are right on. This is a pagan holiday that stems from worshipping the dead and demons ugh!

    Mainstream churches don't blink an eye about Halloween because they haven't ever taken the time to research it.

    At my job they all wear costumes and decorate - the whole nine yards. They can do it if they want, but I tell them I'm not into Halloween, thank you.

    We are at a stage in this country where Christians need to repent and turn from their wicked ways so that the Lord will continue to bless us and will send revival.

    God bless you!


  21. This is an interesting topic with lots of points to consider. I have chosen to celebrate, and am probably part of what has caused Em to feel left out. We chose to keep it cheerful and focus on the part of Halloween's history that involved the celebration of harvest and the celebration of ancestors. There are historical origins to the celebration of the wisdom and good of our ancestors.

    As for your update on what you watch, I think that's great. There is always room for improvement. I certainly could do better.

  22. You could do a party where you highlight the life of someone important in the church historically and play games and dress in period costumes and make it fun and educational. With candy of course!

    I have done a carnival where there was a play highlighting a certain historical figure, then games and crafts set up in booths that had to do with the time period of that person, the area was decorated to make it feel like the time period and we had snacks and each child left with a candy bag.


  23. Also, I just thought I would add, though the Bible definitely contains the word of God, the final authority should lay with God, not the Bible.

  24. . . .and the standard should be Christ.


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