Yikes…it’s Halloween week. Boo…I don’t want to scare you. Spooky and scary are everywhere. Do you ever feel like this is not exactly the tradition you should be engaged in? I did. But, well…maybe just a little costume and candy will be okay. How harmful can it be after all?
Jesus reminds us in Mark 7:8-9, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”
And He said to them, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions.”
When reading this scripture this week it reminded me of Halloween (I guess because it is this week).
I dislike the week of Halloween. It is spooky and evil and I detest spooky and evil. As a Christian however, I have done exactly what Jesus is talking about in the scriptures mentioned above. I have observed traditions, setting aside the commands of God.
When I had young children, we would observe the fun parts of Halloween, dressing up and walking the street of our neighborhood knocking on doors. I say street because we lived on a cul-de-sac and that is the one road we would go door to door to say “Trick or treat.” Usually joining our next door neighbors, and their kids we would watch the kids go to the door with smiles on their faces ringing the doorbell, waiting in anticipation.
After the trick or treating was over, we would then pack up in the car and head across town to visit their Grandmother. She looked forward to seeing the cute costumes the kids were wearing every year. I’ll never forget the year she actually made my daughter Melissa’s costume. She went as Raggedy Ann and we didn’t have to even buy a red wig because she was born with beautiful red hair. This proud mom watched her win the costume contest that one year.
We would leave grandmother’s and drive over to our church for the fun Fall Festival. There would be bobbing for apples, fishing for surprises in the little baby pool pond, and toss the bean bags and so much more. We even had something for the adults. Remember the cake walks where you walked around in a circle until the music stopped and one person would win a cake or some sort of goodies? Hotdogs and chips would be served for the whole church family and our friends. This was our way of gathering to break bread together. The kids would run up and down the gym floors playing with their friends from church and always come home with a big bag of candy.
What has happened to the churches doing Fall Festivals anymore?
A few years later after making the transition to a much bigger church, we would have a big Fall Festival. My teen kids loved it. Our church parking lot turned into the Fairgrounds. From big Ferris wheel rides to the Merry Go Round for the little ones, and all in between. We had any kind of food you could imagine from vendors across our city and long tables set up to serve the whole community. Our Sunday school classes volunteered to run all the games and events, we had prayer tents where we prayed with the community in their direst needs and the Lord was shared. Music, oh yes, we had music all the way from the Kids Praise band playing, local small groups to even our beautiful choir singing like angels from above.
Friday is Halloween.
For the last couple of years, now that my kids are grown and no longer go Trick or Treating, there is a part of me relieved. Halloween has never been my favorite holiday, if you want to call it that. I do buy candy for the kids in my neighborhood and we have many many kids ringing our doorbell for quite a few hours. The doorbell rings and standing at the door are the cute little kids hoping someone will open the door, so they can gleefully say those all so familiar words, “Trick or Treat!” Then holding their little bags open, they are hoping they will get more than just one piece of candy and of course hoping for something they love to eat.
Most of the costumes are cute and I love to see the littlest ones with the looks on their innocent faces not really understanding what all of this is about. However, mom and dad say it’s okay so it must be okay to go up to a strangers house and ring their doorbell and ask for candy. How crazy is that anyway? When I write it down it sounds pretty ludicrous that we would even allow our small kids to do it, much less take them. : ) Please know, I am not judging; I did it too. But, when we teach our kids all their life “Don’t talk to strangers, especially if they try to give you candy, don’t ever accept it! Get away as quickly as possible,” and then take them to do it, it is a little contradictory. We don’t want our kids abducted and try teaching them stranger danger, all their young lives. As I write this I find the logic of this quite rediculous and it just shows that we many times go along with tradition, without understanding the true meaning or the possible outcomes. I guess we make it okay to our kids, because mom and dad say it’s okay, but how many kids actually do everything we tell them to do anyway. Duh. It’s just like Satan to use his holiday, the day of evil to lure kids to taking candy from strangers and making us believe it’s okay.
Enough of that.
It is just a little insane, how we fall into the traps and somehow make it out for something good and fun. However, the traditions go on and my favorite part of Halloween now is seeing my precious little grand babies. My sweet four year old has lightened up our life and we love to see her prance around in her costume. We try to give special surprises to her, not just the candy we give to everyone else. Now, we have a new little one and this is her first year to join her big sister. I can’t wait to see them; they light up my world and bring joy to my heart. This year however, we aren’t staying home, not because we don’t want to see the cute little children, but because we have a football game to go to where we get to watch our youngest daughter prance across the field as a Colorguard, in her costume. We will head over first to see our cute little Evie and Savannah in their precious costumes as they are starting their own traditions on Halloween.
I will never forget the memories made on Halloween with my children, nor even my own childhood memories. I hope my children will mostly remember the Fall Festivals we attended at church. I didn’t, however want them to miss the door to door fun either. But, over the past few years I have noticed that churches aren’t doing the Festivals as much as they used to, and our neighborhoods are full of Trick or treaters.
So, whatever happened to Fall Festivals? Please leave a comment below if your church is still having one this year and what you are doing to help make this year spiritual, not spooky.
I pray for all those who are reading this post. Help us Lord to fall after your traditions, not man’s traditions. Don’t let Satan trap us or our kids into believing that Halloween is just a fun holiday. It is an evil holiday, based on Paganism. Forgive us Christians Lord, as we know better, but still allow a little bit of the world to influence our decisions. I pray for protection of our children. May we bring back a safe environment for our children to experience the fun of dressing up in costumes and receiving candy, not from strangers, but from Your people serving the community. I lift up the churches across the nation to help make a difference in the lives our the future generations.
I love You Lord and lift this day up to You.
In Jesus name.
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