It seems to be increasingly difficult to raise God honoring children in a culture that celebrates dishonoring the things of God. Halloween is a particularly frustrating time for me as a parent because every store I take my children in is filled with scary and creepy things.
I recently took my 7-year-old son and 4-year-old twin girls to get a happy meal at McDonalds. As you probably remember yourself this is quite a highlight for small children. Any time I ask my children where they want to get something to eat it is always McDonalds. It is not because of the salty fries, crusty cheeseburger or overly processed nuggets. It is always because they know they will get a toy. McDonalds is a genius at marketing to children. They usually put a toy in the box that is really popular in the culture. This particular trip my little girls got a toy from “Monster High.” I have never seen the show and I do not really plan on it, but the toy is a box filled with activities that feature teenage vampires and monster girls who are dressed like prostitutes. The activities on the inside are two sticker books filled with stickers of crossbones, skulls, vampire teeth, and hearts with teeth in them. Also in the activity box are pictures that teach you how to draw a skull with a bow on it.
The dictionary defines a vampire as “a preternatural being, commonly believed to be a reanimated corpse, that is said to suck the blood of sleeping persons at night.”
For our children the line of what is good and evil is becoming more elusive. Vampires are no longer evil. They now sparkle, fall in love with humans, and only suck the blood of deer…unless they get real hungry, then humans watch out.
I took the toys from my girls and threw them in the trash. I was not cold hearted and I told them I would replace them with a more appropriate toys. I tried to use this moment as a teaching moment. I told my son and my girls that as followers of Jesus we do not celebrate death. I tell them that Jesus came and died the death we deserved so that we might have eternal life. (John 10:10)
Death is not our friend.
Sin brought death into the world.
We will not and cannot celebrate what sin brings.
We cannot celebrate that which separates us from our loved ones.
Death brings depression and despair.
We celebrate joy, hope and life.
I think there has been a not so subtle shift to an acceptance of satanic things and most parents have not even noticed. Horror movies, teen vampire romance novels, and a host of other things that focus on the occult, demons, monsters, evil spirits and witchcraft have been infused into the lives of our children. Is it any wonder that so many young people are taking their lives.
Children and teenagers are naturally drawn to spiritual things. Even if children are not brought up in church or have no religious affiliation they will seek out that which is spiritual, be it good or evil. There is an unseen battle going on for the hearts of my children and for the hearts of your children (if you have them).
With Halloween on its way if you are a Christian parent you should pause and think about how you want to direct your children to think about the Holiday.
In our culture Halloween is largely a celebration of fear and death. If you do not believe me then go to your local Wal-Mart or CVS and count the number of skeleton, witch, and zombie paraphernalia available. As a kid Halloween was one of my favorite Holidays. Cool weather, candy, and dressing up are fun for any kid.
Here are some ways I am going to enjoy October 31st with my family without embracing the culture of death.
1) Have Fun – Not every day do you have a chance to dress up with your kids and walk around and get free candy. I am going to take tons of pictures of my kids and let them be princesses, a flower and a super hero…heck I might even dress up myself.
2) Change the Focus – We celebrate Fall. We celebrate the cool weather. We celebrate dressing up as our favorite characters. We celebrate candy. We celebrate Reformation Day (October 31 is the day the Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the church at Wittenberg. If you don’t know what that means then you should really Google “Martin Luther Reformer”…it’s kind of important)
3) Dress Up – Every child likes to dress up for Halloween. It is one of the highlights of their year. I can remember being a kid and all of the thrill and excitement that came with finding the perfect costume. I only allow my children to dress as something positive and not scary or evil.
4) Teach Your Children why you do not celebrate scary things at Halloween.
5) Use Halloween to the Glory of God – be kind to your neighbors. Do not hide in your basement or turn all the lights out in your home. This is the one time a year you actually have people coming to your home. Buy the best candy on the street. Be the house every kid wants to go to because you give out full candy bars. Have a block party in your yard. My Brother-in-law looks forward to Halloween every year. He gets to know his neighbors and grills hotdogs for everyone that comes by. He told me he gave out something like 200 hot dogs last year and all of the neighbors were so appreciative.
6) Love the Zombies – I have to be real honest, it bothers me when I see a cute 5 year old dressed as a zombie and he is holding a pretend severed head in his hand. I want to slap his parents for allowing him to dress like that. But I am not his parent so my job is just to love him and make sure I give him some good candy. He may come to my church one Sunday.