Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween and Judgment

After Kindergarten yesterday, we were allowing the kids to play outside as some of us moms discussed different topics yesterday. One topic, in particular, was trick or treating. There are definitely different views about this activity. One is that Halloween is a pagan holiday and therefore, Christians should not participate at all. Another I witnessed last night as I drove through one neighborhood all decked out with ghosts and goblins, lights and tombstones. Still, there are others that just participate without much thought given to the matter.

One of the moms was discussing how her daughter was informed that she was “bad” by another little girlfriend because their family chooses to participate in Halloween. This mom was clearly offended by this and to be honest, I don’t blame her. We are so busy living our “righteous” lives that we don’t take the time to think about the feelings of others. Judgment is quickly offered about everything for everyone. Naturally, we pass that on to our children. They learn to pass judgment at an early age. Rarely do we give the benefit of the doubt.

I grew up passing judgment quickly on many occasions. I can still vividly recall numerous accounts where my “high and mighty” attitude came before the feelings of others. I even informed my own father that he wasn't doing Christmas right because he didn't ritually read us the Christmas Story. It is a mind state I am still working hard to change.

When we hold to a belief in our family, I want our reasons to honor God as well as our actions. I want our children to learn to always give the benefit of the doubt. Extending grace is an action that is learned. God taught us through His actions and we must do the same for our children.

Do we personally celebrate Halloween? We do our best to focus on the harvest that carries through to Thanksgiving. Do we allow our girls to trick-or-treat? I think there are more opportunities to extend grace by participating than by withdrawing. We simply tell them that some people like to make Halloween scary. We don’t. We just like to have fun. (Honestly, I personally just avoid the fright at all costs. It just comes to close to our world’s reality for me. Besides, I still have trouble taking showers at motels! Psycho.)

Let me clarify that I think it is just fine if your family decides to abstain from this celebration of Halloween. To be honest, I revisit the matter every year. I just think it is important to make sure we aren’t raising little judgment passers. I know it is something I fight against daily in my own mind and heart. Judgment is God’s business; not mine. I simply don’t qualify to pass judgment on others.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7


  1. I just finished writing a post on this topic to be released later tonight. I then went to Google Reader and read this post. Tristi, all I can say is "Amen." How is it virtuous or helpful to make a lost person feel condemned because they let their kids collect candy? We just don't get it! As a Christ-follower, I want to be known as the house on the street that gives out the best treats!

  2. Great post - love the thought you put into it. Susan and I have had a similar journey in dealing with this topic and have reached the same conclusion you have.

  3. I read about your journey, John, on Dennis' blog. Very inspiring. Yet, I still have to question a holiday where we take our kids to walk the neighborhood to beg for candy and then gorge for days! Even so, it seems the positive of participating outweighs the negative. I even received one comment from an elderly man that my kids are nice. He said he liked that. Not sure what children he had at his door before us but glad mine were well-behaved in the moment.