When I became a Christian I immediately felt uncomfortable with Halloween. Not because I was a former spell-casting devil-worshiper, but because I had so many super awesome Halloween memories and it just seemed like Christianity shouldn't be that, I don't know... FUN. You know that thrill when someone pops out from behind a bush and yells, "Graaaawwrrrrrrr!" The adrenaline-pumped fear surge, the giggly, relieved release when you realize it's your best friend. It's just so... exciting! So how could I, now grateful for the gruesome death of my Savior on a cross, still enjoy jack-o-lanterns, black & orange, and other traditional manifestations of a holiday that is associated with suffering and death?
Over the years, we ran the gamut. For a few years we hid, turned off all lights, tried to be real quiet. "Shhhhhh. THEY'LL know we're hoome!" (Those unsaved people we Christians were supposed to be talking to about Jesus.) Then one year we turned on the lights and handed out Gospel tracts. We started the night with 100 and ended, by God's grace, with 99. (Sorry, little Darth Vader!) The next year we moved on to the gospel tract equivalent of candy- sunflower seeds & fruit leathers. It's funny, looking back, that I have always been mystified by the lack of knocks at our front door on the 31st. Now I am SO glad that God directed those poor kids to our far less holy neighbors and their evil tootsie rolls.
As I've mentioned before I am cleaning house. I started with my closet. I now own 3 jeans, 2 pants, and a few skirts. That's it for bottoms, and I don't want more. We had a cold snap this week. I wore all my jeans but the skinny ones. My only pants that weren't dirty this morning- white. Basically, I had one skirt in my closet that was appropriate for church today. Burnt orange, corduroy. And I was down to two long-sleeve shirts. Bright turquoise which would clearly clash, or... more orange. Oh my. Halloween is tomorrow- what will they think if I show up to church in all ORANGE? Yes, I am ashamed to say I worried about this.
It's simple. The holiday's associations and it's debatable origins do not represent my heart. And really, not very many hearts. I know hundreds of people who trick-or-treated as kids and/or let their kids do so now. With no thought of Satan, the powers of darkness or whatever. It's more of a block party with costumes and candy. I want our kids to know our neighbors. Because relationships are the real "in" to sharing Christ with others. And in this day and age meeting people on the other side of the fence just isn't as easy as it used to be. So I look forward to tomorrow evening, when our littles will run through their neighbors' yards, welcome in a way they aren't on most days, gathering treats and blessing others with their sweetness & gratefulness for candy (a rarity for them), simply because they're dressed as a ghost and a farmer and are willing to repeat three silly words they don't even understand.
"Trick or treat!"
God created October 31st. It belongs to Him. Use it for His glory. Lose the fear. Enjoy the silly excitement of Boo! Because no matter how badly you might screw it up He already lived that day, and every other, perfectly. For you.