Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween - but not for me thanks

Halloween....just don't get it.  Never have.

In a world where we want our kids to grow up with an appreciation for all things good, where we want our kids to sleep soundly in their beds, where we fear that computer games with aliens and soldiers will taint our children's ability to judge right from wrong - why are we decorating our homes with skulls and witches and skeletons?

In a society where it isn't safe to let our children play out on the street without keeping a very close eye on them, where we tell them that they must not under any circumstances talk to strangers, why do we let them go knocking on stranger's front doors asking for treats?

I realise that my views are not shared by many - halloween is massive all over the developed world - but for me it just doesn't make sense.

My son is desperate to go trick or treating, but I just cannot condone it on the basis that I cannot see how it is right.  I would never dream of him knocking on a strange door and asking a stranger for a sweet on any other day of the year, so why today? 

We don't decorate the house with fake cobwebs and skeletons but we do carve a pumpkin and this year, I have bought him some glowing pumpkin balloons which he loves.

This is my only concession to halloween, and he doesn't seem any the worse for missing out on the rest of it.

Halloween has its origins in paganism and very early Catholicism and trick or treating as we know it has its roots in a historic practice of going from door to door requesting small cakes as payment for saying prayers for relatives that had passed in recent months.  This is quite some distance from today's practice of "give me a sweet or I'll smash an egg on your car/front door etc".

I am a Christian, and whilst it is not unacceptable for a Christian to celebrate Halloween (I would never judge anyone who chose to), my personal preference is to steer well clear of any links to witches, ghosts etc and to raise my child in a way that does not glorify things which have no relevance in the beliefs that I hold or that I hope to engender within his heart.

For those of you who do celebrate Halloween to its fullest extent, I hope that you have a great time, and any children that knock on my door will get a handful of sweets for their trouble.  My son will also get an extra large handful of sweets so he won't miss out!

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