“Halloween is bad!” said my son just the other day.
That wasn’t how I was raised, though. My good Christian mother went into overdrive to handmake our costumes. More than once as a child I won the best costume award at my school. That same creative spirit in my mother extended to me, and by the time I was in my teens I was winning awards for costumes I made myself. During the energy crisis of the 1970s, I dreamed up “Super Arab,” a kind of Snidely Whiplash-like character dressed in Saudi garb with a giant felt oil derrick on my back and a bag of phony Franklins that I would shove in the faces of parents and say, “Look who’s got your money now!” Those parents got a BIG kick out of that one.
If only I had known how that would turn out in the long run.
I’m one of those crazy ones who believes he’s witnessed the whole Halloween thing take a decidedly more nefarious turn. Despite some essays that Halloween is a most Christian holiday, and despite protests that this Christian event has been co-opted by neo-pagans, the fact remains: it’s been co-opted by neo-pagans.
So my wife and I, despite going out as kids pretty regularly for Trick or Treating, have given a thumbs down to Halloween. Our son has most definitely picked that up and he tosses off the “Halloween is bad” mantra without much coaxing from us.
Blame us if you will for being freaky charismatics that are constantly on the lookout for demons hiding behind this tree or that, but despite the fact that a lot of high-profile Christian bloggers have poo-poohed such anti-Halloween vigilance, I’m going to defend my position here with one bit of logic that no one is discussing: We’re not raising our kids for 2005.
What do I mean by that? Well, isn’t it the goal of every parent to raise their children for the future? Given what I’ve seen in the rise of neo-pagan practices in just the last twenty years, I’ve got to believe it’s going to get worse instead of better. Earlier this year I was drawn into a conversation on an Emerging Church website of some renown where the topic was whether it was possible to be a Christian Wiccan. Trust me, I never in a million years thought anyone would be trying to combine those two, but there you have it.
Compromise comes through the little things. One day your daughter is preferring to wear black all the time, the next thing you know she tells you she’s into the Goth scene, and before you can say “Transylvania!” she’s running around with kids who fashion themselves to be vampires, even going so far as to drink each other’s blood. Satan looks for chinks in the armor and he’s had a long time perfecting his technique.
Who knows what my son will confront twenty years from now? All I know is that I’m trying to prepare him for that day. If my wife and I have ruined what some believe to be just another attempt by the greeting card industry to make some more cash, then so be it. I’m willing to err on the side of caution. Twenty years from now when some worldwide bastardization of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and whatever “-ism” they throw in the mix is masquerading as the new religion of the enlightened, I hope all children now being raised in Christian homes will have enough grounding in rejecting even the slightest hint of evil that the Lord will still find faith on Earth when He returns.
It’s going to cost something, too. Even now my son is missing his preschool Halloween party. That was a tough decision, but it’s a decision we made. We may not go to our church’s Halloween-alternative party, either, because I’ve never been a fan of Christians trying to redeem every worldly activity. Some things are best left rotten rather than trying to wash the stink off them and bring them into the Church. I’m still divided on that one. Ask me again on Tuesday.
I’ve got to admit that I do have some level of admiration for Christians who fire up the BBQ, hand out food and drinks, and try to use Halloween as an opportunity to witness to parents and kids trolling through the neighborhood. That fits with my image of Christians being the most hospitable people in any neighborhood. Still, I’ve got to wonder at what point we bag the whole thing because Halloween keeps taking one more step over the line.
Most people reading this today aren’t prophets, but I think that many of us know what’s coming down the road. Call me a prophet of doom, but I’m less encouraged by the day that things are going to get better rather than worse. Bunker mentality? Perhaps. But I think it’s wise to have one foot in the bunker right now rather than being a hundred miles away from it.
What’s happening to Halloween is just a symptom of a greater problem. As for me and my house, we’re going to serve the Lord. That doesn’t mean you can’t send your kids out Trick or Treating or dress up yourself as Mr. Incredible or Elastigirl if you want to and hand out candy. It’s just not something that’s worth it for us anymore.