Monday, October 23, 2006

Halloween Carnival vs. Fall Festival

Okay, what's the difference and what's the point?

When I was growing up, our school had a Halloween carnival every year with a cake walk and I don't remember what else. It was always the last Saturday of the month of October and it was so fun. Our town always had a Halloween parade and then we would go to the carnival and then over to the Main Street Fair, also tons of fun. But the Main Street Fair lost its allure several years ago and has now moved to some sort of Christmas something or other.

My mother felt like only religious fanatics didn't celebrate Halloween and we certainly weren't fanatics. I remember as a youth in youth group watching a video about devil worship on Halloween. I walked away with the impression that Halloween was okay as long as you weren't worshipping the devil. That was really the church's only statement on the whole sordid affair, to my knowledge anyway.

And now, many, many churches are having "Fall Festivals". Well, what is the difference between that and the old-fashioned Halloween carnivals? Hayride? Check. Bobbing for apples? Check. Costumes? Check. Candy? Check. Confetti eggs? Check. It's still the same time of the year (even the same weekend). So what's the point? Why are we even bothering to call it a Fall Festival? Just call it a Halloween Carnival and be done with it. It's the exact same thing.

Don't get me wrong...I don't really have a problem with it either way, except that doesn't really feel right either. It seems almost inbred in me that as Christians we are supposed to hate Halloween because that's the Enemy's holiday. But there's something in me that is just bucking the system on that one.

I think if you want to have a real Fall Festival, have it in November where you're less likely to fall out from heatstroke and less likely to make the lost think that the church is finally condoning Halloween. Even unbelievers know what a Fall Festival held on the last weekend of October is.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

No matter how you cut it, harvest celebrations have pagan roots. Now I think most people jump the gun thinking pagan and satanic are synonymous when they aren't but, bottom line, I don't see any link to religion other than what we have brought to it as a culture.

And different cultures treat it differently. Oktoberfest in Germany. Day of the dead in Mexico. For a lot of people it a celebration of life through a good harvest that will last the winter or celebrating the lives of those past. In puritanical America it was a day to scare away those ghosts.

Kellie

Anonymous said...

It has been slow, but we have systematically eliminated Halloween rituals, easter bunnies, and, yes, Santa Claus, bless his heart. I know it seems legalistic, but we (Cathy and I) feel guilty about blatantly lying about these things. We certainly can take the advantage and turn it around for Christ. The people across the street from us do a gross haunted garage each year, it is actually disturbing to see the level of effort they put into their display of devilry. Anyway, we are going to be handing out the chick tracts this year to counter some of their efforts, should be fun!
Aaron

Lindsay said...

It's just one more thing, in some ways, that can divide us - "those Christians" who celebrate Halloween (Fall Festivals, etc.), and "those Christians" who don't.

I personally think that everyone needs to follow their own conscience in this area. How is God leading and impressing on your heart? It's a heart thing, not a behavior thing. There are so many good and wonderful things that we can do as Christians with opportunities like this.

Churches having 'fall festivals' have an opportunity handed to them - how many other times a year do you have all kinds of kids walking UP TO YOUR CHURCH to see what's going on? So many good things can be done with it.

The trick or treating thing is great to - we can do a 'backwards neighborhood blitz'- with EVERYONE in our neighborhoods and others coming to OUR door to accept a gift (instead of the other way around, where we go visit them). What an opportunity. =)

Pretty in Pink said...

Read "Redeeming Halloween." It's a Focus on the Family book so you could get it at family.org.

It says everything I would tell you...but I guess if I had to some it up in just a couple of sentences, the gist would be what Lindsay said...plus some other interesting stuff.

Brian said...

PAGAN = SATANIC

And so does anything else in your life or in your activities that takes the place of God.

All the Celtic "gods", the Roman, Greek, and Babylonian mythos, The faces of Krishna in Hinduism, "Heavenly Father" of the Mormons, Bhudda; the NFL, money, online gambling, hunting... The first group are patently satanic, the second group can be, depending on your devotion to them over God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). If you don't know Him, I strongly urge you to talk to someone who does, who won't mind talking to you, and who is not a hypocrite.

That having been said, I think that far too many people put intent into Hallowe'en that simply isn't there. I remember scoring candy and playing pranks when I was a kid, but not real clear on the sacrificing goats, etc.... And if your local church is having a "Fall Festival" on the same weekend everyone else is having Hallowe'en, and everyone is coming in a costume, and everyone is going home with a bunch of candy, etc., then -- I hate to break it to you -- your local church is celebrating Hallowe'en.

You'll have to determine for yourself whether or not they're also participating in devil worship. So ask yourself the question.

Then ask yourself whether you buying all those expensive Christmas presents (even going into debt to do so), and lying to your kids about Santa Claus, is really celebrating the birth of our Saviour.

This reads kind of harshly, even to me, but it's not meant that way.

I'm not apologizing if I offended you. I'm just saying I didn't mean it harshly.

Granny said...

I guess I just get tired of having to analyze every event and tradition and "fun" we want to have. When you get right down it to, anything we do except pray and read our Bible is probably pagan in someone's eyes. Trick or treating is just fun - and the kids at the "Fall Festival" (Halloween party) last night were cute. Give us back our kids' childhood memories!!!

Anonymous said...

Here is our position for what it's worth, we choose not to celebrate Halloween or participate in Santa Clause things. Hear me loud and clear people -- we don't condemn those who do:-) Aaron and I have decided that for us, we want to focus on bringing light to the world (on halloween we handed out glow sticks and child appropriate gospel tracks and shared the love of Christ with our neighbors from our home). We don't "pretend" about Santa etc. at Christmas (we haven't always taken this position, when our oldest two were younger we did, but somewhere along the way it felt like a lie. When our oldest found out, that was the first thing she said - why did you guys lie to me -- can we say convicting?? We would never want our children to think that Jesus was also just a "made up story tale type figure". We want to spend Christmas focusing on Christ and we feel like as much of the worldy things we can remove the easier it is for our family to do that. Just my .2 Cathy

Pretty in Pink said...

Cathy, LOVE the idea of handing out light stick thingies.

My whole thing is that we can be a LIGHT for our neighbors and take back Halloween for Jesus...even if it's in our own little doorway.

We have a big wooden cross in the wooded part of our yard, and we were going to light that up, but we got too busy and didn't do it.

We also have a thing that the girls can only dress up as something that represents a group of people they can pray for. They were kitties this year and we prayed for all people who have kitties everwhere. And for kitties.

Last year they were Dorothy the Dinosaur, and we prayed for everyone that watches the Wiggles or likes dinosaurs.

Jody, everything you said, I agree with. Even Christmas has pagan roots, but the church decided to redeem the pagan celebration of the winter solstice by celebrating the birth of Christ at that time (before that, it was celebrated at a different time of year).

Another thing we do at Halloween, the girls make little gifts for our neighbors. This year we painted little pumpkins and put them on sparkly black felt paper and glued a Bible verse on there. The one about the harvest. it's late, and I'm tired but I'll probably remember it as soon as I press send on this comment.

The purpose of this is the same as it is all year...we teach them that God tells us to love our neighbors. We also want to instill in them that giving is more fun than getting. Ha! They're three. They don't have that one down yet...but they will one day.

Everything in this world is evil when you get down to it. We can hide from it or we can expose it to the light. So for Halloween, we expose it to God's light. Then leave the rest to Him.

As for the Santa thing...totally different topic.

If we didn't do Santa it would be okay with me, but Jason is not on board with this and he is the Daddy...sooo.....

What I do is tell them instead of asking Santa for something, I tell them that we ask Jesus because all good things come from Jesus. Jesus might tell Santa this would be a good gift for you...like that.

I also reference the story of St. Nicholas who was a true worshipper of Jesus and gave to others in order to serve Jesus. So we tell the girls that Santa LOOOOOOVVVES Jesus and gives gifts because he loves to serve Jesus.

They know Christmas is about baby Jesus being born, and I always turn the focus back to Jesus every time santa is mentioned.

I have made up my mind that I will not lie to them about Santa. if they ask me if santa is real...depending on how old they are, I might ask them if they think he's real. If they press it, I will tell them teh story of St. Nicholas and how his story led to the figure of Santa. I'm not going to lie to them about it.

Like I said, if it was up to me, I wouldn't do Santa. But it was a special tradition for my husband, and I can understand that and I do want to follow His lead. He loves the ideas that I've come up with to still keep Jesus as the focus while still having Santa.

I personally never mentioned Santa at all until they figured it all out on their own. I always taught them Christmas was about God's best gift to us being Jesus and like that.

I'm going on and on and on because I'm so tired. I need to go to bed. I've missed blogging with you guys. I needed to take some time away, then there was vacation and sickness. I'm back now though and I truly hope to do as Brian said...think things through before you post them. Then again, nah....that's just not me. I think better when I'm writing. I hope that's okay. I'm gonna stop now.