So this post may seem a little controversial, but bear with me. You see for years, I haven't allowed my girls to participate in anything Halloween. Why? Because I am a Christian, albeit not a very good one, but then I don't pretend otherwise. I am real, I am to the point, I mess up and I make wrong decisions, which is precisely why I don't write about it, but, this is an exception, given that Halloween and Christianity generally don't mix.
Anyway, back to the point. when my girls were little, they came to church with me, joined in with the kids work etc. Now they are that little bit older and they have made up their own minds, (thus far) as to what they do and not believe; and for the moment, their decision is that they don't share my faith and do you know something, I'm okay with that.
So with that in mind, Miss. L has asked to go Trick or Treating again this year. She went with her best friend last year and she had an absolute ball and so she is going again this year. Now before you start with the judgements, hear me out. Most people, have no real understanding, of Easter, Christmas nor Halloween, for many it is an excuse to party and have some fun, the true messages having been lost in the commercialism of it all. Likewise, many of us whom object to Halloween have never experienced the 'celebrations' (for want of a better word). I have to admit that I was very apprehensive about the whole Trick and Treating last year, but I was pleasantly surprised. There was an amazing sense of community that I've not experienced before, not even at Christmas. The families that were out with their little ones, were really sociable and engaged with one another. The people who had decorated their homes had put so much effort in and were pleased to welcome the children and comment on how wonderful their costumes were. Oh and of course, let's not forget about the abundance of sweets. For the kids, it's all about the sweets. I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't this amazing community spirit.
One family in particular really made an impression on me though. They had gone to a huge amount of effort to decorate their house, and they all came to the door to greet the children and give them sweets, but they did something else as well, they gave them a small piece of paper with a piece of scripture typed on it; they didn't make a big song and dance about it, they didn't preach, they just gave it with the sweets and a heart felt, ' God Bless You'. This family stood out for me as really positive Christian role models. They didn't judge, they didn't condemn, they didn't tell people they were 'celebrating' an evil event, they didn't berate parents for allowing their children to participate, they simply shared love.
This family could have chosen to keep the door shut. They could have chosen to do an alternative event to distract from the whole Halloween thing, but instead they embraced it and used it as a way to engage with the community and share what they believed.
We've just come back from this year's trick and treating and once again there is joy, fun, laughter and community spirit out on the streets. There is respect for those not partaking and gratitude to those who are kind enough to welcome the children. There were also a lot of dogs getting walked along the way too; well if you're wandering around the neighbourhood anyway, you may as well kill two birds with one stone and walk the dog too.
The weather was kind, the kids were all having fun out with their families and some of the houses were amazing. It must have taken hours to put some of those decorations together. I'm glad that I let my daughter go out this evening. I'm glad that I have experienced what it is really like out there and I really hope that we can learn something from that lovely family with their sweets and scripture.
Finally, whatever your beliefs or your general feelings toward Halloween, I really hope you've had a good evening. Now roll on 5th November and Guy Fawkes Night.