My oldest birth daughter, Samantha, celebrates her birthday on October 12. That means that her birthday party falls just before Halloween. When she was about nine years old, we threw a birthday party for her in Chicago at a skating rink. She invited all her female classmates, and it was going pretty well. There were about 10 girls having lots of fun. Two of the girls were obviously the leaders in the class, and they took on the role of generating conversation and coming up with ideas of things to do and games to play.
It was very nice. Eventually, it was time to eat pizza, and all the girls sat down around the table, Samantha at the head of the table with the two young leaders on either side of her. The two young ladies turned the topic toward the upcoming Halloween festivities, and who was going to which party and what they would all dress up as. Samantha was quiet and simply ate her pizza while everyone else excitedly shared their costume plans. Tracey and I stood back to observe.
Eventually, one of the young ladies thoughtfully exclaimed, “Oh my goodness! Samantha, it is your birthday and we haven’t heard what you plan to dress up for. What will go to school as on Halloween.” Between bites of pizza, Samantha calmly stated, “I will just go as myself.”
You could have heard a pin drop, time stood still as their brains replayed with incredulity what their ears had recorded.
We do not engage in Halloween celebrations. We see nothing to redeem in the annual event, much to condemn or avoid, and can not comprehend how it could glorify God. When folks tell us what a great opportunity it is to spread the gospel because people are coming to their door, I tend to have two unkind thoughts. The first is, how lazy do you have to be to wait for kids to come to your door for a treat so that you can trick them with the question, “If you die tonight, where will you go!? Muahahahahaha!” I mean, come on, go ye, therefore, do not sit and wait to trick instead of treat.
The other one is, who takes their children to a strip club because it is a great opportunity to share the gospel? Look, son, these folks are clearly sinners out celebrating this horrid thing, so we are going to join in what they are doing so we can share the gospel with them. Oh, we won’t put candy in their underwear, we will use gospel tracts.
I know! I have a lot of other uncharitable ideas about people who claim to love Jesus and participate in Halloween … or, what do the Christians try to call it? “Trunk or Treat” … “Fall Festival” … because we couldn’t have a fall festival any other time of the year…
Well, by now, you are getting the gist of how Samantha was raised and trained. Tracey and I were very interested to see what would happen next.
When time started up again, the young ladies had come to the conclusion that they had clearly misheard. Laughing nervously, one asked, “Seriously? Come on, don’t keep it a secret. Tell us what your costume will be.”
Samantha stopped eating, looked down the table at her classmates, and said, “Seriously. We do not celebrate Halloween. I will just wear what I normally wear and I am not going to any parties.”
The other kids visibly drew back from her. It was somewhat sad to watch, but they were clearly and visibly offended by her words, and one of the girls down the table exclaimed, “But the candy! What about the candy!? You do not get candy!?”
Samantha went back to munching on pepperoni pizza and between mouthfuls she calmly told them, “Look, my dad has a good job and makes plenty of money. If I want candy, I ask for it, and I usually get it. In our home, we do not have to go to the neighbor’s houses to beg for candy.”
So … that is all Samantha and I have to say on the matter.
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