Halloween… Holy ween

Today and every year on this date, children and those who are children at heart celebrate Halloween. Although there are many different ways of explaining this holiday, there are also many different views of its origin. Halloween’s origin is not the focus of this blog since I, quite frankly, don’t feel like getting into a debate over one night of the year. My own friends are divided as to whether or not they should “allow” their kids to partake in the holiday because of fear that they are encouraging “darkness” as opposed to goodness, light, and holiness. Hence, I choose not to focus on origin. Instead, I choose to focus on what I do know and enjoy about Halloween. Growing up, my brother and I used to go with other neighborhood kids and one of the parents to trick-or-treat. We would go door-to-door and ring on doorbells or knock on doors hoping that the treats the person behind the door would be worth the effort of dressing up and walking blocks and blocks around our city. We learned very early that the best bag to use for such a venture was not a bag at all, but rather a pillow case. My brother and I scored well every year. We stopped once we reached junior high because our parents thought we were too old.

As an adult, I now know I never outgrew the fun of dressing up in a costume. The difference now is that I have children of my own and we continue the tradition of getting dressed up for Halloween to go trick-or-treating. When I first accepted Christ back into my life in my mid twenties, I began to take a different approach to Halloween. Where once the intent as a child was to have the scariest costume or face painted make-up, the intent as an adult is to dress up as something I admire or aspire to be. I’ve dressed as something I had hoped my children would aspire to be someday on one Halloween, but perhaps they were still much too young to understand my purpose. This new way of looking at costume in an intentional manner was driven by my Christian background. So many of my friends, as I had mentioned, have been torn by what they considered appropriate for their kids. A new term came to me two weeks ago by one of the pastors my husband associates with weekly. The term? Holy ween. True, it’s a play on the word Halloween, but it seems to be a term that was accepted by most of the church members when the pastor announced it as part of their annual fall harvest festival, which runs October 31st through November 3rd.

Holy ween, as opposed to just Halloween, has the same concept in terms of celebration of the fall season and the festivities of dressing up in costumes, but the difference is in the costumes and the way it is celebrated. Rather than glorifying the fear, darkness, death, and trickery that comes with dressing up in scarier costumes, Holy ween focuses on gathering families, celebrating the changing season from summer to fall, dressing up in costumes that have more positive themes or holy themes, and a time for united prayer for a community. I liked this concept better. It maintained what I enjoyed about Halloween growing up, but incorporates my faith and overall wholesomeness that many of our modern day costume shops sorely lack. One other tradition our family began was not just celebrating Holy ween, but pumpkin carving as a family. Every year, at least one week before Halloween night, our family picks a pumpkin from a pumpkin patch, and three days before Halloween, we carve it with a funny or silly face. We put a few of those glow sticks on the inside, preferably multiple colors, so that people walking past our front door can see our Jack-o-Lantern with disco effects. It puts a smile on not just my kids’ faces, but also on passers-by who see how silly a home we must have to make such a pumpkin.

Holy ween/Halloween is our annual fall tradition. Do you have a favorite fall or Halloween tradition? Comment in the space provided.

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