I did not grow up trick or treating and we don't do it now with our 8-yr old son. My parents were not religious, but they didn't want their daughter going to strangers' homes in the dark to bring home candy. I never felt like I was missing out either, when all my neighborhood friends went. That was just me. I've always had an independent streak. Finally, when I was 15, I agreed to go with a group of girls. They made fun of, and played pranks on the older folks. I'm stuffy like that. I did not enjoy it and never went again. In fact, I think I left them early.
I have a friend who tells me to "lighten up," and in general I could probably lighten up a bit. But I personally feel that it is not OK to "lighten up" about Death, which to a Christian is the Enemy, no matter how fun and pretty or cute this society makes it.
Our pastor is preaching on 1 Corinthians 8, which has something to do with Christian liberty - as in living your own conscience (based on the Bible.) I do not condemn my Christian friends who feel differently than I do, and I am in no position to judge people who do not have the same belief system as I.
Our church asks us to consider using this time to interact with neighbors. They ask us to stretch ourselves so that we are living IN the world; not segregated from it. I totally agree. However, using Christian Liberty, I understand that others don't or can't feel comfortable going to a bar. I have no such compunction. I remember one of my most interesting conversations about my faith occurring at a steelworker's bar in Pittsburgh over a couple of beers. I, in turn, don't feel comfortable being in the Halloween setting. It's not because I'm weak or in denial; it's something that I've come to believe over decades of thought. Cuz, you know, I think a lot! We choose to interact with our neighbors throughout the year. For the last two summers, Boo and I would go strawberry picking (at local organic farms,) then bring a pint to several of our neighbors. It is a delightful time for mother and son, and a delightful reason to talk to our neighbors. I hope it is a great lesson for our son to learn the joys of giving, the joys of relating.
Wouldn't you know?? even though we are very low-key about why we don't celebrate Halloween, ("It's just not something we do." "We don't celebrate death.") our son is endlessly fascinated by it. (insert eyeroll here) But at this point, it's a non-negotiable for us. How will we handle it in the years to come? I don't know, but I know this:
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet*" and I will trust our God will guide us, step by step, like the soft, gentle light from a lantern.