Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Christian mother's thoughts on Hallowe'en -allowing teens to trick or treat- & World Vision's pumpkin hearts appeal.

I hate Halloween. I know this is not a popular view but I just don't get how this so called festival has grown so much in the last few decades to the point where you can't go for a meal, or do any children's half term activity this week without the whole thing being black and orange.

Top that with the fact that I am actively Christian. Now I don't believe that Halloween encourages our children to take up the Black Arts or aspire to be vampires -  I'm just vaguely uncomfortable with the idea of making anything related to the occult toddler-friendly. And don't start me on zombies!

my son;s pumpkin patch at schoolI hate the way it has become an excuse for every High Street store and a host of organisations to sell us "spooktacular" stuff. I wrote about this whole subject last year.

I hate that I feel pressured to dress up, decorate my home and trudge round the streets begging for cheap sweets. I hate the wafts of cold air every time we are visited by overexcited children in ever increasingly identical supermarket costumes collecting sweets I can ill afford and would never normally buy.

At least from what I've seen in America the focus is not always on witches and ghouls - it seems you can dress up in anything with some people making gorgeous costumes - I'd love to see a parade of super heroes and cute animals at my door.

I've taken inspiration from the States and encouraged my children to create their own costumes or choose something away from the fake-blood stained aisle.

So this year my 14 year old daughter will be sporting day-glow leggings, a rainbow tutu and headband boppers while my 8 year old daughter plans to wear a sparkly dress with a cute bowler hat with cat ears - whiskers to be added with face paint.

Grumpy will be dressing as Pikachu for our church's Light Up The Dark party - but then he dresses as Pikachu on a daily basis anyway. And I believe my 9 year old son is donning his favourite gorilla onesie. We will serve hot dogs, play games like apple bobbing, eating mini doughnuts off dangling string and generally have lots of fun.

PikachuThis is the first year I have told my older children they could go Trick Or Treat-ing with friends instead of coming to the party ( which really is aimed at younger children).

I said they could go in a group with friends,  time limited, with restrictions on where they go. I am happy with my decision because for them the excursion is all about sweets and friendship.

They don't intend to scare anyone and they know to only visit homes of people we know - easily done in our small village. I did chuckle though - having allowed them the choice of church party or Trick or Treating I heard them discussing their plan which seems to involve them spending most of their allotted time actually at the party. Big relief for me to know they really do enjoy our alternative.

Today we will be carving pumpkins - but I have suggested to the children that at least one of them is carved with hearts to support the World Vision charity's appeal to "turn a night of fear into a night of hope."

The idea is to show the children of Syria who live in fear every day that we are thinking of them - you can carve a virtual pumpkin or upload a picture of your real one on the World Vision website with a message for the children. All the messages will be made into a mosaic which will be shown to Syrian children living in Lebanon next month.
World Vision digital pumpkin carved with hearts
Our family's digital pumpkin for World Vision

You can also donate £5 by texting "HEART" to 70060 if you are able to support World Vision's work- the same cost as a bucket of sweets which we hand out on Halloween. I know what I'd rather spend my money on.

17 comments:

  1. I'm not a fan of Halloween either and don't buy spooky costumes for my girls - this year we have cat costumes so they can still join in with the fancy dress but it is something they can play dress up with outside of Halloween. My children are too little for trick or treating but if we ever do start doing it we would only go to people we know. I love this idea for pumpkin carving and turning Halloween into a focus of giving hope to others.

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    1. Thankyou Louise - It's nice to know I'm not alone!

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  2. Go you! As you can imagine, my feelings are exactly the same Afra. Love the World Vision idea x

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    1. Thanks Suzanne. I wasn't going to post but another blogger (chocolate is not the only fruit) was wondering out loud on Twitter what Christian's thought of Halloween which inspired me to revisit this subject.

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  3. I'm so comforted to read this. I hate Halloween too and more so since my daughter died. I posted about it http://chasingdragonfliesblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/halloween-just-got-scary/ too. This year, we're going to a 'light party' organised by our church - it's great to feel I have somewhere to take them without feeling pressured to 'join in'. My son still wants to do halloween but when I went down the dreaded ailse in the supermarket he was put off by all the creepy costumes. Love the World Vision idea too! x

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    1. Glad to have helped. Let's hope this idea of celebrating light not darkness spreads. #lightupthedark

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  4. It has never rested easily with me,I've often had a party, mainly to ensure they don't ask to go tracker treating. I do love carving pumpkins but that's all! No need for it!

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    1. Good idea and very brave - not sure I could face holding a party at the end of half-term! Bad enough that my daughter has her bday the day after bonfire night

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  5. I LOVE Halloween, but then I'm Pagan so I celebrate it as Samhain. Sadly I've always lived in the countryside so haven't been able to go trick or treating, and my parents aren't really into it, even though it's my mum's birthday too. I long to have kids so I can celebrate it with them and have spooky parties!

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    1. I'm intrigued to know about Samhain - off to google it now! Thanks for commenting

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  6. I have to say as I sit here typing, I have a witches broom and hat looking at me (Halloween props...I'm not actually a witch!). My little one is dressing up as ladybird!
    I adore the World Vision charity appeal idea...I am off to carve my pumpkin now! x

    #SoCoLo

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  7. I don't really feel too strongly either way, but H is very keen on Halloween this year. This is the first time we have done trick or treating too and we just went to houses with pumpkins and displays outside.

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    1. That is a very sensible move-at least you know people are happy to see you

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  8. I'm not a fan of Halloween here either and never allowed either of my daughters to go Trick or Treating. I don't understand parents of younger kids who allow them to walk the streets after dark and knock on the doors of complete strangers - surely this goes against everything we teach them? Happy to hear that your kids enjoyed the alternative Halloween celebrations.

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  9. I'm with you and the rest of your commenters Afra (no surprises there!). I find it sad that bonfire night has been subsumed by halloween which, like you say, is no where near as family friendly as the States. I LOVE dressing up and having fun, so i feel like a real party pooper and a saddo too-serious-Christian for objecting. My daughter hates the ghoulish stuff but my son loves it (and he's only 8). I don't want to be seen as a boring Christian who takes it all too seriously, but when you know about the occult and its effects, I can't help but say no to it. We carved a WV pumpkin this year too (I used to work for them and Syria's on my heart so jumped at that one) and thankfully were away in deepest Cumbria so no door knocking from marauding teenagers for us! We did a treasure trail for the kids using halloween sweets, did a night walk up a mountain track and lit a Chinese lantern. Our church has a light party too. I like what you've done in giving your eldest kids a choice and letting them trick or treat if they want. Lets hope it becomes more acceptable to have fun but without doing the whole ghoulish thing too. PS Great post!

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I'd love feedback- but keep it clean and kind.