Halloween has come and gone, and there was much discussion here in Indianapolis about what to do with your kids, what night trick-or-treating should be on, and other assorted candy and costume debates. However, none of those discussions happened in our home. Not because we don’t care about what our kids do, but because we don’t celebrate Halloween.
Yes. I said it.
We don’t celebrate Halloween.
You’re probably wondering, “Well, why not?” The main motivation for us is religious. No, we aren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses. We’re run-of-the-mill Protestant Christians, like many of you probably are. For our family, celebrating a holiday that has strong pagan roots is outside of our comfort level. So we don’t celebrate Halloween.
When I tell people that we don’t celebrate Halloween, I get one of two reactions. The first is people who insist that I am somehow depriving my children of a happy childhood by not participating in this tradition. I really can’t even take that one seriously, because anyone who has met my children, or even seen the pictures I post here on the blog, knows that my kids are not deprived of happiness. Seriously? Stop it.
The second response I get comes after I give the explanation of our religious objections to Halloween. It can be worded all kinds of ways, but what it comes down to is this:
“You don’t celebrate Halloween because you’re a Christian? Well, I’m a Christian, and I celebrate Halloween. So what are you trying to say about me?”
I’m not trying to say anything about you. I’m saying something about my family. We don’t celebrate Halloween.
“Oh. So you think people who celebrate Halloween are going to hell?”
Nope. Never said that. All I said was, we don’t celebrate Halloween, for religious reasons.
There are certain things in the Christian faith that are absolutes. Non-negotiables that are required to be considered a part of the faith. Then there are things that are matters of conscience. There are things that we have to determine for ourselves, and make our own decisions about. I’m not into religious debate so I am not even going to try to list particulars here. But something valuable I’ve learned as I’ve grown in my faith is that if something violates my conscience, I shouldn’t do it – even if others in the faith don’t have that same conviction. I don’t feel comfortable with Halloween, so we don’t do Halloween.
This year, we attended a few Halloween themed events for the first time: the Haunted House at the Children’s Museum, a costume-themed birthday party, and a fall festival at a local church. We had a good time at these events, but for our boys they were just kind of a blip on their radar – one more activity that they were going to with Mommy. As the boys grow older and realize that we’re not celebrating something that other kids are celebrating, I am sure we’ll find new ways to make this time of year special, even if it doesn’t involve trick-or-treating.
Even though I am comfortable with our decision not to celebrate Halloween, more and more it has become my dirty little secret. People get incredibly offended when you tell them that you don’t celebrate a holiday that they do celebrate, especially if you share the same faith. I toiled over whether or not I should even write this post, because if people are hateful about my decision to my face, how are they going to react when they can hide behind a computer screen? But ultimately I wanted to use this space to explain our decision, and to show that it really has nothing to do with anyone else, and everything to do with us.
I have very dear friends from a wide variety of faiths (and friends who claim no religious faith) who celebrated Halloween last week. I love them dearly, and I don’t think any less of them for their decision. Heck, I was probably on Instagram that night, liking pictures of their adorable kids in adorable costumes. It’s just not for us.
Some of my friends work outside the home. Some don’t. Some attend church. Some don’t. Some eat organic. Some don’t. We’re really not that much different from any of them. We’re just the family that doesn’t do Halloween. We don’t think it’s that big of a deal, and I hope you don’t think it is, either.
(I think it’s important to note that my husband and I are on the same page about this issue. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, so although I am only discussing my personal convictions, please know that this is a family decision that we made together.)