He Said/She Said on Halloween
by John and Tricia Goyer
“What Should A Christian Family Do About Halloween?”
As parents, John and I always struggle with what to do with Halloween. We don’t want our children to participate in the pagan holiday, but there is no way to ignore it. Cottony spiderwebs hanging from trees and blown-up skull heads gracing lawns are hard to ignore.
Then there are the dozens of questions that lead up to the day, “What are you going to be for Halloween?” every grocery store clerk and restaurant waitress asks. There are also all the other kids talking about it nonstop–after all costumes and candy are exciting.
For years we did nothing to acknowledge the day. We’d go grocery shopping or hide in our living room and watch a movie with our kids (with the lights off so no one would realize we were home!).
Then there was the year that we bought witnessing tracks to put in the goody bags. Yet before we could it began to bother us. We were preaching without connecting. We were pointing fingers, instead of extending hands of friendship.
So this year–the first time in 24 years of parenting–we’re being intentional about our Halloween plans. We’re getting costumes and candy, and we have a mission. We’ve just moved to a new town, and we want to get to know our neighbors. We want to meet them, greet them, and offer them candy with a smile.
Tricia and I are parents of six children. Three are adults (24, 21, and 19-years-old) and we have three young kids through adoption (6, 3, and 3 years-old). Walking down the parenting road hasn’t been a straight line. We’ve sought God and we’ve tried to do our best, and the longer we walk on this journey we realize that “what we’re for” is often more important than what we’re against.
We used to be against Halloween. Now, being “for” our neighbors is more important. We want to be kind and approachable. We want to build bridges, instead of putting up walls. We believe that building relationships–and finding common ground–goes far in making friends.
We still aren’t excited about Halloween, but this year we’re letting our kids dress up. We’re opening our front door and handing out candy, and we’re going to strike up conversations with as many neighbors as we can. Who knows if these short conversations will be the start of lifelong friendships.
I won’t ever be a fan of Halloween, but I’m excited about using the day to build relationships and to connect. There are people right down the street with real struggles and real pain, and maybe offering a mini-Snickers will be a great way to start to getting to know them!