For most, Halloween is a fun night for children to enjoy dressing up, trick or treating, carving pumpkins and pretending to scare and frighten each other. For some it can quite a controversial festival: some see it as a bit of harmless fun, whilst others believe it’s a festival for celebrating evil.
As a child I was brought up believing the latter. I wasn’t allowed to participate in anything to do with Halloween. My teachers were asked by my mother to provide me with another activity when the other children were doing Halloween activities, and I always had to try and think of an excuse when I was invited to go trick or treating. I didn’t like feeling excluded. I felt different to the other children. I got teased and made fun of for not joining in with Halloween and, to be honest, I just wanted to be like everyone else.
As I’ve grown up and become an adult I’ve come to realise that Halloween really isn’t the harmless fun that many people say it is. I won’t go into detail about that here. I’ll save that for another post (or you can read this article by J John: 6 reasons why I believe Halloween is far from Harmless), but it meant that I simply wanted to avoid Halloween as an adult. I didn’t want anything to do with it. We would always make sure we were out of the house when the trick or treaters came round and at work, I wouldn’t bring Halloween into any of my lessons. I just treated it as any other day…. that was until I had children of my own.
Since becoming a mum I’ve realised it’s absolutely impossible to ignore Halloween. Like Easter and Christmas it’s become incredibly commercialised and targeted towards children. Wherever we go there are ghastly costumes in shop windows, scary sweets for sale and frightening advertising all promoting Halloween. Not only that, all my daughter’s friends talk about their Halloween costumes and going trick or treating and my daughter comes home from nursery asking to do the same thing.
So, how on earth was I supposed to approach the issue of Halloween without her feeling left out and excluded like I did as a child? That’s when I thought, ‘Why don’t we stop ignoring Halloween but just turn it into something different?’
Soon after I came across World Vision’s ‘A night of Hope’. World Vision are asking people to remember during Halloween that, whilst most children are enjoying friendly frights and safe scares, for the children of Syria living in war the fear is very real and it’s every night of the year. So for the first time ever we will be getting involved with Halloween. We will be carving hearts into our pumpkins as a symbol of hope for the children of Syria and we will also be raising money for them by baking cupcakes and selling them to friends and family.
My daughter is only three. She’s never known a frightful Halloween before, but now she will know Halloween as a night when we remember children around the world who aren’t as fortunate as us. We will raise money for them in simple ways and turn a night of fear into a night of hope.
You can find out how you can get involved with World Vision’s ‘A Night of Hope’ here.