Here in the Carolinas, the weather is like heaven - cool and crisp in the mornings, and warm and gorgeous in the afternoons. But although I love the fall, I have to admit that I do not necessarily love the holiday that is celebrated in October.
Just so you do not think that I am a complete party pooper about Halloween, I have always allowed my kids to go trick or treating. We always have more candy than we know what to do with. And we always carve pumpkins and have lots of fun trick or treating.
I am all for having the friends over for Halloween, cooking chili, and riding around to the neighborhood houses to collect candy and treats.
However, I am probably in the minority regarding the parameters I set about Halloween.
I have always chosen costumes for my children based on fairy tale characters, books, sports, movies, celebrities, etc., as opposed to demons, devils, witches with warts on their noses, bloody masks, and murderous weapons. My kids know full well that if a costume even looks to be in the demonic category - don't even bother asking.
Although this is my personal belief, it doesn't mean that it is the only belief, or even the right perspective. It is simply my perspective.
Christian perspectives on the observance of Halloween are highly divided. Some people think it is just a fun night to dress up and get candy, while others believe it is an acceptance of the things that represent the demonic world.
Some believers feel they should be free to celebrate it as nothing more than a retail holiday, while other people avoid it altogether.
Some may speak out strongly against Halloween, while others may simply choose to celebrate it by focusing on positive costumes, and Christian alternatives for celebrating.
Some people even use it as an opportunity to reach people for Christ.
The funny thing is that even Christians who have the same faith, can have stark differences in their views about Halloween.
Romans 14 instructs us to respect each others opinions in all areas of life, and without passing judgement. However, we must still each decide for ourselves how we want to celebrate this fall holiday, and follow our own convictions about how we observe it.
For those of us who are not into skulls, snakes, red eyed rats, bloody makeup and headless yard art, I thought I would offer some food for thought (or should I say candy corn pumpkins for thought - my fave!). Smiles.
Here are a few family-friendly ideas for you to consider doing during this years Halloween celebrations.
* Purchase costumes that do not portray something that God would not be supportive of
* Host an Unhalloween celebration - get creative about doing things opposite from the typical halloween celebrations
* Seek out local farms or parks who are offering hay rides and bonfires and spend the evening there instead of trick or treating
* Visit a corn maze
* Have a pumpkin carving party with the winner being the one who has the happiest face; offer a small prize or candy for most joyful pumpkin
* If you don't want to give the kids a carving knife, buy lots of colors of paint, and have them paint on the faces instead
* Check local listings for holiday celebrations at churches
* Throw an orange and black party - ask all guests to wear orange and black, and/or bring a dessert or appetizer that consists primarily of those colors
* Have a scarecrow making party - buy one bale of hay, and ask all guests to bring some old clothes and socks; have ropes and buttons ready to make their scarecrows
* Decorate your home with fall colors and festive leaves and wreaths
* Host a Bible character dress up contest
* Pass out some Christian tracts, or small New Testaments, instead of candy
* Have a family meeting before hand, and brainstorm some fun new ways to celebrate or do something different on Halloween night
* Decide upon some fun, new snacks to make, like popcorn balls, a special baked item, or a Halloween themed cake or treat, and have a family cooking night
* Plan a progressive Halloween party with a group of friends.
* Have a themed party, like a "Noah's Ark" party; have the guests come in animal or character costumes; make a cake that looks like a boat; offer animal crackers and goldfish.
* Carve pumpkins for a nursing home and deliver with lighted candles on Halloween
* Make pumpkin bread as a family, or any pumpkin snacks (check out Leann Rices She Cooks website for some awesome pumpkin-flavored ideas that she has shared this month!)
* Go to a pumpkin patch; come home on and watch the Charlie Brown "Its The Great Pumpkin" cartoon
* Have a big bonfire outside in the back yard, and roast marshmallows and hot dogs.
Have a safe and happy Halloween, in whatever ways you choose to celebrate!