Oct
31
2011

Do We Celebrate Halloween?

Pumpkin Carving 2011

Wendy and I get this question a lot. Do we celebrate Halloween? We have a roundabout answer: well, not really.

That’s a complicated question because people have different ideas of Halloween. We want to say what we believe in and what we don’t.

First, what we don’t celebrate. We hate the goulishness of the day. Demonism, occultism, satanism, and all that. Some celebrate Halloween as a “holiday” for their evil delusions. What a pathetic waste, actual celebration of unlife. Can’t stand that.

Good news is that most people don’t associate October 31 to such foolishness. Halloween is a time where kids dress up, knock on the neighbors’ doors, and the adults lighten the children’s lives up with a few pieces of candy. We don’t get bent out of shape if we get some trick-or-treaters at the door.

Granted, we live in the country where we’ve had only one group of trick-or-treaters in the 11 years we’ve lived here. We ran around the house and tried to find them candy, resolving finally to given them each a dollar. It was pretty sad. That was, like, 6 years ago.

What should Christians do?

Some work themselves into a lather about the “evil history of hallow’s eve.” We think they should lighten up. I remember as a child getting cold shoulders from “weird people” who would pull the shades and send us away. These were the Christians in the neighborhood. They didn’t leave a very good impression on me.

Lots of Christians disagree over this one. Here’s something one parent told me about Halloween, assuming I’d approve of her zeal. “I buy tracts about the evils of Halloween and place them in the trick-or-treater’s bags instead of candy.” Gee, I bet that gets them excited about Jesus.

But to answer the title question more directly: No, we personally don’t celebrate Halloween. Our kids don’t dress up and we don’t go trick-or-treating. We used to, and it only takes one Halloween enthusiast who rigs their house up to be a haunted house. Their enthusiasm scares the daylights out of my kids. Loading them with sugar ensures nightmares all night long. Thanks, neighbor, for enjoying yourselves at my children’s expense.

So nowadays, we’re just not into it. We carve pumpkins and enjoy pumpkin seeds.

We do, however, celebrate life. The teens are throwing a swing dancing party tonight in our living room. It’ll be a lot of fun watching the teens jam it up to swing music and the like. We’ll roast some pumpkin seeds, cook some pumpkin bread, and have a candy exchange. This is the first year doing it, and it may just become a tradition at the Jeubs.

How about you? Do you celebrate Halloween?
If not, why not?
If so, what do you do?
Post your comments below.

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • Mary Lou

    We had a similar experience.  After 3 houses my husband had to bring our 3 yr. old home crying.  Apparently, the neighbor had jumped out of the bushes dressed as a zombie.  fun.  Then, while at home giving out candy, the 3 yr. old saw a creepy mask that affected him so much he talked about for YEARS.  I was done!  And we lived in a neighborhood where the people gave out full-size candy bars!  That was a tough one.  In following years, we’ve gone out to dinner, spent the eve with friends (who didn’t get trick-or-treaters where they lived) and gone to Costco (it’s empty!).  We take it year by year.  An interesting note:  Here in Colorado, it seems that many more of my Christian friends celebrate Halloween than in California.  Hmmm…

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      I have a sweet tooth for Snicker Bars. Back in the day when we did trick-or-treat, the Snicker Bars were mandatory family tax in our household. Yeah, that was tough to let go of (heh). But we had a similar zombie experience that convinced us: no, not worth it.

  • Jusththemomforthejob

    We set up our Christmas tree on October 31st and the kids draw each others names to see who will stuff whose stocking.  We watch White Christmas and eat in the living room.  :)

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      Now THAT is a really good idea! We do our Christmas tree the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

    • MadisonLeighAnna

      😉

    • JAC

      That’s funny; we put up our Christmas tree last night, too.  We’re expecting our 2nd little blessing between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we wanted to get the tree up while we had a chance and start focusing on that season instead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=799259836 Amy Woolley Pederson

    As I sit here trying to formulate my thoughts, I realize that we have done just about everything, short of dressing up.  One year we posted a nice sign on our door that said “Happy Reformation Day” along with turning our lights off and hoping nobody would ring the bell for candy.  Well, people did anyway and when we told them we don’t celebrate Halloween, they proceeded to egg our house (lesson learned).  Another year we handed out candy along with a hearty “Happy Reformation Day” greeting to each guest, along with throwing a ruckus Reformation Day party in our house for our own kids.  That year a few teenagers actually returned to our house to ask us what Reformation Day was.  There have been several years where we turned all of the lights off in the house, went into the basement and watched movies.   The past few years we have hosted a Reformation Day party at a separate location, inviting any local families that wanted to join in.  We are new to this festivity so it wasn’t as elaborate as some, but we sang a few Luther hymns, made stained glass windows, played lots of games, ate lots of great food and candy and took some great pictures.  This would be our choice as far as how to spend October 31.  This year, however, as our family will be separated, we are going to hand out our fruit with a “Happy Reformation Day” greeting, enjoy each other’s company, maybe take in a movie and eat some candy.

    As far as why we don’t celebrate Halloween, that has changed some over the year.  It started out with our years growing up.  There was a huge contingent of Satan worshipers in our local town complete with animal sacrifices and the like.  A week before Halloween they would come out in full witch dress and other assorted garb reminding us of the origin of this holiday.  We didn’t then, nor do we now think it is wrong or evil for anyone to partake in this holiday, we just choose not to.  Over the years it has softened a little and much for the same reason as your family, our kids don’t dress up and partake because many of them would be scared by some of the decorations and costumes. 

    Do any of you remember the razor blades in the candy scare?  I do and I remember my mom taking my candy to the clinic to be X-rayed (free service that year).  I was so bummed out because we couldn’t eat any of our candy right away.  That was a sad year indeed. 

    Part of the fun for us now is going shopping after Halloween and buying dress up costumes (which are Christmas gifts) at 90% off, along with tons of cheap candy.  The kids love Halloween for this very reason.   

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      The after-Halloween sales are a favorite of ours, too!

  • Cotogna

    We’ve found some ways to compromise. We do dress up, but nothing scary. We attend our harvest party at church (no bad costumes allowed). Then we take our kids to certain houses (friends, family) to trick-er-treat. That way we avoid the bad stuff and no one misses out. We’ve also in the past hid candy around our house and had a scavenger hunt. One of us adults hands out candy, but we rarely get any kids at the door. It works for us. I am not into the legalism of avoiding the whole holiday – I’d rather celebrate with my family the joy of fun, without the ick.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      Yep, been there. I have to admit, dressing up is a lot of fun. We have some adorable pictures of all the kids in their costumes…a lot of fun. This is what lends to our Birthday Bash theme; we dress up then in September.

  • Michelleray27

    Our church did a trunk or treat this year.  People were to pick a theme and decorate their car and put a theme related costume on. The theme could not be scary.  The children went from car to car getting candy.  There was also games, food and pony rides.  Over 600 people showed up for this event.  I didn’t go, but the  pictures from the event showed the creativity and love of children from the adults.  Most importantly the kids had fun, in a safe event.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      Wow, sounds like something of a tailgate party! Creative.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      Sounds like a blast, sort of a tailgate party. Creative!

  • Madi_k_05

    It’s nice to see others with a similar feeling towards this “holiday”!  I just got an earful from several people about how I’m traumatizing my children by not letting them participate.
    1) I have young ones so the scared-silly aspect is a definite probability.
    2) I’m not a huge fan of the negative history associated with Halloween, including the sacrifices.
    3) Going door-to-door to ask for sweets is just weird, in my mind.
    I’m fine if someone else wants to participate – I’m not trying to blow a horn or whatever but for our family, it’s not my preference.  We’ll pass out candy if anyone stops by & I’m formulating a party idea for next year (costumes, face painting, candy – all the fun but in the same house!).

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      I think your sentiments are shared by many parents.

  • Guest

    We give each kiddo $5 and go to the store as a family. Everyone gets to pick out what they want for dinner. The only restriction is that each person has to be able to fix for themselves whatever they buy (once they are old enough to use the microwave etc.) Since we NEVER have TV dinners etc at our house this idea has been a huge hit. We eat in the living room watching & singing along with a movie musical of Mom’s choice (since it is about the only time of the year that her movie choice prevails!) Mom provides popcorn and candy. We save a few pieces of candy in case someone comes to the door but that rarely happens. Its a great family time and one of our family’s favorite traditions.

  • Thesoundbetween

     we allow our children to dress up as long as its not evil. we will go to friends houses and show off their homemade costumes (we know they wont scare them) and take pictures (oh arent they so cute?!) and we do alot of crafts and baking and such. i also dont appreciate the halloween bashing, if you look into halloween its routes arent paegon….but i wont get into that now. :)

  • Fbeavan

    We live in the UK.Halloween wasnt big here till about 10-13 years ago, it wasnt an issue much with the eldest kids, but now it is.We have 11 children and tend to take them out or watch a family movie and have treats.We have posters from the local police kindly asking people not to knock and they respect this.I also inform the school that I will take the kids out rather than have them make a whole lot of Halloween gifts as well.As the children got older they respected our feelings and some agreed, others have chosen to celebrate it, after all it’s their choice.I feel extreemly strongly having been in Delamere Forest with a group of special needs kids over Halloween, anyone who tells me its harmless fun needs thier head read!

  • AM

    We don’t celebrate, but we do give out candy to anyone who comes to the door.  We put stickers on each piece of candy that say, “Jesus loves you.”  I let the kids get a bag of candy at the store for themselves and let them eat as much as they want.  I’m amazed every year that they don’t eat that much.  We also watch Luther and celebrate Reformation Day!  We have fun our own way.  I find that not many kids come to the door.  Last year we didn’t a have a singe person come to the door.  This year, we had 4 knocks.  One family came back twice.  The second time, they didn’t come for more candy.  They came for a grocery bag to empty their candy into because their pumpkin was overflowing!

  • MadisonLeighAnna

    We don’t celebrate Halloween. Being foster parents, when the boys came to us they were used to ToTing. That first year we decided to put up the Christmas Tree up. I had no idea I was creating a tradition when I made this decision. My mom passed away that same year so I knew it was something I wouldn’t get out of. Now each year we turn the Christmas music up loud and celebrate October 31st by putting our Christmas tree up.

  • Breeze1177

    We dress up and go to the grandparents and great grandparents, aunts…. :)
    We only do homemade and costumes that are not scary or evil.
    After visiting with relatives we come home and hand out candy to the trick or treaters. The kids like this part best of all it seems.
    For us it is nothing evil but just a time to dress up and visit with family. It is a time of traditions. We enjoy it a bunch :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Cleaver/1324722147 Sarah Cleaver

    We don’t celebrate Halloween, but I do hand out candy with tracts (not about the evils of Halloween, but the goodness of God!). Before I became a Christian I loved Halloween. I was into the occult and loved all of the evil things about ‘All Hallow’s Eve.’ Now that my 2 oldest are 6 & 4, it’s becoming more complicated than I thought it would be to explain why we don’t trick or treat. Many of our friends do participate in trick or treat, and it is fun to have a day to dress up in costumes. We went to our church’s fall festival Sunday night and I told my children they can dress up for it next year.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

    Hope everyone had a wonderful October 31! We had a ball. Took video and will post some dancing pics later.

    This was one of the healthiest conversations ever. I learned a lot from the posts. Thank you!

  • Cherise

    We don’t celebrate Halloween. We do carve pumpkins & roast seeds. Let our children dress up in non scary costumes and join our church in harvest party festivities. We hand out candy w/ scripture verses to the kids that trick or treat at our door. We celebrate the abundance of the harvest & our God who blesses us so much!

  • jenny

    When we arrived home from the mission field, our 8 year old daughter says, whatever is Halloween?   She didn’t even know what it was………I enjoyed that moment of innocence.

  • Jennifer Mull

    We’ve handled it differently over the years… at first we did allow the older children to dress up and take pictures, but we didn’t trick or treat… Dad carved pumpkins and that was the extent of it… .then the kids got older and saw trick or treaters going out… they thought it was scary, so wasn’t too difficult to not participate… then they got older and wanted candy….

    So we tried making it a family night where we would go out to eat and then let them buy a bag of whatever candy they liked….. trouble is, Halloween and scary costumes are everywhere when you go out…. after the third year of this, we stopped that idea…. then we had the idea with some like-minded friends to have an alternative party at our church in the fellowship hall… and this is when I discovered the truly dark side of Halloween… it felt like we were in a Frank Peretti novel….

    People in our church became defensive and quite mean about the fact we were “telling them that they were evil because they let their kids trick or treat” which is not at all what we were saying… we just wanted an alternative for our kids… and that became a source of contention….. the majority of the church was against our small group, and they caused the pastor to be removed, threatened to picket our alternative party, and some even left the church over this…. it was ugly.

    We eventually had to leave that church, and for awhile we had an alternative Fall party with our new church, but after the second or third year, they had to stop doing that due to financial reasons….. so after that, we just decided to have nothing to do with Halloween.

    It was a painful thing for us to deal with Christians defending Halloween. I can handle non-believer’s who trick or treat….. much easier….even in scary costumes…..

    So, now we are one of THOSE families who turn off  the lights and pull down the shades. At this time, God hasn’t given us, personally, a new way to redeem the day. Let me just say, that I agree dressing up and carving pumpkins and eating candy are not evil. Trick or treating by itself is not going to send anyone to hell. But, Satan does use this so-called holiday to his advantage to divide people and to confuse them. We don’t want to add to that confusion, esp for our children. The younger ones don’t remember the trouble we faced in our church, so they are beginning to complain about not getting to go door to door… but when you ask, really, all they want is candy…. so we can do that much….we just gave them the candy a day early and when they saw trick or treaters, they didn’t complain at all because they already had candy.

    So, I think we will carve pumpkins this week instead, to enjoy the seeds… maybe have some fun with carving, but it will not be associated with that day.  We did buy some candy, and the kids enjoyed that…I love your idea of dressing up for your birthday bash…..that is fun and again, not associated with that day.

    Rather than finding ways to “compromise” on that day, which I believe the bible clearly tells us not to do,(meaning we should not compromise with something that goes against our beliefs)  we just treat it like another day.I’m all for fun, but not THAT particular fun.

    Even so, I am all for some of the wonderful ways some other families DO redeem the day. Everyone’s experiences are different, and we haven’t been called to do these things at this time… ( could change) but I know that handing out tracts with candy is what some do, and I once read of a family that dressed like elfs, and they went door to door, did not receive candy, but handed out candy canes with the Candy Cane Story attached…. I thought that was WONDERFUL!  So, there are ways…. but Christians who defend Halloween need to be very careful about what it is that they are defending. “All good fun” and “getting candy” are not very redemptive, imo.

  • Janetkiessling

    pretty much the same here in the Kiessling House! I do not like scary things. We still have a 10 yr old little boy that we can not get out of our bed since he was 3! Trust me we have tried EVERYTHING! Hears a noise – he is in our bed! Here in our house on the 31st – we pop in a video – this year – Little House on the Praire & usually pop some popcorn! That’s what we do! Plus – we have 2 children that can not have regular sugar – so the candy usually doesn’t even cross the doorway!!! Sometimes, I’ll make some cookies from the Jeub’s cookbook….:) Blessings – Janet

  • tereza

    well. i hate halloween… when my first born was little she was scared of Halloween and didn’t care for it. now that she is 8 and is a social butterfly halloween is one more opportunity to be out and about. some years we did a skate ring party with no trick or treat, just candy bags for the kids.  this year we did a trunk or treat at church. really didn’t want to go but how could we avoid it if every sun morning one of the announcements was a reminder about the event. :( so we went… I got a child sick… i think she picked up something while on the hay ride.

    After reading all the comments I had an idea… next year, I will do a scavenger hunt at home. we now have a huge house and I can hide candy everywhere (that is really what the kids are after!!) and they can spend a few minutes looking for it… then we can do family movie night.

    we’ll see… I will definitely look up the reformation day thing too. :)

    thanks for sharing this here.

  • Snoopygirl25

    We celebrate Halloween. To us it means getting to dress up, put make up on, meeting people in our community. We get to practice our manners by saying please and thank you. They get to see other people creativity by the costumes they come up with.

    They aren’t scared easily and they are not up all night with nightmares. We are giving our children memories. To each their own.

  • blessed mom of many

    We have a fire out back for the family where we  roast marshmallows and hot dogs and the kids bob for apples. My oldest will take the younger ones on a hay ride in our woods then he gets out his guitar and we all sing around the fire.  The kids can dress up if they want to, sometimes they do and some years they don’t.  We live in the country so no one comes trick or treating here.

  • Calla

    We did trick-or-treating a few times when I was growing up, but mostly we went to the Harvest Festival at my church.  My mom actually had some heartburn about celebrating Halloween any way at all, but I would have been disappointed to miss out on costumes and candy (the only two things I ever like — and still like to this day — about Halloween. I hate the gore and horror side!).  I’m glad she gave me the chance to dress up and have those happy childhood memories.  I’ll do the same with my kids. We live in a very nice neighborhood with no “scary” decorations so I think trick-or-treating will be fine, but I’m hoping my church starts a harvest festival in addition to our usual pre-Halloween cookout.

  • Sucker

    Why is it such a big deal? Why do Christians hate so much? Jesus would be wagging a finger if he were alive. So what is the response to Xmas for all those who are not Christians?

    • Lover

      Now do Christians believe in the constitution? I am just exercising my god given first amendment right. Something tells me you will remove the post.

  • Mominoregon

    Growing up I remember dressing up and going with my mom and a childhood friend of mine trick or treating up and down our street and my mother knew which homes to walk right past so I would get to scared. When I got older and we moved to a different island I would just go to the party that my church would have and we would play games and just enjoy our friends and have a little message at the end with some good worship. My father is a pastor so he started a track that would hold candy and talk to children about God and have a little story about how Jesus is treat and the trick is how the world tries to hide and remove Jesus from the world. Something along those lines. It was neat because he would print up a bunch and the people at church could pick them up and use them when they hand out candy.
    Now that I’m a mom it’s hard tricker treating in the cold weather unlike the warm nights in Hawaii but I think if anything I will hand out candy and try to get a hold of those packets.

  • Arlene Fox

    So true that people need to lighten up and I am soooo glad you posted this, for every year I ask myself the same question: do Christians celebrate Halloween or what? We live on a Greek island and there aren’t many people here to talk to of such matters so I just kind of listened to my heart. I see it more as a fall celebration and pumpkins that are carved and glow from the inside are just so lovely to look at so that’s basically what we do! Thank you for some much needed insight!

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      Wow, you live in Greece? That’s really cool. Thank you for posting, Arlene.

  • Ramblings Mom

    we don’t celebrate it. we don’t acknowledge halloween in any way, really. I don’t think we’re being uptight though. I don’t believe that everyone has to do it the way we do. It’s just right for our family. The Bible tells us to “do everything for the glory of God” and there’s pretty much nothing in Halloween that glorifies God, and plenty that glorifies evil. So we avoid it. Instead, we go out to supper and then out to the dollar store to shop for our Samaritan’s purse Christmas shoeboxes. The kids each get a box to pick the gender/age for, and help pick items for. We get to avoid the trick-or-treaters (who still knock despite “no candy” sign on the door) and the kids get a fun night focused on love and giving, instead of getting.

    http://ramblingsmom.com

  • Jennifer

    We do not participate at all with Halloween, and a few years ago, when a group of us wanted to offer some kind of “alternative” through our church, the church literally split over it! Mean things were said, lies were spread because people felt like we were demonizing them just because some of us wanted to do an alternative. There were people within our church who threatened to picket our alternative party….. I felt like I was in a Frank Peretti novel…. that pretty much soured me on having anything to do with it at all….

    Now, we do attend a church that has an outreach called the Pumpkin Palooza, and it was this past Wednesday…. My kids go, but do not dress up and they have a great time, but it honestly is still a stretch for me after what I have experienced in the past. I did enjoy watching my kids have fun, but felt weird about people walking around in the church dressed like witches and monsters… LOL… thankfully, the Lord reminded me that the very people who need to feel welcome in church are those who might be farthest from Him, so I was able to lighten up. Can’t really be a “light” to others unless we lighten up! :-)