On Halloween, part 2


Celebrations, Out and about, Walking with Jesus / Saturday, October 13th, 2012

My post last week on Halloween sparked a series of private conversations with my friend Janelle Glick. Janelle hails from the city of Waterloo, Ontario. She’s a former school teacher, present curriculum writer, wife of a musician, mother of three, seeker of Jesus. I asked her to write a guest post, sharing her thoughts on bringing Jesus to her neighborhood at this time of year. Please welcome Janelle! You may address your comments to her/me/both of us as you wish.

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Confession: Sometimes what Jesus wouldn’t do is clearer to me than what He would do.

What would Jesus do on the night of Halloween in North America? (I specify North America because other countries celebrate different ways and for various reasons.) From what I can tell, most families in my neighborhood see Halloween as an innocent opportunity for their children to dress up as favorite book, TV, or movie characters, go meet their neighbors (and everyone else’s) and get piles of candy.

Every year as I think about what Jesus wants me to do at 53 Cardinal Cresc. S Waterloo, to bring His light to my neighborhood on Halloween, there are some things I know He would not do.

I am certain that Jesus would not be fearful and run away from His home. After all, there are children and often parents walking the sidewalks right outside my door who just might be on a journey toward God, and ripe for meeting a believer. If there was another event the same evening that was more important than staying available in my neighborhood, we would go there instead.

However, I am also certain that Jesus’ Light is a polar opposite of darkness. So we turn off our porch light to keep from raising the hopes of dozens of candy-seeking children we play with at the park, or confusing the moms I chat with at playgroups on Wednesday mornings. These children know that my kids don’t watch super hero movies, or play with super hero toys, or have a television. And the moms know that I wear “special” clothes, and don’t drink alcohol, and don’t swear, and often defer to my husband if our wishes collide. They know that I won’t be sending our children to a public school. A few of them have recently listened as I shared how the Holy Spirit worked in my dating relationship with Wendell. These few have been in my home and seen the Bible verse stenciled on my wall. I am certain they would be confused to see me handing out snacks on Halloween.

I am certain that Jesus would love the children and the parents and the teenagers who trick or treat, even if they TP-ed His favorite maple tree. If He had a chance to make eye contact and say a few words, it would all be gentle. He might even look up to His father and repeat the words that he pleads for me many times a day, “Father, forgive her – she doesn’t know what she’s doing.”

While I stay home with my husband and three little ones, my spirit is constantly holding hands with the Spirit as I keep my ears and heart open for anyone knocking at our door. When the knocks come, I open the door and say pleasantly, “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but we don’t celebrate Halloween.” I do not shut the door immediately – I wait to see if they want to chat more or have any response at all. So far, all responses have been equally pleasant “Okay, bye!” …and they’re off to collect candy elsewhere.

Finally, I’m fairly certain that Jesus does not want me to make up a little rule book entitled Glick Halloween Practices for a Lifetime. I believe that He wants me to talk to Him about Halloween every year. This year I’m asking Him more questions than ever, because my 4-year-old is noticing every jack-o-lantern, scarecrow, witch, and skeleton in our neighborhood. And he wants to know why they are bad. And I want to know what Jesus would say if Lucas was asking Him in eternity. Plus, there’s this blog I’m reading that’s opened up the question for discussion.

Maybe Jesus would start where I have begun this week – asking some questions of those who celebrate Halloween… I’ve e-mailed my neighborhood “momtourage” play group, and asked if anyone would care to tell me why they celebrate Halloween. I am praying they will want to talk.

– Janelle Glick

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More next week from our Canadian correspondent… 🙂 In the meantime, what do you have to say?

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9 years ago

I find this highly relevant as we live in a) a city with close neighbors all around, and b) the country where Halloween originated and where it is celebrated with creepy gusto every year. Thanks, Janelle and Shari. (Janelle, I’ve often wished you’d have a blog or at least a place where I could read more of what you write. ;))

LaDonna Nice
9 years ago

Well said…Janelle.

Carla Zehr
9 years ago

I never thought that my neighbors might not expect me to celebrate Halloween. I worry that by having my porch light off I look like a stingy party pooper, never thinking that perhaps my neighbors would know that if I did celebrate Halloween it would be inconsistent with the way I live. I’d love to hear more of your life as an Anabaptist lady in town. Thank you for writing! I agree that I can’t laminate a list of rules about how I will handle Halloween every year!

Janelle Glick
9 years ago
Reply to  Carla Zehr

Or, as I learned today from a new friend, they might think you are Muslem…they don’t celebrate Halloween either. :). I think we Mennonites are super conscious of our differences because we grow up being so much the same as other in our culture… Unity , you know. But many others (at least Canadians 🙂 😉 are just fine with diversity.