Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Halloween Dilemma

Unfortunately, Christians are divided on what to do about taking part in Halloween parties and Trick or Treat activity. In my own church family, the different congregations around the country have not all handled this tradition the same way. I have done some very limited research and have found all kinds of differing opinions. Some have ridiculed their fellow believers for taking a definite stand against any celebration, and some try to provide what is called a Christian Alternative. Some say  there really is nothing evil in this "holiday" and not to worry, but it seems to me that any intelligent christian cannot TRULY believe this in the face of all the horror-type costumes and images that proliferate at this time of year. I have been out in the mall with my youngest children (at the time not school age yet) and they were terrified of the animated mannekins in some of the stores. Even going to the grocery store with them placed them in contact with ugly masks for sale and decorations that a christian cannot have pleasure in.

Yes, when I was a child, and I was the child of a preacher, we were allowed to do the neighborhood trick-or-treating; of course we never dressed up in any "gross" costumes. I am right under 50 years old and have seen such a great change in the way Halloween is "celebrated"...I am practically to the point of not allowing my children to take part. They are in a public school with a great principal and the last few years they have called this time their Fall Party and Great Character costumes are encouraged- by that I mean they must bring a book about the character they dress up as. If they do not bring the book, they must remove the costume. This year I had to provide the plates and napkins for my first-grader's class and was told that anything I brought would be okay, but not to have any "ugly" pictures. In all the school correspondence sent home, no mention was made of "halloween"- it was "fall party." My daughter is in third grade and one of the little girls dressed up Princess-style and brought a rubber rat along as part of her costume (I don't know what book this was from) and the teacher made her keep the rat put away. Personally, I say "more power to ya" and applaud our principal and the teachers for keeping a strict stance. I did allow the kids to dress up- Julia was Sleeping Beauty and David was a race-car driver. Our local photographer that produced the pictures for Galen's real estate brochure had a food drive promotion she called "Soup-erhero" and let parents bring in their children for a free portrait if they contributed cans for the food drive. I did take Julia and David there in costume- David changed to be Batman's friend Robin (I got him 2 costumes from the thrift store very cheaply) - and of course the studio was decorated with spiders and spiderwebs...I despise spiders!!

I know this sounds like I am talking out of both sides of my mouth...but I really wonder about this. I did tell the children not to say halloween, but costume day, or something like that. I know kids love dressing up and you hate to disappoint them, BUT ... I really have a strong belief that Halloween as the rest of our country "celebrates" it is WRONG. I don't know exactly what I'll do in the future. I believe there comes a time that we must take a firm stand on some issues and bear the ridicule and embarrassment that may follow if we do act on our convictions in a way that most everyone else does not understand or appreciate. It will not bring any lasting "damage" to the children- there were many things I was not allowed to do as a child because of the conservative christian beliefs of my family. I was embarrassed about some things but I was not resentful. Even in our adult life, "the world" will poke fun at us if our beliefs stand out from the crowd. HEY! I am not ashamed to be a conservative christian! I am Not Ashamed of The Gospel of Christ nor of my personal convictions that may differ from those of other christians. I am glad I finally got over my painful shyness that I had for so many years.

Anyway, above are our free portraits from Uniquely You Photography, Choctaw, Ok

(PostScript -I just found a letter from the principal-why didn't I see it before?- stating, "This week's activity on Friday, dressing up as a character from a book, is not a Halloween costume activity. Please don't spend money on this event. You and your child have an opportunity to be creative. If the book your child chooses is about a cat, draw whiskers and a black nose on your child and put some paper ears on his head! This is a literary event. Your child's teacher is going to use this event as a literature lesson...I'm not sure you would want to send your child to school all day in an expensive halloween costume that could get torn at recess and not be available to the child this Saturday night! So, be creative and have fun with your child. Remember, any child wearing a costume without an accompanying book will be asked to remove the costume.)

This is Julia and her best friend in 3rd grade, Brigid- as Sleeping Beauty and A Southern Belle

And here are the two friends with their teacher, Mrs Frieson. Julia is holding the pumpkin she painted and decorated with glitter.

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