After living here for almost twenty years, this Halloween was the first time I handed out candy to trick-or-treaters.
Halloween has only become more popular here over the last decade or so, and even then, it’s still not that big. It depends on the area. In all my years living here, the number of years we’ve had trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell can be counted on one hand. Some years, we have had no one come. And the total number of trick-or-treaters who have come can be counted on one hand. Every single time I’ve had to turn them away saying, ‘I’m sorry, we don’t have any candy.’ It is true – we’re just not big candy eaters here.
One year, we had children come before the actual day – not in costume – asking for candy. When I mentioned that it wasn’t Halloween yet, one of them said that they were going to be away on Halloween so they decided to go trick-or-treating earlier. ‘It doesn’t work that way,’ I told them. (I’ve since learned that some neighbourhoods in the US organise trick-or-treating the Sunday before, which means that perhaps some of my readers over there have done Halloween already.)
I spent a few years in the US as a child and I have some happy memories of Halloween. It was fun to dress up and go around getting candy. We lived in an area with lots and lots of families with young children (university housing) and Halloween was always a very busy night. Lots of treats to be collected. So my memories of Halloween are positive.
When I started home schooling and part of some internet forums, I was surprised to learn that there were some Christians who did not participate in Halloween at all. And that it was the Christian thing to do. Since Halloween just wasn’t very big here, I thought it best to let it go and file it under ‘Not Relevant to Here.’
Over the years as I saw Halloween being advertised more and more over here, I began to see Christians here becoming more and more vocal about their opposition to Halloween. A couple of church services I happened to attend over the years close to Halloween had a brief talk on how to deal with trick-or-treaters by suggesting that one give out Christian tracts (along with a small treat).
On the home schooling forum boards I was part of, every single year without fail, a huge discussion about Halloween would come up. Some people would share pictures of their children’s costumes, the pumpkins they had carved and the candy they had bought. Others would come on and ask, ‘I thought this was a Christian home school forum! How can Christians participate in a “holiday” that celebrates death and gore?’ Links to articles about the history of Halloween would be posted. Counter arguments and links to how Christians should respond to Halloween would be posted. And on it went. Ad nauseum. Every year. Without fail. I am not active on that forum board now, but I’ll bet anything there are several discussions happening even now.
Of all the articles and personal stories that I read, I was struck by the idea that for the Christian, death has already been defeated, so we are, in a way, mocking all the scary stuff on Halloween. Furthermore, costumes don’t have to be ‘scary’. But perhaps, what most impressed me was a post by a fellow home schooling mom who said that Halloween was one of the very few nights where the whole neighbourhood got together in a friendly setting and it would be very UNChristian to distance herself and her family from that. And so, they took part, and they gave out GOOD candy.
Another mother also says pretty much the same thing in her blogpost.
And so, this year, I decided to buy good candy and be ready for trick-or-treaters if they happen to come. My children didn’t want to go out, but the youngest was willing to come to the door to greet visitors. I dug out an old clown suit and bought a clown mask that she could wear.
There must have been a neighbourhood or school meeting to organise Halloween festivities because we got a whopping TWELVE trick-or-treaters this year. That’s more than all the previous years combined!