Oh dear. I can’t stop giggling at that title. I am hilarious.
Last year I read quite a few blog posts by various Christians about hallowe’en. Most of them said that they used to try ignore it but then realised they could use it as an evangelical opportunity. Actually I didn’t read any at all that said Christians “shalt not take part in hallowe’en.” They were all of similar option to me: hallowe’en is an opportunity to meet your neighbours, open up conversation about what you believe, and show God’s kindness and generosity in a small way.
I was quite excited about hallowe’en last year. It was our first year in a new neighbourhood and I was expecting quite a few kids to come trick-or-treating (actually, I’m in England, so they would more than likely come politely requesting sweets, only if it’s not too much trouble). So I prepared little paper baggies containing a selection of sweets, a colouring-in page with a bible verse, and a word-search. I decorated the front door with fairy lights and lanterns, and awaited the masses.
One kid came.
That was it.
So I gave him four baggies.
Unfortunately he was wearing a scary mask and my 18 month old freaked out and started crying her eyes out. Poor thing. I hadn’t realised babies could get scared of things adults consider ‘scary.’ I thought that, at that age, everything is new and different, so a strange mask would just be a new thing without any bad connotations.
I still don’t understand it.
But this year I’m going to be more careful about letting my kids see who’s at the door. I might even have a sign outside saying, “Please Remove All Scary Masks Before Knocking.” I do not want to be responsible for peopling my children’s nightmares. I want them to sleep soundly and not fear.
This is something that I’ve thought about a lot since having kids: how do we teach them not to fear what isn’t there?
We encourage our children’s imaginations, but the better their imagination the more likely it is that they’ll imagine scary things, especially in the dark. I want them to know that God is with them and loves them and is powerful. But if we teach them that God is here even though we can’t see Him, they will know that not-seeing doesn’t mean there’s nothing there. There’s also a whole spiritual realm right here that we cannot see, good and evil; should I avoid teaching my kids about these things until they’re older?
I suppose this is one of those things I have to accept is not under my control. My kids will get scared – it’s unavoidable – there’s a lot to be scared of in this world. But I can pray for them, I can teach them that they can run to God, and I can encourage them to stand up to their fears. We can also encourage them to fill their minds with good things and avoid the evil. And to pray at all times.
So here is a free printable colouring-in page and word-search to help make your hallowe’en filled with light and goodness, and help you to make the most of the opportunities God brings to your door.