Julie Lyles Carr: To Treat or Not to Treat...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

To Treat or Not to Treat...

As we head toward the 'Big Night' around here, that of candy and costumes and sugar highs, I thought I would repost some thoughts about Halloween, its history and how that all plays into our family traditions. This is from 2009...

I have a hunch that you just haven't seen enough '7 of 8 as Snow White' yet...
I'm very thoughtful...

So here you go...

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We've had an ambivalent relationship with Halloween through the years. For quite a while, 1 of 8 had a strong conviction as a child that she shouldn't participate. We honored that conviction on her part, but didn't put it on the other kids. A great compromise was going to our church's Harvest Party, that allowed 2 and 3 of 8 to dress up and allowed 1 of 8 to gather candy without doing the Halloween 'thing'.

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We moved to a different neighborhood when 4 of 8 was an infant and discovered our first Halloween in that house was a full-out neighbor experience. All the neighbors were out, visiting, laughing, enjoying the evening. So, through the years, we came to see the annual trick-or-treating as a way to connect with those living around us, a springboard to further contact and conversations. We always made our Halloween fun and light, carving our pumpkins with Christian symbols, telling each trick-or-treater 'God bless you'...and very much meaning it.

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I do understand why families choose to not celebrate Halloween. Our culture has turned it into such a scary and demonic event, taking it far from its original Christian roots of honoring the memory of the dead. And we have had our seasons of turning our back on the event, choosing to keep the porch lights off.

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And we've let the kids vote their conscience as well, sometimes choosing to trick-or-treat, sometimes not.

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But ultimately, for us, all through the years, depending on where we have lived, what the tenor of the neighborhood has been, we have found it to be a night to reclaim goodness and being neighborly. Doors are opened, children are greeted and treated, hands are shaken and friendships are made.

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And however the world has chosen to twist the night for evil, good wins. Good wins.

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