Trekking in Faith (2018)
Romans 12:21: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Halloween is a super festive time in our neighborhood, the second fastest growing community in America. When we first moved in, we were overwhelmed by how “into Halloween” our neighbors got, with outdoor decorations galore and even a neighbor building an extension on their home annually for a haunted house giving proceeds to charity.
We loved dressing up (torturing?) our firstborn Landon, choosing the costume and shoving his little baby arms and legs into an annual, adorable ensemble.
But as Landon aged, he became fearful of things. Ghosts, strobe lights set up by neighbors, spooky sounds freaked him out. And Halloween went from being an adorable evening of strollering around a costumed-baby to a night full of fear for a tentative, unsure toddler.
And by the time baby brother arrived on the scene, Landon began to grow out of those fearful Halloween tendencies and the years of the mom-enforced matching costumes commenced!
Halloween, as our boys have aged, have become sweet nights of fellowship with others. We look back fondly over the past six years (with the exception of the Landon-fearful-skeleton year!)
In the past three years, something else has changed in the James family: our faith. We have begun to live out living the gospel and staying diligent in reading God’s word and therefore this year particularly, we struggle with the holiday of Halloween.
Join us as we breakdown our once-favorite holiday according to the Jameses:
Five Things Halloween Is to the Jameses:
- Halloween is a night filled with a sense of community: I love that our neighborhood comes together and that the streets are filled with neighbors, all spending time with one another and introducing themselves to neighbors they may not have met before.
- Halloween is an opportunity for conversation: Our next door neighbors are lovely people, but we spent the first several years not having anything in common with them, as our kids were babies and theirs were teenagers. So we thought! Halloween is a great occasion to strike up conversation with families who look different than you from the outside, but may actually be very much like you on the inside.
- Halloween brings our kids happiness: All month long I hear, “is it Halloween yet? ” There is just absolutely nothing more exciting to a child than a night of dressing up in character, collecting candy and giggling with friends. We love letting our kids be kids.
- Halloween is a night kids can follow their dreams: Every year, our boys dream up something different. “I’m a police officer! I’m a ninja! I’m really Spider-man!” It’s exciting to watch young kids live out their dreams, even if only for one night, and watching their little imaginations run wild.
- Halloween is exciting: Every year there is an intangile excitement in the air. Parents are excited to set out candy they’ve been saving to hand out and kids are excited for the night to begin. Working parents leave early to partake and sports teams and after school activities are scheduled around ensuring that every child who has interest can participate in this night of excitement.
There are a lot of things that our family, as we walk closer now in an intimate relationship with God, does not like about Halloween, too.
Five Things Halloween Isn’t to the Jameses:
- Halloween isn’t about evil spirits, ghosts and witchcraft: We know that these scary things are all a part of Halloween, but we teach our boys that these things that are meant to scare us are truly just that: things. They aren’t real and they will never be real. If something is too scary for our child, we avoid it.
- Halloween isn’t about living in fear: While spooky sights can induce fear, our goal as Christ-centered parents this Halloween is not to scare children, but instead to point them to Jesus in any fears they do experience. The Bible states that anyone who is anxious should come to God with their fears and so we remind our boys of that through the Halloween season. Landon had a nightmare about the song “Monster Mash” just the other night, so the scary song he heard somewhere actually provided us an opportunity to encourage him to lean into Jesus with that fear.
- Halloween isn’t a free night of mischief: Growing up in NJ, the night before Halloween was coined Mischief Night, a night where you could throw eggs at houses or toilet paper a neighbor, all in good fun. We strongly believe that while connecting with a neighbor is always a good plan, acting out in mischief, whether joking or not, is not the best option for anyone.
- Halloween isn’t a reason to get wasted: I’m not really sure when this began to happen, but over the years we have noticed a trend of “Boozing your neighbor” – dropping off alcohol indiscreetly for your neighbor to enjoy leading up to the Halloween occasion. While we do drink wine regularly, (we are big wine lovers!), we do not believe that Halloween is a night for adults to dress scantily, get wasted by taking shots at our neighbors’ house.
- Halloween isn’t a night to be gluttonous: While we do eat sugary foods in our home in moderation, our boys light up with Reese’s cups’ eyes on the night of Halloween. Candy! All of it! Mine! Right now! Halloween is not a night where we allow our boys to eat in excess, nor do we allow them to keep an excessive amount of candy. We typically allow our boys to choose a handful of their favorite treats and then before their earlier bedtime, they dump the rest of the candy they collected through trick-or-treating in the bowl for sharing.
We believe that you can love Jesus and enjoy the occasion of Halloween. All of the things that Halloween is that we don’t like can be turned into fruitful conversations with our kids about what we do believe in. We aren’t putting our faith in ghosts, but instead in the Holy Spirit.
Boo! The Jameses