I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween. I’m starting a new segment on Wednesdays that includes hope-filled ideas from outside sources. Today’s Word-Up is: REDEEM HALLOWEEN!
I love celebrations because they contain all four F’s: FAITH, FAMILY, FOOD, & FUN! I think it is important to redeem Halloween as a kickoff celebration to Thanksgiving: let’s spend a whole month celebrating all the goodies we have in Christ! To that end, here is a link to Pastor Jack Hayford’s encouragement for the season (“Redeeming Halloween”), the source of our Word-Up Wednesday theme.
In “Redeeming Halloween”, Pastor Hayford uses Biblical examples to demonstrate how we can impact our culture with light while avoiding our tendency to protest, denominational separatism, moral snobbishness, and sniping at cultural traditions. Instead, he asserts, we need to positively reflect Christ in how we celebrate this season by using His creativity and “flavor” to represent Him in an accurate and attractive way. Halloween–or Hallowed Evening–whatever it’s alleged connection to older, pagan traditions, was the evening before the celebration of Christian saints and martyrs on All Saints Day (November 1st). Hallowed Eve is supposed to be like Christmas Eve, feasting in anticipation of the next day’s observances. Pastor Hayford recommends the following ways Christians can “Redeem Halloween” and bring it back to its original import (paraphrased with suggestions from me):
- Emphasize the “gratitude” theme with Halloween as the kickoff and Thanksgiving as the Grand Finale. Helping of Hope suggestion: You could cut out leaves for a Thanksgiving Tree on Halloween, have party guests or immediate family write what they are thankful for on them, pin them to a felt or foam core tree and send out the rest of the leaves to more distant relatives and friends (or take extra leaves to church/school for others to fill out). Children love receiving the leaves back in the mail and reading with anticipation what each person is thankful for before pinning them on the tree! You can re-read the leaves on Thanksgiving–when you take the tree down–and say a whopping prayer of thanks to cover them all!
- Share testimonies (personal stories) of how God has provided for and delivered you (healing, comfort, etc.) Helping of Hope suggestion: Children love stories! My Mom has a story of a friend whose club foot/shrunken leg was healed right next to her at Bible college. You don’t forget a story like that any time soon! If you don’t have any miraculous stories like that, consider sharing other ways God has been faithful to you or ask relatives or a pastor for stories of God’s faithfulness to share. Your denomination may have a publication detailing God’s amazing work around the globe and this may spur your family on to start an adventure all your own, creating new stories for next year!
- Show adventure videos portraying heroes of the faith. Helping of Hope suggestion: for older children, Voice of the Martyrs has books and videos detailing how famous Christians have suffered for their faith and overcome. Use your best judgment when discussing with children the cost martyrs are willing to pay for our freedom today.
- Have children reenact heroic Bible stories and record them to play for next year.
- Engage in traditional Halloween fare like pumpkin carving and trick-or treating (chaperoned to protect from scary or occult themes) but with a “saints” theme: go as Bible Characters or even modern-day heroes of the faith (like Tim Tebow). Helping of Hope suggestion: Churches, Schools, and Malls can all be safer places to trick-or-treat to reinforce the positive aspect of the Hallowed Eve celebration. Trade trick-or-treat gatherings with healthier candy!
Helping of Hope: Halloween isn’t too far gone. Right Choice: Culture starts at home! Make new, God-honoring traditions that invite family and friends to celebrate “Hallowed E’en” in its original, positive context. Bright future: a significant cultural impact that empowers present and future loved ones to reach out to communities with hope and light.
In keeping with redeeming Halloween, I’ve pinned a fruit salad idea that works well for Kids and helps to reinforce Halloween decor. Enjoy!
If you enjoyed this Word-Up Wednesday post, please share using one of the many features below. Thanks!