Why we WON’T be ignoring Halloween this year

IMG_6110For 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.

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4 thoughts on “Why we WON’T be ignoring Halloween this year

  1. Thats an awesome thing to do Heather. I also used to ignore Halloween viewing it as anti Christian or a celebration of evil. Then a few years ago I did some reading and really its a pagan festival, just like Eid is a muslim festival and Diwali is a Hindu festival, I stopped thinking of it as any more evil than these two things but still don’t want to ‘celebrate’ it cause I’m not a pagan ;o) Last year we used it as an opportunity to talk about how we don’t need to be scared because Jesus is tougher than any monster, we talked about him being like a light in the darkness and carved our pumpkin to remind us that Jesus is a light in the darkness, we made a sign with that verse on and talked about how many days until Christmas when we would celebrate all that ;o)
    I also think it’s important to have sweets for Trick or Treaters because even if we don’t do it we should be generous with our neighbours when they come to our door ;o)

  2. I’m not sure the origins of Halloween actually did celebrate evil as so many believe, but more a Pagan remembering of the dead and the belief that the souls of the dead could come back to visit earth (in spirit form) today it’s turned into a celebration of evil in total fantasy. But I know my parents certainly saw it as evil whatever it’s origins were. Like you, I wasn’t allowed to join in celebrations of Halloween either. We also didn’t keep Easter or Christmas – there was a lot to avoid in the year! Although I’m grateful that my parents didn’t force me to be excluded from school activities and plays, that would have been soooo embarrassing! It’s odd how they weren’t nearly so bothered about Guy Fawkes night, and yet that celebrates the death of someone, with the burning of an effigy of a man on a huge fire, which I find as an adult a quite sick. I don’t think a lot of people have a clue what they are celebrating when it comes to that night, and no-one ever seems to question how odd that is either – strange that!

    I’m not into Halloween today, but neither am I against it – it’s just another day to me, and I can appreciate the fun side to it even if it is slightly odd, but I’m not sure I’d want to go to a Halloween party, I’d find it a bit too silly. I don’t even believe in ghosts!! 😀

    I remember a church I used to go to in the 90’s used to have an alternative celebration and fun night for the kids (not allowing anything ghostly of course) I went to help out one night, and the kids loved it. At least they had something to tell their friends as to why they couldn’t go to a Halloween party.

    I think it’s a good idea to remember children who are in a real scary situation of war. There’s is too much diversion to fantasy in this life as to what real scary is, children should be educated much better on what is actually scary. Maybe then there would be more balanced clear thinking adults. There seems to be a severe lack of them today!!

    • Thank you for your comment! One of our local churches puts on a ‘Light Party’ for the children as an alternative to Halloween. I think it’s a great idea. It’s only for school kids, so my daughter isn’t old enough yet. But I’ll certainly be getting her a ticket for next year so she has a reason for not going trick or treating! 🙂

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