As most of you know, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses against indulgences on the chapel door in Wittenberg, Germany. Reformation Day has been celebrated on All Hallow’s Eve in the Lutheran church ever since.
When our children were little, our church held “Harvest Parties” on Halloween night to redeem the day. Our children dressed up in costumes and received treats for participating in games. It was like a carnival, with each small group fellowship in the church responsible for a booth or game, and the children received candy for their take home sacks at each booth. There was usually some teaching too, about the dangers of the occult or the biblical admonitions to separate from the world.
My husband always made the kids’ costumes for these nights. I couldn’t bring myself to participate, even marginally, in something which I saw as celebrating the enemy’s “holy” day; it was too abhorrent to me as a believer. He came up with ideas for costumes that I would have never thought of, and since none of them involved sewing, they were usually very unique. One I particularly remember was a tube of toothpaste: dress the child in white tights or sweatpants and a turtleneck, wrap the child in a cardboard cylinder painted white, with the “Crest” logo in magic marker (with holes cut out for the arms to go through), and make a hat out of a corrugated cardboard cone with the tip cut off, painted white. He found that a large rubber band, cut, with each end stapled to the inside of the hat, worked as a chin strap to keep the thing on the head.
I still hate Halloween. Zane is dressing up as a monkey and trick or treating at the local hospital, where his other grandma works, and the local mall tonight. The church we go to now doesn’t have Harvest Parties for kids. If I were raising my children over again, and my husband was in agreement, I would shun Halloween and Harvest Parties and any identification with the world in any way, and celebrate Reformation Day instead, and use the day to teach the children why the world is an enemy of God, and why we are called to come out and be separate, to be a peculiar people. But that is me.
Some interesting articles I found while researching the history of Halloween, for food for thought:
Should Christians participate in Halloween? by a believer who was a witch before being saved, who has a unique perspective;
The History of Halloween, part 1 and part 2, by a pastor who is trying to debunk Halloween misinformation;
Should Christians participate in Halloween? (different essay) by a Catholic monk, who cites some information which the pastor (above) claims is a myth, but who makes some very good points, I thought, about glorifying the modern culture of death.