As a pastor’s kid from a small, very conservative town, the actual question didn’t surprise me at all. I grew up with Halloween being referred to by the local Christian school as “Satan’s holiday” and things like Fall Fest were hosted to prevent kids from trick-or-treating.
As a teacher in a Christian school, I was on the receiving end of many a parent’s wrath. When a fireman came in to our class and taught about safety the week of Halloween, he gave each child a bag of candy. Later that evening I received a call from an irate parent who wanted to know why the bags had spiders and pumpkins on them when they emphatically told me they weren’t paying for their children to be part of satanic holidays. While I understood their view, I also attempted to let them know the bags were simply part of a kind gesture, nothing more.
I had a different outlook than many of my peers though. My parents always allowed us to dress up and trick or treat through the neighborhoods. I even hosted a Halloween party one year at our home.
I know we could have grown up very sheltered considering my dad’s occupation and the town that we lived in. I know that at times I probably had (or took) too much freedom for my age later on, and it landed me in a few rough spots. I also know that the freedom my parents allowed me along with their values and faith instilled from an early age led me to a place where faith is the center of my life.
Not my religion.
Not the rules I follow.
Not the way I separate myself from the rest of the world.
My husband and I have had many “should we be a part of Halloween?” talks over the years. Last year was the first time our daughter Bella was a part of it, since in years past she was so little it didn’t have much effect on her. We decided that while we weren’t going to celebrate it, we didn’t want her to miss out on the fun of getting to dress up as something and run around gathering candy from neighbors. Then we took her around as she lisped out her “Twick or tweet!” to each family, getting to know our new neighbors in the process.
My hope is that she looks at this the way I do now: a chance to be part of the fun of a holiday without the stuff that can have a more sinister meaning. I don’t think by isolating her from the world, she’ll grow into who she was made to be. I want her to make a choice about who she is because she’s able to judge all sides equally, and with her own wisdom.
And honestly? I think Halloween is a great place to start.
Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, Still Standing Magazine, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post, with smaller glimpses into her day on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.