Monthly Archives: October 2016

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How to Deal with Halloween?

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By Laura Cooper

Does Halloween have you going crazy? It does for me! For a very long time, Halloween has been a source of debate and confusion in the Christian community. Many families, including my own, have wrestled with this question: How should we deal with Halloween?

I personally know Christian families that have landed all over the spectrum in how they respond to Halloween.

Some families celebrate Halloween but abstain from scary costumes, ghost stories, and the superstitions of the holiday. Some families don’t trick-or-treat, but participate in their church’s harvest festivals. Other families that choose to celebrate Reformation Day or All Saints’ Day instead. Others have a strict no-participation rule.

I’m not here to tell you which of these responses are right or wrong. But I am here to affirm that this is an important conversation, and to give you some general guidelines that will help you make a Halloween decision for your family.

Three Steps to Dealing with Halloween

1) Integrate your Faith into your Decision

The wrong, unbiblical approach to Halloween would be to ignore it completely, or to say that it doesn’t matter because it’s “just fun”. God isn’t just the God of our Sunday mornings. He is Sovereign over every aspect of our lives! God calls us to honor Him with everything we do.

Biblical decision-making involves Scripture, prayer, and seeking advice. As you think about Halloween, read Scripture, looking for principles that will guide you towards holy living. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Seek God’s will in your quiet time. And ask other Christian mentors, leaders, and parents for advice.

2) Include your Children in this Conversation (in age-appropriate ways!)

At FamiliesAlive, we believe that open, authentic communication builds trust and models good decision-making skills for your children. Teach your children about the pagan origins of Halloween, and what the Bible has to say about the spiritual world and how we are to engage our world. Talk together as a family about what it means to honor God in situations like this. Read your children Scripture passages and verses that apply to this conversation.

3) Trust God’s Grace

We’re human, and we’re never going to get things exactly right on this side of heaven. Remember, plenty of strong, Christian families have differed across the spectrum when it comes to Halloween. We will never be perfect parents, but we do have a perfect God that is full of grace when we make mistakes. We must trust in that great grace as we make tough decisions!

A Personal Story and a Creative Solution

As I’ve mentioned before, my family has wrestled with the Halloween decision for years. In 2012, we came up with a creative solution to the problem that I would like to share with you. We call it “Trick-or-Can”.

Each year on Halloween, we gather family friends together for a potluck chili dinner.

Afterwards, we break into groups and head out through the neighborhood with big canvas bags, knocking on doors. As our neighbors open the door to give us candy, we explain that we are collecting canned goods for a local food bank, to help those that have less than us. Most neighbors are able to run back to their pantries to find something to donate. Since we’ve been doing it for several years now, many neighbors have come to expect us, and they have cans of food ready by the door!

Dad drives around in the family Suburban, meeting up with the different “collection teams” and putting the collected goods in the trunk.

The day after Halloween, we take all the food items to the Denver Rescue Mission, a Christian organization that supports homeless people in the downtown area.

I love this tradition because it redeems a pagan holiday for the glory of God. The kids still get the fun of dressing up in costume and getting candy from the neighbors, all while learning about serving and taking care of others. The people in our neighborhood get to see the light of Christ at work within us, and the dinner before is a great way to build community and participate in Christian fellowship.

It’s a creative solution that captures the heart of what it means to be in the world, but not of the world.

Final Thoughts

As you decide how to deal with Halloween in your family, I hope you’ll think creatively as you seek to honor God. If you’re interested in integrating “Trick-or-Can” into your family’s traditions, feel free to contact me at laura@familiesalive.org with any questions you may have!

How do you deal with Halloween as a family? Do you have any creative solutions? How did you come to your decision? Comment below! We want to hear your thoughts!

Other Resources

Here are a few articles representing widely-varying positions about Halloween that may be helpful to you as you make your decision. (The views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent the views of FamiliesAlive, but they were helpful for me as I did research for this article):

Christians and Halloween

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Kirk Cameron on Halloween

Seven Reasons Why a Christian Can Celebrate Halloween

Why Christians Should Absolutely Not Celebrate Halloween


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Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!

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By Michele L. Brown

My 9-year-old stepdaughter had gotten into my purse and helped herself to gum without asking, and when I picked the wrapper up from the floor she tried to say her friend had given it to her. This particular lie was actually the third blatant lie I had heard from my kids’ lips just that day, being the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back! Frustration got the best of me, as I tried to wrap my mind around how easy it is for the children of today to spit out utter lies! So, with a loud not-so-nice yell, I asked,

“Where did you learn to lie so much?”

Looking back, I wasn’t prepared for her answer but, by the Grace of God that rhetorical question and the answer I received, ultimately changed my life. It absolutely redefined my perspective of the influence I have over those around me and the responsibility that it carries.

How detrimental is a piece of gum? I wouldn’t think that it’s that important, not enough to cause me to sin. Or would I, without even batting an eye?

A few hours earlier, the first lie of the day had surfaced during an argument between the boys that escalated from name calling to the older son telling the youngest one, the dreaded “I hate you!” Though I knew that it had to be addressed, I was all too familiar with my own fits of rage producing hurtful words that I didn’t really mean. After a brief discussion, it was agreed that the statement made in anger and was far from the truth. He apologized, and did his best to assure the little one that he loved him very much. Within a short period, the tables were turned and the 4-year-old stood before me soaking wet, next a mud puddle; emphatically stating his innocence, “I didn’t do it, Nik threw the water on me!” 

The whole day had been filled with lies, lies and more lies and by the time that the gum situation occurred; I just had enough! My immediate thought was in order to stop the lies; we must see where it started. Admittedly, I presumed that our family would be turning into a radio-free, non-television watching, no internet surfing, Rated R-less family when my question got answered. Why’d children become so accustomed to telling lies to get their way, get out of trouble, impress someone, or whatever the case may be, somehow the solution to every situation seemed to be to lie. Where did you learn this from? I wasn’t prepared.

  • “Daddy lies every time you ask him if he’s been drinking!”
  • “You told the lady at the restaurant I was only 6 to get my food cheaper.”
  • “You told Daddy your shoes cost $10.00, but you gave the lady $25.00.”
  • “Daddy told Aunt Jackie he is allergic to carrots, but we know he doesn’t like them.”
  • “You and Daddy told the Pastor that you had to work, but we were camping and couldn’t go to the fundraiser.” (ouch… that one was painful)
  • “Daddy told that officer that he had his seatbelt on, but he never wears it.”
  • “You told your boss you were sick, but we went to see Grandma.”
  • “You said you didn’t have money to go to the movies, but then you bought Daddy another pair of boots.”
  • “Aunty told you she was taking us to the mall, but we went to see a man.”
  • “Grandma told you we didn’t eat any junk food, but that’s all we ate.”
  • “You told Nik his shoes were new, but we got them at that garage sale.”
  • “You told GiGi you quit smoking, but you kept hiding in the back yard to smoke.”

Somewhere, we as a society have excluded white lies from “thou shall not lie.” Of course, we’re not only sinfully wrong; but as I submit to my readers, we are also being a horrible example to the next generation. I decided after hearing this long list of infractions to find solutions.

The verdict was in, it wasn’t TV, radio, movies or other children that had been bad influences on my children… it was me. I wasn’t the only one, but at that moment; all I knew was that my name was certainly high enough on the list of suspects that I had to face it… Change had to begin with me!

I googled ‘deception.’

Do you remember Rebekah in the Bible? She convinced her son Jacob to claim to be his brother to their father in order to receive the blessing meant for the first born son. Sadly, when the young man’s mother first presented her dishonest scheme to the younger son; he didn’t want to do it… but then she convinced him to go ahead and deliberately deceive his father for gain.

Wow.

Let’s not prepare the hanging tree for Mother Rebekah, just yet. Allow me the role of ‘Devil’s advocate’ for just a moment, in honor of well-meaning mothers. Her reasoning was rather simple; she was operating from her heart. Simply put, she wanted the best for her son, and like many of us she justified the means to an end; even if she had to manipulate God to get it.

Ponder that just for a moment. Can we ever manipulate what God has in store for us? Can we cheat to win something from God in any way at all?

Close your eyes… imagine God’s face as we pull strings, tell fibs, fabricate details and go to such great lengths to manipulate (him) situations. Oh don’t get me wrong, we never see it for what it is…. But when we put our hands on things to make things happen, we are trying to manipulate GOD. We think we can do a better job.

 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

As an adult, Jacob himself was deceived several times by people close to him. Some say it was him reaping the harvest of deception seeds he had planted so many years prior.

First, Jacob worked for seven years to marry Laban’s beautiful daughter, Rachel; however on the wedding night, it was the less attractive (maybe even homely) sister Leah who he consummated with. Determined to have his beloved Rachel, he agreed to work yet another 7 years to marry her. The first child they bore, Joseph was Jacob’s favorite which caused much jealousy, envy and strife among the other brothers. Once again, Jacob was deceived when in an attempt to get rid of their brother, the older sons first tried to kill him, but then sold him into slavery; but led their father to believe he’d been killed by a wild animal.

BUT then there was GRACE!

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Romans 5:20 – Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

 The proof is in that very same story. We know after reading about Jacob’s life, he … he ended up being a very blessed man IN God’s time and God’s way. We also know that Joseph, son of Jacob was used in a mighty way even despite his own brothers’ hatred of him. Joseph even comforted his brothers who feared retaliation for all they had done to him.

Genesis 50:20 – But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

I am reminded through this lesson that my actions now are forming my kids into who they will be, and what they will one day teach their children. As I am now faced with the challenge of eradicating all forms of dishonesty, even in their mildest form from our home; I am determined to live by example so that my kids aren’t confused by my hypocrisy. I now realize the seriousness of this not-so-minor habit. Lord knows, our children face enough from the world as it is, I sure don’t want my actions to make anything harder on them, or put any habits in them that later God himself will have to burn away.

We, as a family, are more open and honest, even admitting when we’re tempted by dishonesty and discuss as a family the benefits of always being truthful. This, like all growth is a bit painful, even awkward at times; but it is rewarding to know that even as parents, we need correction and as a result, the children are learning a life lesson that will be beneficial to them forever.

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

michelebrownAbout Michele L. Brown

Michele is a giddy Christian; nothing excites her more than the opportunity to talk about Jesus’ love. She’s a proud Wife and (step) Mother and her hobbies are writing about Christian life, fishing, cooking and sewing. Michele plans to release her first novel in December of 2016.