Halloween is nearly here, and it’s a tricky (pardon the pun) holiday for Christians given its pagan roots and association with various festivals of the dead. Some Christians are dead set against it, but thanks to slick Madison Avenue packaging and hyper-candy-consumerism, Halloween can be as acceptable to Christians as a “fun-sized” Baby Ruth® bar.
Yet, for a holiday intended for children, adults still manage to screw it up a lot, with sexy costumes and lousy candy. Consider this: Good Idea, Bad Idea, Halloween Edition.
GOOD IDEA: Allow your kids to dress as an angel, shepherd, wise man, Mary, Joseph or a sheep or goat. My rule of thumb is that if it’s a costume that’s acceptable for a Christmas pageant at a neighborhood church, it should be okay for your kids to wear as they mooch candy from your neighborhood. Maybe you could get kind of esoteric and dress your kids as a box of frankincense.
BAD IDEA: Let your kids to dress as any of the aforementioned options with the word “Zombie” in front of it. While precocious PKs may try to pull off the Zombie Jesus costume, passionately asserting that Jesus did rise from the dead, a quick witted parent will counter that He did NOT, however, rise from the UNdead.
GOOD IDEA: Get creative with your gourd-carving skills. A pumpkin bearing a large heart-shaped hole with a glowing candle inside beneath a cross whittled out of the pumpkin stem shows your little light shining.
BAD IDEA: Let your Christian teens go around smashing pumpkins on Halloween, even if your name is Billy Corgan and you had a string of alternative-Goth hits off of two multi-platinum albums.
GOOD IDEA: If secular chocolate is too “of the world” for you, have an ample supply of the Good News® candy bar. This is a bona fide confection consisting of rich milk chocolate, peanuts and caramel. In fact, it’s the number one selling candy bar in Hawaii (for real) and it’s the perfect option for believers who want to share the “Good News” with trick-or-treaters.
BAD IDEA – Give out any of the following: apples, pencils, toothbrushes, handfuls of loose Circus Peanut marshmallows, any “old timer” candy (i.e. Mary Janes, Bit-O-Honey, Black Jack Taffy, anything that comes in wax paper), or any Christian-themed handouts that aren’t also bagged with copious amounts of good candy. (The bag is key so there’s no question that the Jesus stuff came with candy.) Nothing says, “Egg my house” like one of these melancholy freebies. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had parents egging your house if you give out toothbrushes. It kind of insults other parents to imply their kids don’t already have toothbrushes.
GOOD IDEA: Keep it subtle. Maybe have your kids carry a goodie bag that’s logoed with an Ichthys gobbling up candy corns.
BAD IDEA: Aggressively proselytize. Counter to what some Christians believe, a holiday fueled by sugar-induced greed and dressed up with witches, Spidermen and Obamas is not the most opportune time to share Jesus. Not with preaching to trick-or-treaters. Not with “hell houses.” You’ll be fighting the tide of kids who want to get to the next house, and parents who want to get their kids home. So let it go this one night, and wait for Christmas or Easter.
Ultimately, Christians are going to disagree as to whether or not we should partake in Halloween.
However, I think we can all agree that Necco® Wafers are the worst candy on the planet – in fact they should be called Necro Wafers since they taste like chalky death in your mouth. The absolute worst flavor of those detestable discs is the licorice variety, followed closely by the gritty chocolate wafer. I’d just as soon gnaw a Rolaids. At least you get a preventive antacid effect.
Question: What’s the worst Halloween candy or freebie you ever got as a kid? What was the candy you always hoarded like it was gold?