The "Real" Sin of Halloween
What would it look like if we taught our kids that when Jesus told us to love our neighbors he meant to actually love our neighbors? What if we modelled loving our neighbors – our actual, physical, right-next-door neighbors – to our kids on a 365-day basis? How would our kids’ world change? How would our neighbors’ world change?
As a kid, I didn’t necessarily love Halloween, but I didn’t hate it either. Obviously, I loved getting candy, and I think I even enjoyed the door-to-door nature of things, but the dressing up always made me a little anxious. I think it was the smell of face paint mixed with the odor of unwashed hand-me-down costumes. As a result, I didn’t really have a strong affection for the holiday as a child.
As a parent, I absolutely love it, and this is why:
Saturday night, my husband, father-in-law, and I took my daughter door-to-door for Halloween. While we walked our local streets, and shuffled past tired looking parents and amped up kids, we had an awesome opportunity of seeing into the lives of our neighbors known and unknown.
Doors were opened to us without hesitation and we were welcomed with smiles every time. Sure, it helps that we had a four-year-old Tinkerbell leading the charge, but it is the nature of the night that we open doors without judgment or fear – which, I must admit, is ironic since the night celebrates fear in good fun.
I’ve seen posts from various Christians critiquing whether or not Christ-followers should participate in Halloween. Some go so far as calling it sinful.
I’d say the 'real' sin of Halloween is that it shines a light on the reality that we limit loving our neighbors to one night a year, in disguise, buffered with toddler cuteness. When we talk about what it means to really love our neighbors, we need to be more willing to open our doors without judgment 365 days a year.
On that one day a year, we are willing to tear down the walls we build around ourselves and become vulnerable to one another. I remember hearing someone once say, 'Vulnerability creates community.' I forget who said it, but it sure does sound like Brene Brown. But what a great sentence and even better idea.
What is it about Halloween that does this for us? Why are we willing to open our lives up to masked tots and teens on this one day? It kind of feels like society voted and everyone decided that Halloween was a permissible one-day to do this. Like a token day or one for sacrifice. But I’d like to take a moment to encourage us all (myself included!) to open ourselves up to this type of vulnerability more days a year. Dare I say, all 365 days?
What would it look like if we taught our kids that when Jesus told us to love our neighbors he meant to actually love our neighbors: the one who drives down the street with their stereo playing a little too loud, the one who parties too hard on Saturday nights, the one who rarely says hello but always seems to cast an eye of judgment when they catch you at just the wrong moment on just the wrong day.
What if we modelled loving our neighbors – our actual, physical, right-next-door neighbors – to our kids on a 365-day basis? How would our kids’ world change? How would our neighbors’ world change?
Your point of vulnerability may begin with saying hello to a neighbor or striking up a short conversation. Take a step. Open your door to the community around you. Teach your kids that community isn’t a fearful place, but one that they can build one act of kindness and inclusion at a time.
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