Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Was So Much Fun! Did I Just Say That?

What to do about Halloween has been a question plaguing our marriage from the start, and I dread it every year. My husband says he gears up for "Becky's Annual Cry" over the issue, and I didn't disappoint him again this year. : )

Before we were married, Pat let me know he had strong convictions about not celebrating Halloween. For me, Halloween was one of the things I was looking forward to the most with having kids. My own childhood memories were full of fun, carving pumpkins with Dad, running through the leaves with my cousins, and planning our costumes months in advance. It was innocent, harmless fun and made for great memories. But he saw a darker side to the holiday and did not want his kids growing up participating in it. We never could see eye to eye on the issue, but decided we'd figure it out after we were married.

We've been "figuring it out" for the past nine years. Pat has always been so respectful of my feelings on the issue and has made as many compromises as he can while staying true to his convictions. I've really struggled with how to deal with it now that our kids are older and in school. I didn't want to be that weird family, and I didn't want my kids to have to suffer at all. (Thus the annual cry) Plus I was jealous of friends and their fun with their kids.

But over the years I've also begun to really admire Pat for his desire to remain separate from things that are not honoring to God and the depth in which he feels accountable for his own family. He has never, ever been judgmental about other Christians who participate and has taught the girls to not judge either. It has been an issue I have to surrender to God every year, and He keeps being so faithful in making the day not something to dread, but a day honoring to Him and full of memory-making fun. My girls are just going to have different memories than I had.

So, here's what we did....

We talked to the teachers in September and let them know we didn't celebrate Halloween and would they please provide alternative activities for the girls whenever an activity involved ghosts, witches, or something spooky. Then on the day, Amy stayed home from Kindergarten and went out on a date with her daddy. From first grade on, our school doesn't allow costumes and they call the parties harvest parties, so Karissa went to school.

After school, we started to get ready for a community fun night at the church where the girls do their AWANA. (Pat doesn't mind us "co-opting the holiday. This shouldn't surprise you if you know him, hee hee).

They decorated paper grocery bags with harvest pictures. It was the sweetest activity and will be a memory I treasure. They were chatting away with each other about what harvest is and Karissa was so proud of a picture she found that had the Bible verse, "Give thanks to the Lord," on it. Then while they colored they broke out into song, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever. Sing praise, sing praise"

We dressed them and their baby brother up like farmers ready to gather the harvest. Amy was so excited to carry a watering can and we were off. They really look forward to this party every year. When we drove up, Karissa said in her most dramatic voice, "The day I've been waiting for!" They had an absolute blast at the party. The church fed us hotdogs, we got to hang out with our good friends, Rob and Erin, and their cutie Madeline, and the girls ran from one activity to another.

Many people there were dressed up in Halloween costumes and I couldn't help but observe how pure and innocent my little, happy farmers looked next to the three-year-old "dead brides" and other traditional Halloweeners. I loved that. They were so excited to show their AWANA leader the Bible verse on Karissa's bag, and they just glowed with happiness. It did my heart good and I realized, "My girls are not being deprived of ANYTHING."

And in case you are worried about my poor deprived kids, check this out!

We went home and weighed their candy bags. I kid you not, Karissa's bag weighed 6 1/2 POUNDS! And it was the good stuff- Snickers, Reeces Peanut Butter Cups, you name it. No deprivation here. : ) I think they are going to donate some of it to be sent to our troops overseas. Listening to them get so excited about sharing their candy did my heart good, too.

We got our jammies on, snuggled up on the couch, and watched "Ariel's Beginning" until bedtime. I tucked all my kiddos in and lay on my bed full of contentment. I thanked my husband for staying true to his heart, and I meant it. Learning to give in to this and to submit to his leadership in it, has been a long challenge, but the reward has been great.

I'm sorry this post is so long. It might just be for me. I needed to document this day so I can read it next October when I start to stress and worry about Halloween. Maybe I can even forgo the annual cry. But then again, that would be breaking with TRADITION! : )


Anonymous said...

Hey Becky, you forgot to mention throwing eggs at cop cars.... Does Pat know about your lawless past?

Anonymous said...

We had a fun Halloween too. I'm so glad you can have close family fun, and it never fails when you put God first he always rewards. I really respect you for submitting to your husband on this difficult issue--but as the years go by I'm sure it will get less and less difficult, as you build new traditions.

The Jernigan Family said...

Their candy bag weighed 2 times as much a Sage did when she was born lol