I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Evolution of Halloween in Our Home

The Evolution of Halloween in Our Home: How one family shares the Gospel on Halloween.-The Unlikely Homeschool

If I were to tell you that I feel like our family should have soup for supper, would you feel judged?


Even if you are going to be serving pot roast and not soup?

What if I gave you a lengthy list telling you the reasons WHY I feel like soup tonight would be the best meal plan for my family. Would THAT make you feel like I was judging your dinner-time choice?  

You'd probably have to admit that you WOULD NOT feel judged simply because MY family chooses to have soup at supper while your family chooses to have something else.  I am merely stating a choice WE have made and giving some specific reasons why we have made that choice. I am making absolutely no references to the fact that I think your choice is good or bad.  NO JUDGEMENT. JUST INFORMATION. 

With that in mind, I would like to publicly answer a question I have received privately in hopes that you might know how the celebration of Halloween has evolved in our home...and most importantly, in our hearts.

The Evolution of Halloween in Our Home: How one family shares the Gospel on Halloween.-The Unlikely Homeschool
"Free Puppy" box

Celebrating Halloween: The Early Years

The Hubs and I both grew up in homes that did not celebrate Halloween.  For the most part, our parents chose not to indulge in costumes, candy, or crowded parties.  If truth be told, we both grew up believing that Halloween was for THE WORLD and we were not to be OF THE WORLD.  END OF STORY.

Neither one of us feel like we ever missed out...certainly, our dental hygiene was better-off having skipped the mounds of sugar.

But then, when we had a little one of our own, the choice to CELEBRATE or NOT TO CELEBRATE was left to us.  We knew that avoiding witches, ghosts, and goblins in our decorations and costumes was a non-negotiable.  But, we thought it would be so much fun to dress our little darlin' in something "innocent" and parade her around to all the relatives' homes.  What momma doesn't want to show off her baby?

It seemed harmless.  NO WITCHES.  NO GOBLINS.  Just simple fun with a few Tootsie Rolls thrown in for good measure. 

And so, our tradition of whippin' up homemade costumes and showing off our smiling tot(s) continued for four years.

In fact, one year, Little Miss Muffet and her spider side-kick ended up on the front page of the town newspaper because of "all the cuteness!" 

The Evolution of Halloween in Our Home: How one family shares the Gospel on Halloween.-The Unlikely Homeschool
Miss Muffet and the Spider who sat down beside her

Hiding From Halloween:  The Transition Year

And then our little cuties began to grow up, as all little cuties do.  And with their growth came curiosity.  Our daughter began to ask those infamous WHY questions about our pattern of living.

  • Why do we light fireworks on the 4th of July?
  • Why do we celebrate Jesus' birthday in December when we think He was probably born in the spring?
  • Why do we get to stay up until midnight on THIS night and no other night of the year?

Why, Daddy and Mommy?  Why?

As we approached our fifth Halloween season, The Hubs and I knew that the WHYs of this holiday were sure to come.  We preemptively began to formulate our answer before the question was even posed.

Ummm...because it's a chance to dress up in silly costumes?  But we play dress-up everyday.  What makes this day any different?

Ummm...because we get free candy? But Papa will give me free candy any time I ask for it?  Why do we need to have a special day for him to give it to me?


And no matter how hard we tried, neither one of us could come up with a logical reason why WE celebrated Halloween.  The fact of the matter is, we could proudly proclaim the historical or Biblical significance of EVERY OTHER holiday we chose to celebrate as a family.  But, the "heritage" of Halloween was certainly not a tale we wanted to tell to our children.  With its deep-rooted history of witchcraft, divination, and occult worship, the TRUE STORY of Halloween was one we were embarrassed and ashamed to admit.  We knew our curious kids would eventually find out the "back story" to this dark day, and felt sure that our pathetic attempt to put a "smiley face sticker" on it would make us look like hypocrites to them.  

After seeking Scripture and praying about the fast-approaching "holiday", The Hubs and I decided to put a permanent halt on our Halloween tradition.  

In fact, we were so convicted of our choice to "flee evil" that we, sadly, locked our doors, turned out the lights, and refused to answer when any costumed tots knocked.  WE BURIED OUR HEADS in hopes that the entire evening would pass quickly!

The Evolution of Halloween in Our Home: How one family shares the Gospel on Halloween.-The Unlikely Homeschool

Redeeming Halloween: Our New Tradition

Fast-forward to the next fall.  The morning of October 31st, The Hubs and I felt ashamed once again.  Not because we had PARTICIPATED in a holiday that the devil has sought to claim for hundreds of years, but because we let him claim it!  We looked back on that "lost" Halloween year and realized that we had let him win.  

We are Christians.  We are followers of Christ.
The very Man who died to redeem the world.  THE WORLD and all the sin in it...that includes the sin of witchcraft. And divination. And occult worship.  

He died, rose again, and won the victory over sin, death, and the devil and ANY day he attempts to claim.  All Christ asks of us, who have received His free gift of salvation, is to GO and TELL.

Go and tell.  Simple.  

And isn't that what we, as Christians, seek to do?  GO and TELL?  Some days are harder than others.  Let's face it, some weeks...or even years...are harder than others.  As a homeschool mom who spends 80% of her days in the same four walls, it's often difficult for me to find ANYONE to Go and Tell, other than my own children.

But, on this day.  

This one singular day, I have dozens of eager little faces coming to my door.  Eager little faces who might not know the Good News because they have never been told.  SO WHY...on this one day that GOD MADE, that CHRIST REDEEMED, that GOD SUSTAINS...why on this one day would I choose to lock my door, turn out the lights, and refuse to tell?  I don't even have to GO!  They are coming...no THEY ARE RUNNING...to me.  

Didn't Christ come to seek and to save THAT WHICH IS LOST and in darkness?  I can't think of any day darker than Halloween? Can you?  

And so, as Halloween loomed once again, we chose a different path.  We chose to "overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21b)

That afternoon, we quickly hand-wrote several Bible verses on festive fall paper and gathered up what tidbits of candy we could find from around the house in hopes that our "five loaves and two fish" would be multiplied in our neighborhood that night.

We sat all of our children down and in the simplest terms explained to them that we each had an opportunity to be a LIGHT in the DARK.  We practiced our plan of answering the door and sharing Christ's love for our neighbors, and prayed that God would be glorified on HIS DAY by our little efforts.

That was three years ago.

Halloween 2013

In just a few short days, we'll be lining up at our front door.  Like last year, we've purchased several packs of Halloween-themed Gospel tracks and the biggest and best candy we can afford.  We've budgeted BIG because this is a BIG DEAL!  After all, how often do you get to share the GOOD NEWS to so many people in ONE NIGHT?  We anticipate dozens of kids knocking on our door eagerly hoping for a gift.  I can assure you, they will get one.  Along with cavity-inducing candy treats, they will also be given the TRUTH.  

My kids will each takes turns helping to answer the door.  They will smile, pass out our gifts, and say "God loves you" in their own unique way and in doing so, they will get to see first hand how bright God's love can shine through the darkness.  There will be no judgement.  No criticism for those who celebrate or don't celebrate.  It will just be us...answering our door...doing what God has called us to do.

This Halloween, our light will be on.  Will yours?

*Disclaimer:  Occasionally, we have a few gory-looking costumed kids come to our door.  While we definitely want to give them a Gospel track, we also make it a priority to shield the eyes of our own children from costumes that would frighten them.  For this reason, The Hubs and I take turns monitoring the approaching children through the window.  If an oncoming costume would potentially scare our children, The Hubs or I answer the door alone without the assistance of one of our five kids.  


  1. We have been through a similar change over the years of Halloween. We finally came to a similar conclusion as you. What other night are all the neighbors out? and they're actually knocking at our door. We have used it as a time to build relationships with our neighbors. We sit outside and serve up candy, hot chocolate, and cider. We hope to start some good conversations or at least start to become a familiar face to them by giving.

  2. This is exactly what God has been telling me too! Thank you so much for posting this because I needed just a touch of guidance! This year, Halloween will take on a different "flare" in our home as well. It is truly a great opportunity to share the light of Jesus with a ton of children and their parents! God bless you!!

  3. Great post! We did the same thing on Halloween before we had kids. My husband is a designer and designed the coolest little gospel tracts & printed them. We handed them out in little bags with THE BEST candy available- various types of chocolate, of course! I hope everyone who does this makes sure they're handing out chocolate or something else equally desired, b/c any kid who gets "meh" candy with a gospel tract is NOT going to appreciate the message, and in fact will probably despise it. Same goes with handing out a tract with no candy. Or something like raisins...lol.

    1. I wish we had trick or treaters in our area, but no one comes here. We have had 1 in 40 years! So we go and enjoy the beautiful costumes else where.

  4. thank you so much. we stopped "doing Halloween" a few years ago. Never really knowing what we should be doing with that night. Now I am inspired and it's going to be a great night :)

  5. Great post Jamie. I love the idea- can I use it too? :)

  6. My husband and I are church planters and moved to a single family home this summer. All of our lives we have shut our doors and ignored the knocks. This year God has placed it in our hearts to be the light in our new neighborhood. As homeschoolers I don't get to meet people much and he is bi-vocational as we are starting from scratch. This article was that confirmation we needed to see that this is the way to reach the people and family in our area. We will be shining in Pa!

  7. "SO WHY...on this one day that GOD MADE, that CHRIST REDEEMED, that GOD SUSTAINS...why on this one day would I choose to lock my door, turn out the lights, and refuse to tell?"

    YES, YES, YES! I love your approach to this. Thank you for sharing what your family does. My daughters are 1 & 3 and we've had similar discussions...what is the purpose of this holiday? What do we want them to learn? How do we shine light on what *could be* a very dark day?

  8. What a refreshing post! Halloween is such a volatile topic in the blogging world.We will be spending the evening in our church parking lot interacting with children from the nearby elementary school where several of our members volunteer.

  9. I love this idea! We usually just go to a trunk or treat at our church but it doesn't always coincide with Halloween evening- what a great idea to hand out a Christian message! We always do for Christmas, but never thought to do it for Halloween- love this inspiration. Of course we won't get any trick or treater's here in Germany, but I'll definitely use this idea when we move back to the states.

  10. We have evolved several times over the many years we have been raising children. For 40 years to be exact. We began by taking the children trick or treating but we have had one main rule. No scary costumes. As those children got older and the teenage children in our town got rougher and took the fun out of it we changed. We voted to go to the store and each child (4) picked out a bag of candy they wanted no matter the cost. We dumped it all in a bowl and enjoyed for days to come. Then the next generation came along, we decided to trick or treat in the mall where it is well lit and had security. This year we have decided to go to a party at the local church. So Happy Trick or Treating to all.

  11. I'm glad that you shared your views and what your family does on Halloween. I wrote a post about it. (http://no-idle-bread.blogspot.com/2013/10/halloween-what-to-do.html)

    It seems that there is so much condemnation that it is difficult to just have a conversation about Christianiy and our convictions about Halloween. I'm glad you found what works for your family.
    Take care,

  12. As Roman Catholics, we celebrate All Hallows and All Saints. All Hallows (Halloween) we have a saint's party complete with themed snacks and crafts. We read the pumpkin gospel and the happy little pumpkin and talk about how God cleans out the gunk in our souls so we can shine with his light. We do pass out candy and the kids visit our neighbors houses for treats. On Friday we celebrate the Mass of All Saints. I always struggled with Halloween growing up (I grew up protestant) and am so glad to have a real reason to celebrate.

    1. Yes! Thank you! Many Protestants do not realize that this day does have Catholic roots (as do Protestants). :) I think that we can choose to celebrate in a way that is pleasing to God or choose not to celebrate if one chooses. I personally do not know one person that has been "saved" by a tract and find them slightly offensive as one who used to be Protestant. With that said, if people are passing them out from their own house then more power to them. I prefer acts of kindness and showing Christ's love to others as opposed to giving out tracts and trying to "Christian-ize" a holiday that already has Christian/Catholic roots. http://www.wordonfire.org/WoF-Blog/WoF-Blog/October-2012/Culture--Time-for-Catholics-to-Embrace-Halloween.aspx

  13. We choose not to acknowledge Halloween or give out candy, (I'm not sure that we've ever even been at home on a Halloween night,) but I appreciate your approach nonetheless. It's an effort to shine the light of Christ and bring good from something bad, so I believe it's commendable. Personally, I'm experiencing my own evolution of October 31st, leaning more and more toward a celebration of Reformation Day. Not as an alternative to Halloween, because my kids don't like the idea of Halloween to begin with, but as a day to teach them some church history and rejoice in the movement that would help bring God's word to common people like ourselves.

  14. GREAT POST! We did the same thing. Tried to avoid it. One year after that we were out trick or treating, met new neighbors, and invited them to church. We've been great friends since. We're in a new neighborhood this year - and we'll be out meeting our neighbors inviting them to church.

  15. Such an inspirational post. Our family has also waffled back and forth. Before we had children, we adamantly did not participate in Halloween...did not open the door for any reason. After the kiddos came, it changed. We will be borrowing some of your wonderful traditions :)

    1. I hope you and your family have a wonderful time sharing God's love.

  16. This is what God said in the Scriptures. I just want to point out He is the SAME yesterday, TODAY and Tomorrow. His words do not change. Be blessed -

    2 Corinthians 6 : 14-17
    14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

    15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

    16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

    18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

  17. This is my most favorite post you have ever written! It may have just changed my whole attitude towards Halloween. I have gone back and forth and we have tried to not be home on Halloween in the past, but not this year!!! Oh no! My head is swirling with ideas! The birthday Project FB page had a post today about a few neighbors who got together to offer donuts and coffee and just build relationships with their neighbors! I am going to do it!! Thank you so much!! I thank God for you!
    Nikki Flory

    1. Oh, Nikki, I am just seeing this now. I hope your plans went well. They sound wonderful! Thanks for the encouragement.

  18. I can appreciate your attitude towards the topic and enjoy that you have found a great way to spread the word of Gods glory. Although, my husband and I are very spiritual and try to actually avoid sheltering our kids. We actually have never not let them be scared of a "scary" costume, we explain that it is a costume, a mask, and that it can be what evil does look like. (some evil doesn't even look evil, but can be anyone or anything) We also like to reinforce that if faced with evil or something scary not be scared of it or have fear, but to remember God's love and have Faith in him that they will be protected. You can be surprised regardless of age, that when this is explained to a child with the right attitude and calmness they will understand.

    1. While I respect your decision to build up your child's faith in God's ability to protect him/her, I also think there is wisdom in Psalm 101:3, "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me."

      Yes, there are many "evil" things that do not even appear evil, but why not avoid OBVIOUS evil like witches, goblins, and a bloody serial killer. (We've had a few of those come to our door.) I know from my own personal experience that I can have a complete trust in God's protection but have an awful nightmare while I am sleeping. Why? Because an image I saw in the day becomes a nightmare at night.

      I realize we live in a world where evil is all around us and is unavoidable. BUT, God does clearly state in many verses throughout Scripture to guard ourselves from it. So, even I, as a grown adult, guard myself from watching certain movies and reading certain books that have obvious evil elements...If for no other reason than I've been instructed to do so from His Word.

      Perhaps, you look at that and think "sheltering". I think "obedience."

  19. I just added your blog to my feed and noticed this post as I was scrolling down. I wrote a very similar post with the same conclusion as yours. I didn't have the nerve to publish it for several days until I saw a few others coming out of the closet as well, and then I finally published it. No negativity but then, it's still a very new blog.

    Your blog is great and I'll be checking it out!

    1. So glad to know I'm not the only one. The negativity is a part of blogging. You grow thick skin pretty quick knowing that not everyone will agree with you.

  20. but you are still enticing THEM to participate in something you dont....really....so its not really going to change their hearts. right ?

  21. 1 Thessalonians 5:19

  22. Thank you for your post! We have a little one and have been debating on how to approach this "holiday" as well. We did not want to take away childhood experiences but also want to show our Light. Thanks for sharing your opinion!

    1. God bless you in the decisions you and your family will make for your future regarding Halloween.

  23. Thank you so much for this post, even though it was a year ago. After feeling convicted about not participating in Halloween when our oldest child was in kindergarten, what we decided to do, was have a "Jesus Day" on October 31, so our kids don't feel like they're missing anything. We have treats, play games, and do crafts, with as much as possible in Biblical theme. But I love your idea about handing out tracts with good treats. That's something I never thought about before and will talk about it with my hubby. Bless you and yours!



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