Our family is not big on Halloween. We have never understood how fear could be made fun and the darkness of death glorified. Perhaps our experiences of the reality of fear and of death have come close enough for us to realize how not fun they are. Or maybe our belief in a God who is the author of joy and peace, who tells us to “fear not” and assures us that life and living is precious, compels us to stand apart. Either way, this is a season we find ourselves walking through a world we do not know. We stay home more, pray more, spend less time in the stores, and less time in front of the TV.
One way we have found to quell our unease in recent years is to focus more on the holidays that come after. We spend time talking about Thanksgiving and what we’ll fix for dinner and who we’ll spend time with. We plan our Christmas lists and have usually had much of our shopping done before Thanksgiving. It has become our tradition to have a family night out on Halloween. Sometimes we’ll go shopping for Christmas or out to a nice dinner and maybe a movie or we’ll get out and visit with family or friends. For us it has become easier to avoid the season altogether than try to pierce the darkness.
That is not to say we are silent or hiding. If people ask we do share out faith and the reasons why we choose not to participate…and in that way we are a light. But we do not go house-to-house begging for candy or threatening mischief; we do not hand out tracts to children hoping for treats; we do not decorate our home in cobwebs and dry bones and headstones; we do not dress up like Bible characters then go to the church fellowship hall and play party games for candy prizes and call it a “harvest party”. For us, it is more important to avoid even the appearance of evil. It is more important to be different enough that people will notice and ask why than to become so like the world that those really seeking answers could not tell that we have any to offer.
There is already enough evil in the world. Do we really need to celebrate death, destruction, deceit, and depravity? When I was a kid Halloween was hokey and silly and relatively innocuous, but over the past few years a darkness has overtaken the revelries that even the fiercest of jack-o-lanterns cannot ward off. If enough of us choose to stand apart with our little lights and attract even one who is lost and looking, could we not turn around our towns…our cities…our nation? I’m not suggesting we get into people’s faces and be their judge and jury – I do not believe that is not our part to play in the story. Only the Good Lord can change someone’s heart. He can only do that if they come near…they will only come near if they see a light shining somewhere…and he has chosen us to shine through…