Okay – I admit (yet again) – I’m a big “bah humbug”
Halloween All Hallow’s Eve person. Some have wondered why I don’t particularly care for Halloween, so I decided today was as good as any to set the record straight. To clarify:
- I am not anti-dressing up in costumes. I had a dress-up box as a kid and I wore the heck out of that stuff.
- I am not anti-creativity.
- I am not anti-fun. (Hello.)
- I am not the world’s most uptight, protective parent. Truly. I’m not going to provide evidence to this assertion here, but trust me when I tell you this is not the case.
- I am not anti-treats, although I don’t want my kids’ teeth to rot out of their heads nor do I want them to develop Type 2 diabetes.
- I am not even anti-trick-or-treating. More on that later.
What I am is this:
A caring, concerned Mom of young, impressionable souls who doesn’t want her kids subjected to things that could disturb their peace and desensitize their spirits in the name of “fun.”
I am against:
- fear, and
- anything that makes light of these works of the enemy
- anything that leads my kids into those works of the enemy
I’ve read my dear friend Rebecca’s post about protecting our kids, and I agree with her – I don’t think a zone of perfect safety exists. I mean, who wants to protect one’s kids to the point that they can’t survive in the real world? It’s our job to help our kids to develop and form their consciences and practical skills so they can, among other things, navigate life out in the big, amazing world beyond the doors to our homes.
Still, there ain’t no way you’re going to convince me that I must – or even should – at least once a year, knowingly subject my progeny to the creepy, gory, scary, gross, and sometimes truly frightening stuff that can be easily stumbled upon Halloween night. Perhaps you disagree. And that’s fine. You and I can agree to disagree, and I’ll still be your friend.
In fact, if you’re my husband, I will still be married to you. More on that later.
Oh, lighten up, Heather. It’s just good, clean fun.
Sure. I agree: Activities surrounding All Hallow’s Eve can wholesome, and even good. We’ve participated in some really lovely Harvest parties, Trunk or Treat activities, and All Souls’ Day Masses with the kids dressed up as their favorite saint. But some things can also scare the pee out of a kid, and give them nightmares for a good, long while. Ask me how I know. Still sound like “fun?” More importantly, do I, as a Christian Mom, need to expose my younger or more spiritually sensitive kids to things resembling the demonic in a non-controlled environment just because society tells me it’s no big deal?
All the nope.
Perhaps what it boils down to, for me at least, is this: Hell is real. Some people will go there. Satan is real. Some people serve his agenda. Demons are real. Some people are bothered by genuine demonic influence. Evil is real. All one has to do is take a quick look around to realize this is true. I’m not too keen on watering things down to the point where we are unable to identify and avoid evil.
Now – and I promise – my thoughts about Halloween are not (NOT!) a judgement on parents who allow their kids to go trick-or-treating, or to participate in haunted houses, haunted corn mazes, and the like. You are the parent of your children. You are in charge. You know your kids. You know what they can handle. You get to develop your own family culture, just like we as parents do. My preference, as a Mom, is to try to err on the side of Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Okay. So now you hopefully (even if you don’t agree) understand what I think about Halloween and why I feel the way I do. If you still disagree with me, you aren’t alone.
Lo these many moons ago, when I still felt like I wanted my children to avoid Halloween altogether, my husband asked me to consider allowing them to go trick-or-treating in select locations. I finally, reluctantly agreed – with one caveat: If they were going to go trick-or-treating, the Renshaw kids were going to dress up as Saints or Biblical characters. End of story. Renshaw kids are going to be lights in the world. Period. My husband finally, reluctantly agreed to my terms.
Our alliance has lasted, more or less, for the past 13 years. Yes, there were times when I grew weary of fighting the battle (“Why can’t we wear other costumes? No one else dresses up like a saint!”) and years when we had babies and concocting an awesome saint costume was too much to deal with. We weren’t always a united front. But we soldiered on. Church Militant, and all that.
And now we come to this year.
Once the end of September hit, as sure as Bob’s your uncle, the kids began asking the questions – and complaining – about Halloween. Again. For about the 11th year in a row. And you know what? I stepped aside. I deferred to my husband’s judgment as spiritual Head of our home. He discerned it was okay for our children to dress in non-saint / non-Biblical character costumes for Halloween, so long as they weren’t dressing up as something scary/gory/evil, etc. And I finally, reluctantly agreed.
This year, we have an extraordinarily excited Captain America, Rapunzel, Iron Man, Robin Hood, and Piper McLean of Percy Jackson fame.
And, while their costumes aren’t exactly my preference, I’ll be saying a covering prayer over each of them, putting blessed salt in their pockets and holy water on their foreheads as I usually do, and walking around the neighborhood with them, rosary in hand. I even bought a little something of my own to wear for the occasion, because, while I may have lost this battle, I sure as heck ain’t ever gonna concede the war.
Be safe out there, y’all. God bless,