Happy Halloween!

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.

Well.

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!

Happy Halloween!

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About yewnique

I am a Malaysian-born woman who is married to an Australian and now live in Melbourne, Australia. I am a mother to four children. I home school. I like reading, writing, and cooking -- not necessarily in that order. I care about grammar and spelling, but am nonchalant about the Oxford Comma. I try to follow Christ's teachings.

Posted on Thursday, October 31st, 2013, in Christian Living and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. None for us! And we did a late dash to the shops to make sure we had treats but alas, no children. I’ve heard lots about this today in various places and lots of Aussies are against it but I can see the family togetherness thing too, plus it opens the door for community too. We are very disappointed not to have anyone come to our door. oh well, as you say, it is increasing in popularity so perhaps next year…

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  2. The pastor at the United Methodist church we attend did a whole series this month on Heaven. We caught the first Sunday where he laid the foundation of his argument (and in the process talked some shit about George Bernard Shaw which I found openly amusing because Shaw would have ROFLstomped this guy in open exchange. Luckily for our pastor, Mr. Shaw is both geographically remote and long deceased).

    This past Sunday he spent roughly half his sermon talking about Hell, which anyone who really knows me knows that this is one of my very specific hot-button issues–that two people who lived otherwise ordinary and similar lives, just trying to get by as best they can day by day, could be divided between eternal bliss and eternal torture because one happened to believe in the deity prevalent in their culture and the other happened to believe in the deity prevalent in a different culture. It’s the ultimate expression of form-over-substance, and I categorically reject that any just God would embrace such a framework.

    Near the end of the sermon, which had me visibly upset enough that my wife could tell (not for the least of which our oldest daughter, 10, had elected to stay with us in church and therefore be subjected to this horrid and immoral framework as truth and good), the pastor started to talk about how people should strive to be as spotless and blameless as possible in this life because, you know, most people are going to Hell. So in pursuit of that objective the pastor said that he didn’t participate in Halloween, or watch movies in the “Horror” genre. Even my wife rolled her eyes at that one.

    There was an added layer of irony though, which is that it is a church tradition to do a “Trunk or Treat” in the church parking lot every year, where church members with cars and time on their hands the weekend before Halloween do some kind of neat decoration using costumes and decorating the trunk of their car then line their cars up in a double line with trunks facing in, and the children all come in costume and Trick or Treat at each car. It’s a nice, safe way to Trick or Treat for parents whose work schedules make regular Trick or Treating difficult, or who don’t prefer that their children Trick or Treat from houses whose occupants the parents don’t necessarily know or have reason to trust, or even for people like us who do Trick or Treat on Halloween but also enjoy this community activity at the church.

    So the pastor and his wife participated in Trunk or Treat. Not just there, but they decorated their car and handed out candy in costume and everything. Therefore, the pastor in his sermon that morning gave this extremely thin rationalization that Trunk or Treat was really about Jesus, not Halloween, so it was ok even though Halloween was not. It was just such an openly contradictory stance as to be comical, although I suppose for most of the sheeple there they’re used to rationalizations anyway so that probably wasn’t a stretch at all and the irony of that part of the sermon was lost on them.

    Anyway, I was upset enough after the whole thing was over that I am afraid I wasn’t as patient afterwards as I usually am and that contributed to a small spat between the Mrs. and myself over where and when to do lunch. Luckily the remainder of the afternoon fell into place quite well and I was able to communicate with her that night better my frustrations from that morning.

    Needless to say, we will be participating in and enjoying this Halloween as we do every year.

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  3. @ “L”

    I kind of understand the Aussie resistance to Halloween. It’s seen as yet another American Culture invasion thing. Furthermore, it’s the wrong season here.

    Most of the children who came to the door had on ‘scary’ costumes. I can think of only one girl who dressed up as a princess. The stores all mostly sell costumes of a ghoulish nature and even the ‘Halloween Candy’ is appropriately themed – eyeballs and skulls and such. The $2+ shop had other costumes but they were right at the back (not with the Halloween stuff) and they were expensive to me. There is a reason why there is a ‘+’ sign after the ‘2’ in the store name. That’s where I found the clown mask.

    How was the weather? We had lovely weather and with the longer daylight hours, I thought we’d get more visitors. We didn’t have any decorations to show that we were participating, but we did leave our front porch light on (even though it was still daylight).

    Next year. 🙂

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  4. @ hktelemacher

    I have to say I’m surprised you attend church! Why don’t you just stay home? I know I would. (Please read that in the nicest, most politest tone possible.)

    I, too, reject the kind of god you describe.

    I have never really fully understood the rationale behind a Trunk-or-Treat Party or Harvest Party. It’s just replacing one type of celebration for another and putting a Christian stamp of approval on it. Kind of like Christmas, no? *cough*

    I hope you have a Safe and Fun Halloween!

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  5. As they say on Facebook, “It’s complicated.” As I’ve hinted at before, my wife still thinks of me as at least a nominal Christian, and although we haven’t had a real deep and honest conversation about it at this point I’d say she probably knows (I’m not always subtle) but is either in denial or is concerned about what people will think as we live in a pretty conservative part of the United States. She also wants my support for taking the girls to church as at least at the age they are she believes going to church can help instill positive values. Personally I think you can do it without all of the baggage, but I also think if I didn’t go it would really undermine (in front of the children) what my wife thinks is best and for the most part I consider . . . I’m not going to say harmless per se, or even benign, but I’m going to take an active and careful role to help shape the messages they hear in positive ways. Work at it from the inside, so to speak. It’s definitely a balancing act. In the meantime I make sure they have healthy doses of science and I try to reinforce messages of equality and also feminism. I am hoping that time will do the rest. If they grew up to be progressive Christians, well, that wouldn’t be the worst fate in the world. Probably would still have cultural advantages over being an open atheist, which still has a significant stigma attached to it in the United States.

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  6. I think you’re doing a great job as a father.

    I’ve lived in the US (CA) and I don’t remember Christianity being a big part there. Well, I was invited to Good News Club and I went, but other than that, not really.

    But I get how being an atheist, or heck, even the ‘wrong’ sort of Christian carries significant stigma over there. If the discussions on how suitable are the candidates for political positions are anything to go by.

    Here, we hear hardly a peep about a particular politician’s religious leanings from the mainstream media. It’s just not that important.

    I think what you’re doing is great. Go to church and then supplement at home. And you go out for lunch afterwards. Always a plus in my book! (We come home and have leftover pizza.)

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  1. Pingback: Halloween 2014 | A Yewnique Life

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