Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The First of a Couple of Posts About Halloween

I've noticed with a little interest (and virtually no surprise) some recent posts by Orthodox blogger-parents who have decided that their families should not participate in any observance of Halloween because they believe that it is at odds with their faith.

I know that some priests and bishops in some jurisdictions have issued statements about it, and I don't wish to contradict anything they have said on the subject, only to offer my own views as a parent and an Orthodox Christian. So I'll do so over a couple of posts (though it hardly deserves 2 posts, really).

So I thought I'd begin by sharing the following as a possible alternative for those strongly opposed to allowing their children to trick-or-treat. DearHusband forwarded to me this portion of a discussion a couple of years ago, shortly after Halloween. He said it was posted on one of the Orthodox discussion groups he was reading at the time. (I knew it would come in handy some day!)

I've looked around the 'net and can't seem to find any information about where it might have been originally posted, but I think it's interesting enough to post here. It's a description of one Orthodox Christian's approach to how to handle the evening of October 31.

...Every year, on Halloween, I sit on the front porch of my house with a bowl of candy, a box of beeswax candles, and a large icon for the Feast of All Saints.

Every child who comes to the house gets a piece of candy, and may also light a candle and place it before the icon. Very few kids (even the jaded teenagers) turn down the opportunity.

For those who ask, I tell them that the meaning of the word "Halloween" is "the eve of the Feast of All Saints".

If they press me on the point, I tell them that they can think of the true meaning of Halloween as being that, because of Christ, they can dress up like ghosts and goblins and whatnot, because we do not need to fear those things any longer.

I wish I had a few photos of the kids in Satan masks, lighting a candle and placing it before the icon...


Michelle Melania said...

What a great idea. We live in the country; so we don't get any trick-or-treaters. But I love this idea!

s-p said...

VERY cool! A keeper, for sure. We need more ideas like this for engaging the culture rather than sitting in our Churches casting stones at it.

Fr. John A. Peck said...

A great idea, and very evangelistic.

I'm afraid I may have to steal this one from you...don't worry, I'll confess it!

Fr. John

-C said...

Well, it wasn't my idea (so this leaves me wondering if I also need to confess it :-).

I'm not sure who posted it back in 2005, but I thought it was a great idea, too.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to offense anyone, but something that I should speak as it's bothering me. Fr. John said, "I'm afraid I may have to steal this one from you..don't worry, I'll confess it!" I believe that we should never do something that doesn't seem right at first place and then plan to confess. It just conveys wrong message to others. Now people would think that oh let's do that even though it's not right and decide to confess for that. It doesn't feel right. Sorry I don't mean to offend anyone..

-C said...

Well, I'm not offended at your comment.

But I think Fr. John was kidding.

Carolyn Jean said...

Responding to the last comments on "Fr. John" "stealing" the idea and the plan "to confess it" with
"Anonymous" taking offense and "C" saying he/she is not offended. Anonymous is right because it gives sin and confession a filpiant twist!

-C said...

Carolyn Jean and Anonymous -

I was not and am not offended at Fr. John's comment and I took it in the light-hearted manner in which I believe his comment was made.

But if either or both of you are truly grieved about it, you should contact Fr. John personally and share your concerns with him, as all Christians are admonished to do. (A simple google search using his name should give you the information you need to be able to contact him).

To simply talk about him here behind his back is, of course, simply not the right thing to do, which I am sure you both know.