Thursday, January 13, 2011

On "Fall Festivals" and "Trunk or Treat"s

"Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean." ~ Romans 14:13-14

A few months back, hubby and I were in the full swing of getting things ready for Halloween, since it would be our little man's first time trick-or-treating. (The year before he was only 3 months old at Halloween, so we dressed him up like a cow and pulled him around the neighborhood in a wagon with his older cousin.)

I love Halloween, or, as they call it at our local drag club, "Gay Christmas". I love costumes, I love the decorating, I love pretending non-scary things are scary. I looove candy, especially on the one day of the year when grown adults are condoned to tear into it like diabetic 3rd-graders on hiatus. So I was more than pumped now that my little boy was old enough to join in the excitement.

My dad found an amazingly adorable full-body shark costume with little feet, so he looked like a miniature Chevy Chase dressed up as the "land shark". We went to two church fall festival/trunk-or-treats before the 31st, one at his daycare, and one with our church, so we got a lot of wear out of the costume. The morning before we went out for Halloween, we carved a pumpkin into an anime-cat Jack-o-Lantern, and I found out my son loves eating raw pumpkin as much as I do. (BTW, healthy snack for kids = raw pumpkin.)

Being that I am a member of the social media generation, throughout all this I was posting pics on Facebook; pics of the cat-o-lantern, pics of my son in his costume, etc. That was when I started noticing a few weird comments from some of my fb friends. The most alarming ones I saw:

"We're going to pass out Chick tracts instead of candy so our neighbors know how we feel about them letting their children participate in this pagan holiday."

"We're turning our lights off and putting a sign on our door that says, 'We celebrate Jesus, not Satan.'"

"I'm just so glad we have a church fall festival as an alternative to this pagan tradition."

Okay, first of all, my kid dresses up like a shark and going door to door for candy is not celebrating Satan; it's celebrating an old Saturday Night Live sketch. Secondly, what is the major difference between trick-or-treating and church fall festivals? Everyone wears costumes and gets candy. Throwing a Bible verse in there (which the kid isn't going to be paying attention to because, hey, candy) doesn't magically transform the origins of what you're doing into something holy. Besides, if a little bit of harmless trick-or-treating is bad because it stems from something less-than-Christian, surely you won't keep with other such pagan traditions, as, I don't know, chopping down a tree and putting it in your house to decorate it as sacrifice to a fertility god/goddess? Right? Surely, a real Christian wouldn't do something like that?

It all goes back to what Paul wrote to the Romans a couple of millenia ago. If you think it's unclean, then, for you, it's unclean. But back up off the rest of us who think it's fine.

Oh, and by the way, if you want to make sure a kid gets a bad feeling early on about church, lead him on with expectations of candy and give him a tract instead. Seriously, what are you thinking people?


Michelle said...

Well said! I couldn't agree more :)

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

My sentiments exactly. Don't forget the pagan celebration of Christmas!

Beth said...

Thank you so much for posting the link to your site and to this post. I found it very interesting. I need to make peace with it before next years trick or treat comes upon us. I especially took a lot of strength and comfort from the verse you posted Romans 14 13-14
I think with me being British also doesn't help as it's only in recent years it's become popular there so I'm still trying to work out what it is.
many thanks!

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