HALLOWEEN! A holiday filled with controversy for many. People’s attitudes towards Halloween are diverse. Many different religions have varying beliefs about how to celebrate the holiday. Some groups participate by following the traditional Halloween customs. Others don’t participate at all. Some people are concerned about the holiday because they believe that it celebrates the occult and other practices that are incompatible with their beliefs. Some churches have “Fall Festivals” as a way of having their celebration.
Nevertheless, Halloween is a big day for children. As a teacher for the past 25 years, I was surprised to find that the holiday ranked as the number one spot in a lot of children’s hearts. Wonder why that is? Do you have any guesses? I do! Let me list a few reasons why I think that Halloween is so important to our kids.
- Kids love to dress up in costumes
- Kids love to play pretend
- Kids love to receive attention, love
- Kids love to receive a gift-candy
- Kids love to go out with their family and friends
- Kids love to have a present that seemingly lasts forever- candy
At my house we have a costume area where I have a plethora of outfits and hats that my grandkids can get all dressed-up in when they are visiting. It is one of their favorite places to go and get all dolled up as a lovely princess or fit as a fiddle as a Super Hero. They enjoy pretending that they are princesses in distress, who are in dire need of a Super Hero to free them from their plight. Girls love to dress up and be beautiful and charming and boys long to be strong and courageous as a Super Hero.
All kids benefit from this kind of play. When a child is in a costume the child can often act out brave patterns that the child may not be able to exude in his normal life. For instance, if your child has on a dragon costume and he is being brave and saving others from an evil force, he is acting strong and courageous with his costume on. His costume makes him feel heroic and strong as he saves the others. You can applaud him for being so powerful and gallant, pointing out those behaviors that he exuded in his play.
The point I am trying to make is that when your children are playing dress-up and pretend play, then you, as the mom can go and observe their play. When you perceive that one of your children is displaying a character trait of behavior that you are proud of, or that you want to encourage, then give that child verbal praise.
Another one of the bullets about Halloween was that kids love to receive love and attention. Being a classroom teacher, as I have said, I have gone through 25 years of Halloween parties. The kids have brought their costumes to school and when it was party time they would go and get dressed up, a few at a time, as the rest of the class was working on an activity. As each child would scramble back to the room with his or her costume on, the child’s face was radiant, just waiting for the rest of the class to see this precious costume, and anticipating their reaction. I can still hear the “OOh’s” and “Ah’s”. Then we would go on our Halloween parade around the school playground and all the parents would be there. We would literally walk past every grade so that everyone in the entire school could view everyone’s costumes. It was a “Movie Moment”. There would be cameras snapping continuously. The kids felt like they were in Hollywood! Talk about feeling special!!!
The next bullet was that kids love to receive gifts. This one is a no-brainer, isn’t it? What child doesn’t like a gift? Giving a child a Trick or Treat bag is like giving him a bucket of gold, when he figures out he can go up to a door and say “Trick or Treat” and get candy!!! Gift, after gift, after gift, all night long, until the child’s bag is filled to the brim or he is plain tuckered out.
At this point I want to step back into the past for a moment. Years ago, it was 1978 when my first son was 7 months old and he was getting ready to celebrate his first Halloween. He was standing in front of the storm door of our house looking outside at some of the trick-or treaters who had already begun trick- or- treating. Suddenly a car drove by and I heard the glass shatter on our door and my son cry out and slump down to the floor. I rushed over to him and saw that there had been a bee-bee gun that had been shot at our son standing in the doorway. Praise God, it had missed him! I immediately called the police, but they were unable to apprehend the shooter. I was mortified! Who would do such a thing? We lived in a nice, safe neighborhood. How could this happen? This was also during the time period when the news was informing us that all candy and fruit needed to be checked because razor blades had been found in some items previously. At that point in my life, I decided that I hated Halloween. It definitely seemed to bring out the evil in some people.
What got me from the point where I was in 1978 to where I am now? It was the fact that God was with us then in 1978. God literally prevented the pellet from hitting my baby. He protected my child. He was with us, in spite of the evil intent. He has been with me and my son everyday since that time, and that has made all of the difference in my life.
GOD WITH US- “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means, GOD WITH US ” . Matt. 1:23
Kids love to be with their family and friends at Halloween. They love to go “Trick-or-treating” with those who are special to them. So, take time to be with your kids and loved ones on Halloween. No matter how you feel about the holiday- be with those you love and give love to them. Isn’t that the most important quality that we want to display in our lives anyway? Love.
Now- the gift that seemingly goes on forever- the CANDY!
Here are several ideas I’ve heard:
- First of all check all of your candy.
- If anyone is allergic to any items throw those away.
- Collect everyone’s candy and put it in a huge jar and then kids can choose candy out of the jar as a snack or dessert, with monitoring from parents.
- Each child puts candy in a jar with their name on it. Jars stay in kitchen and kids choose candy out of jar as a snack or dessert -with monitoring from parents.
- Let kids eat from their bags Halloween night and next day and then do the jars.
- Eat from Halloween bags over the weekend and then give rest of candy to parents to give to children in need for Christmas. The kids were given to and now they would have a chance to give to someone in return.
Actually, we, as adults, know that candy doesn’t go on forever, and the kids know it, too. But, you can express to your kids that there is the most wonderful gift of all that will last forever and ever. That is the gift of JESUS. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” You can convey to your kids that when they believe in Jesus and accept Him as their savior for the sins that they have committed, that He will forgive them of their sins and come and live in their hearts and they will be promised that they will live eternally with Him in heaven forever.
As a closing point, save your Halloween costumes and construct a dress-up and pretend center in your home for play, if you don’t have one already. You can read stories with your kids and then your kids can play act the stories you have read. You can do this with stories in the Bible, as well. You can fashion your own costumes with cardboard and foil. Be creative!
Here are some resources that may be helpful to you.
May God keep you in the palm of His hand,