I'm not a fan of Halloween, mostly because of its pagan roots and also because it seems to stir up a grotesque fascination with death and evil. I don't mind seeing houses decorated with harvest themes (i.e. pumpkins, scarecrows, Autumn leaves, etc.) or even a few cutesy-looking ghosts or jack-o-lanterns, but I have gotten to where I won't take my kids for walks down certain streets because we have encountered too many 'dead bodies' emerging from their mock graves in people's front yards or severed, bloody limbs hanging from people's trees (by 'limbs', I mean arms and legs, not tree branches). I find myself getting angry about it and just wanting to disregard this wretched holiday and its festivities altogether. However, I'm also conflicted about how my actions appear to my neighbors. Does withdrawing from such a community activity really enhance my witness for Christ, or am I further distancing myself from the world and my neighbors, thus hiding any witness I may have 'under a bushel'? Yeah, I celebrated it as a kid, blissfully ignorant of all the history behind it. Now that I'm a parent, I've got to make informed decisions about all sorts of things that I did in the name of "fun" as a child.
Tim Challies wrote an article titled, "Trick or Retreat?" which I found to be very helpful in sorting out my thinking on this subject and therefore, my practices.
So, with John in Chicago this week and Hannah in bed for the night, the kids and I sat out on our driveway to greet our neighbors with smiles and free candy. Many of our other nearby neighbors did the same, which added to the visiting time - even if it was having a conversation by yelling at one another across the street.
Waiting for trick-or-treaters...(notice the very cool, carved pumpkin in the background).
Here they come!