This year we tried an alternative to Halloween. Usually we run a light themed party at the Church as an alternative and then we come home and put up a sign that says ‘sorry, no trick or treat’.
It dawned on me a few weeks ago that it is possible that we could be doing more and so one Sunday morning I floated two ideas that I had found on the internet.
- A meeting half way: If we feel awkward about people knocking on our doors and demanding sweets then we can met them half way by setting up a table outside of the house and offering cakes and tea, coffee or hot chocolate. This gives the opportunity to say that we don’t do trick or treat but to offer generosity in a different way.
- Treat or treating: Instead of knocking on doors and asking for sweets, we baked (okay my wife did, we didn’t want to poison anyone!) some muffins and knocked on doors in order to give them away.
Someone who tried the table approach had an amazing evening with lots positive feedback from a lot of grateful people but our ‘treat or treating’ didn’t go so well. Most people didn’t open their doors, but those who did were very grateful for the cakes.
I think that neither of the two ideas are perfect, but we wanted to think about how we can demonstrate God’s generosity and love rather than just saying that we don’t agree with something.
My objection to Halloween is to do with the demanding nature of trick or treat and the associated fear that it can cause to vulnerable people in their homes. My youngest daughter doesn’t cope well with scary things and many Halloween costumes are too much for her.
I can see potential for Halloween to be a gateway to the occult but I think that my friends who celebrate it are a million miles from any spiritual danger. In fact, I think that worrying that people are going to get into witchcraft because of Halloween is a bit like atheists suggesting that we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas because everyone might start following Jesus. In reality, both festivals for many people in our culture are far removed from any spiritual significance. It can also true though that both festivals can begin a journey and my prayer is that we would choose to journey towards the light rather than the darkness.
The lack of open doors for our treat or treat made me sad because we had a gift for people and it was something really, really good but people didn’t know it was there. I believe that the greatest gift that the world has ever known is Jesus and that he is the light of the world. He wants to be a part of your life and to bring his light and hope to you, all you have to do is ask.
Addition to original post: Shortly after posting this, my daughter was talking about treat or treating. You can get my 5 year old’s perspective on this here.