Making Halloween Meaningful

Halloween is coming up and I hope you already have all the decorations and costumes you want because the stores have switched to Christmas gear.  I myself am a bit of a curmudgeon.  I don’t put up a fake cemetery in my yard. I don’t buy spooky knick-knacks or display carved pumpkins. In fact, if it weren’t for trunk or treat, I wouldn’t even dress up!  I like candy as much as the next person, but I can get that all year long! Despite my reluctance, people will dress up in ghastly garb and spend an untold amount of money (actually Forbes puts the price tag at about $9 billion!)  on lawn décor and bric-a-brac all for the sake of an amusing night of gathering candy from your neighbors under threat of trickery.    It’s fun.  It’s tradition.  It’s good for the economy.  But is there a way for your family to inject some meaning into the practice of Halloween? Well, to begin with, Halloween is literally another way to say, “All Hallows Eve”.  Those familiar with the Lord’s prayer will know that the Lord’s name is “hallowed”, meaning “holy” or “set-apart”.  So, Nov. 1st is known as “All Saints Day” for it is on this day when we are to celebrate those who have passed away and lived their lives in a holy manner, dedicated to God.  All Saints Day does not include candy and so does not enjoy the popularity of the preceding day, Halloween.  However, here’s an idea: After dinner on Nov. 1st, as the kids whine for some candy from their stash, have them each select a few pieces and lay them out on the table.  Before everyone digs in, help them remember people from your family/church/neighborhood who are no longer with us.  Share with your kids how those people affected you, how you saw God in them and other things you might remember.  Give the kids a chance to reminisce on these folks.  Then eat a piece of candy and move on to the next piece by mentioning another person. This is not just an exercise in re-living the past.  Use it as an opportunity to look toward the future!  Death is something all people face, and all cultures have a certain way of dealing with it.  In our Western culture, we mostly ignore it and try to postpone it as long as we can.  However, kids can and should talk about death!  They think about it anyway.  In this, they are no different than adults.  As Christians, we know that we have the upper hand on death.  It has no sting! It has no victory (1 Corinthians 15:55)! So, go on and have your fun on Halloween, but the next morning, remember to make the fun meaningful and memorable.  Help your kids understand that through Jesus, death can be as sweet as candy.