I would like to start this post by stating our family's view on Halloween. There has been a lot of talk of the Satanic worship ties to Halloween and all that stuff. I personally don't like all of the scary goblins and zombies and stuff and will not in any way encourage my kids to dress up like those. But I also don't feel that Christians should have to completely forget Halloween either.
Many churches now days offer a Fall Festival or Halloween carnivals as safe fun for the kids. Our church does one every year on the Saturday night before Halloween. Since we don't live in a neighborhood for trick or treating I am very glad that my kids have this opportunity.
For people who do live in neighborhoods that do trick or treating I personally think the better route to take instead of keeping the porch light off and hiding out is to use this as an opportunity for Christian outreach. Have your porch light on and welcome the children to your door. Have some type of candy or treat available and when you go to put it in their trick or treat bag why not put a gospel tract in there as well. You never know if there is a family that is truly searching for answers and that tract will have the answers they need. :-)
These are just some of my personal opinions on Halloween. I have many friends that go "all out" for Halloween and love the spooky stuff and I happily say "have fun!" I have other friends that do not want to celebrate at all and that is ok too. As a mother of young children who see Halloween everywhere we go in stores right now I personally feel like it is best for me to not ignore the holiday and pretend it is not there. I think it is better instead to teach them how this can be a fun and safe holiday. A chance to play pretend (isn't that what dressing up in costumes is) and a chance to show a Christian example to others.
I have said all that to lead up to one area in particular that I am teaching my kids a Christian aspect of Halloween - the jack-o-lantern! I frankly do not care where the jack-o-lantern got its roots and what it originally symbolized. Just because it had "bad" roots doesn't mean it should be outlawed and done away with. Especially when you can change your view of it to be a awesome reminder of how a Christian should live their lives!
I started this last year with my kids when I found this book - The Pumpkin Patch Parable
Here's the description of the book from Amazon "The Pumpkin Patch Parable-This charming story for children illustrates how a loving farmer can turn a simple pumpkin into a simply glorious sight. In the same way, God's transforming love can fill each of our hearts with joy and light. Liz Curtis Higgs created this parable as a way to share the Good News with her own precious children each harvest season . . . and now with children everywhere."
I loved this book and I loved the view on the Jack-O-Lantern and I determined then that Jack-o-lanterns would be accepted in our house and we would carve them and we would always view them as "Christian pumpkins". I plan to instill in my kids' minds that every time, during this season, that my kids see a jack-o-lantern, that they will be reminded of Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
There is another poem we found last year that goes with this same theme that I also share with my kids. Here is that poem:
"Being a Christian is like being a pumkin.
God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you.He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff-- including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.
Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for the entire world to see."
Now that you know now how we view Halloween and jack-o-lanterns, on to the fun part of this post!! Our fun Saturday of pumpkin carving!!
I started with a family pumpkin carving that was held at the Waxahachie library. You got to pick out your pumpkin and they had carving knives for those that wanted to carve, or you could paint your pumpkin. We, of course, chose to carve our pumpkin!
As we carved the pumpkin I reminded the kids of how pumpkins are like us and how God is like a farmer...he picks us up and wipes all the dirt off us andscoops out all of the yucky stuff inside of us (our sin). He then puts His light in us for us to shine to the world so that when others see us they will see His light shining through!
Here is our pretty pumpkin we chose!
Here is our happy carved pumpkin!
The kids got to enjoy a yummy snack when we were done! They had a table of all kinds of cookies, candies, pb&j sandwiches, homemade spice bread,etc... yum! yum!
They also had a table where you could draw faces on pumpkins.
When we got home we took another big pumpkin we had that Aaron got from his co-op class, and the three small pumpkins we got from the pumpkin patch we went to on Friday and we carved them so that we would have our family of jack-o-lanterns!