It's October which brings out spooky things related to Halloween. And it brings out varying views from church folks. What do you do with it?
Our family has done everything from leave town, stay home with the lights out and cringe at every doorbell ring, give candy to kids with scary masks, go to/throw fall festivals, not carve pumpkins/do carve pumpkins. Back in the day when we were a "leave town or turn off the lights" family, I felt like Halloween was evil and we just needed to avoid it.
Then I read an essay by a Christian man who talked about being a light in the darkness. His approach was that he didn't want to be the one house in the community--on a night that children came to his door--that wouldn't receive them. And I remembered those curmudgeons from my childhood. For whatever reasons they didn't open their doors to us, I wasn't sure of, but they weren't someone that conveyed love and acceptance for us trick or treaters.
So, now I take a more moderate approach. We don't decorate or dress up, but we do have a giant bowl of candy that has way too much candy left over at the end of the night--even though we give handfuls to kids no matter what age they are.
Is it the right approach? It is for us. Everyone must decide before God how to handle it.
Last year on Halloween, we were at my parents' house in Oklahoma and I was "uptown" when the Halloween parade started. I saw costumes with kids with their heads cut off and lots of gore. The word that came to mind at the time was "vapid." It was so empty. But it was one community's desire to be there for their kids (they've been doing this since I was a kid). Then they gathered for a carnival type of thing (again, a tradition).
I came back with renewed vision for the two fall festival kits we were working on: Slime Time and The Great Tomb Raid (where Jesus is the greatest tomb raider). I know that people want to give kids a safe alternative on Halloween, why not make it an alternative with a message and have kids gather at the place that always has its arms and doors open wide to them? Your church!
If you'd like to learn more about these two fall festivals (and order one in a hurry), go to http://search.group.com/search?p=Q&w=fall+festival