It is the day after Halloween and I take a sigh of relief. We made it through another October 31st. We may get the occasional standard question for the next few days of "What were you for Halloween?" However, it is nothing compared to the constant barrage that hit us through out the month of October. Every October I struggle with the questions and doubts in my own mind if we are somehow ruining my daughters childhood memories. Are we depriving them of endless fun and candy by making a deliberate decision not to celebrate Halloween with the rest of the world?
I personally have very fond memories of Halloween from my childhood. I recall my mom spending days working on handmade costumes for my sister and I. She created amazing costumes out of random things around the house. I had a range of costumes from a grandfather clock, a US mailbox, Ace from KISS, Robin Hood and so many more. I loved Halloween. I loved running around the neighborhood with our pillow cases gathering our treats. I loved pouring them all out on the floor at the end of the night to find discovered treasures! My only bad memory of Halloween is one of running up to a house to get my sugary fix, only to have the woman at the door yell at me to go away because they did not celebrate Halloween. My little 6 year old brain could not wrap around such an atrocity. Who does not celebrate Halloween? What? The concept of not giving candy to cute thing munchkins in costumes seemed cruel and absurd to me for most of my life. Then I became an Evangelical Christian and married my conservative husband.
We never really discussed Halloween until we had our first daughter. As October 31st approached, I started to look at the adorable baby costumes to don on my child. I dreamt of the day that I would plan and craft her homemade costumes that would create lifelong memories for her, just as my Mother had done for me. Much to my dismay, my darling hubby was not on the same Halloween page. He had witnessed firsthand the ugly side of Halloween while living in other parts of the country, where the evil side of Halloween were still demonstrated. He saw churches burn to the ground, satanic worship and the evil side of this holiday. His belief was firm, we would not be a family that would celebrate Halloween. I tried for several years to convince him, it didn't work. Then I searched for alternative ways around celebrating it as an Evangelic Christian. There were a few years that we would travel over an hour to attend "Christian Fall Festivals" on Halloween night, as an alternative to the traditional celebrations. However, a member of our church pointed out that if something looks like a duck, quacks likes a duck and waddles like a duck.......it must be a duck. So our Fall Festivals on Halloween night came to a screeching halt. I love and respect my husband. He felt strongly that our family should not celebrate Halloween, and I chose to respect that decision. It actually took a missionary from Kenya, who was visiting our church during the month of October, to convince me that we should not in fact celebrate Halloween in the way our country does. As he was making a plea for money to be able to feed over 400 children only one meal a day, he broke down in tears. After his tears, he became visibly angry. He spoke of his heart break as he drove around our New England towns witnessing the obscene amount of money Americans spend on Halloween. Between the costumes, candy and decorations spent on Halloween, Americans spend millions of dollars each year. As we are pouring our money into a "holiday", children in his country are literally starving to death. He has in fact wrapped children in real death cloth, as we may do to our children who want to dress up like a mummy. They consider themselves blessed IF they get one meal a day. After listening to him speak, I never looked at Halloween the same way.
Several years have past and now we have two children who constantly have to field the never ending questions. Every October the sense of guilt returns to my heart. Every time I hear my sweet girls respond with "we don't celebrate Halloween", my heart aches for my perceived memories that they are missing out on. They often have the sad look on their faces as they see even their Christian friends preparing for Halloween celebrations and trick or treating. Every October I count down the days until it is over, when it is November 1st, when we can start planning Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Don't get me wrong, we still have a great deal of fun through October. We strive to provide an environment that makes room for ton of fun, while using the actual day as a teachable moment to celebrate God’s plan and purpose for our lives.We enjoy every other moment of Fall from apple picking, pumpkin painting, leaf piles and mulled apple cider. They play dress up through out the year and attend dress up events at their church club program. The club program has a special night in Fall for the students to dress like their hero. My girls love this special evening. They have donned costumes of Bruce Lee, Queen Ester, Bethany Hamilton and more. We usually choose a special family activity to do together on Halloween Night to create other special memories for them. We've had family game nights, movie nights, special dinners and this year we took them out to a Japanese hibachi restaurant for the first time. We had a wonderful night. The girls faces were so precious as they watched the chef prepare the food right at our table. However, from the hostess to the chef, the girls were grilled with why they weren't out trick or treating. My oldest has gotten very talented at answering the questions with confidence. Last night, she purposely chose to wear a shirt with a cross and large letters that says "Born Again". My youngest, still struggles with the concept. She is the same age as I was when that "crazy, absurd woman" (remember her?) turned me away at the door because she didn't celebrate Halloween. Oh my, am I that woman? Are we THAT family? Not exactly. If we happen to be home on October 31st, I always have a big bowl of candy just in case we get some little costumed munchkins at the door.
I will probably struggle with this inner battle for the remaining years of my daughters childhood. I am curious of how they will choose to celebrate or not celebrate October 31st when they become adults living outside our umbrella. Will they think we ruined their childhood by not allowing them to go trick or treating? Will they harbor some deep seeded anger toward us over this? Do people think we are brain washing them or trying to force our beliefs on them. Do I care what people think or should I care more about what God thinks? These questions haunt me (pun intended) every year as the date approaches. I do know that every year on the morning of November 1st, I feel relieved and relaxed. In an effort to clarify my feelings, if only to myself, I chose to write about it this year.
So here I am on November 1st, thankful that we made it through another year. I think next year, we should make more of an effort to impress the missionary story on to the hearts of my children. I think instead of taking them out for a fancy dinner and buying the extra bag of candy, we should make a family donation to that missionary's school in Kenya.
Happy November y'all...
Welcome to the Potter's Wheel! We are so glad to have you stop by! Although one may be tempted to think you are on a blog about pottery, don't let the title fool you! This is a collection, a chronicle so to speak, of my world as a piece of lumpy clay on the crazy spinning wheel of The Potter. It is my view, as I see it, while spinning wildly in what sometimes feels like an out of control ride at the county fair. Although it appears that way to me and to the casual observer, the wheel is under the full control and guidance of the One. The One who can take a lumpy piece of clay and eventually turn it in to something beautiful in His eyes. My stories will cover so many topics that I have tried to break them down in an easy manner with the tabs below. Look down now!!!! You will find tabs that cover FAITH, FAMILY, CANCER, HOMESCHOOLING, KIDS ACTIVITIES, AND ADVENTURES ON THE ROAD. The posts are best read under the guise of each tab instead of in chronological order. It is part of my LUMPY ADHD, so you will have to deal with it! I hope that something I write will provide you with a "golden nugget" to put in your pocket for your own journey. Get out your motion sickness pills...It is going to be a crazy ride.
Love ya, Lumpy
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