By Reba Phelps
The fall time of year always brings about so many cheerful family memories of fall festivals, football, leaves changing colors and more importantly it always brings an abundance of Halloween candy. Unwittingly having two daughters that are eight years apart in age eventually meant that I would celebrate Halloween for twenty-one years in a row. There was never a shortage of Halloween candy between the two girls.
Our neighborhood always has an early trick or treat evening for families and typically not very much traffic on the actual Halloween night. Essentially, there has always been a few different candy collecting events wherein the kids would come home with pounds and pounds of candy. While living in the same location for the past fourteen years I have grown accustom to giving away all of the pre-collected candy on Halloween night.
By this time everyone had their fill of the cavity-causing goodness and we were ready to bid it adieu. Well, if I am being honest, I kept a few pieces of the good chocolate and gave the rest away to the last of the trick or treaters. As history has shown, kids know what neighborhoods have the good candy and mine were no different. They knew what parties and events would feed their sweet tooth. It was the exact same way when I was growing up. We knew how to maximize the potential of winning the candy lottery.
This held true until my parents found Jesus. Once they found the Lord we quickly traded our Halloween parties in for a more spiritual gathering called, “Hallelujah parties”. Long gone were the homemade costumes that were witches, scarecrows and ghosts. We were now Bible characters. I remember being Queen Ester one year and my brother was Joseph with his coat of many colors. At the time, I never quite understood why we converted our “Halloweens” to “Hallelujahs” but I knew instantly that I was a bit sad that it just looked so different.
Had I known the previous year was my last Halloween I would have trick or treated a little slower, enjoyed the scenery, and appreciated the knocking of doors at random houses a little more. I would have savored the moment of wearing my homemade witch costume a little longer. I would have relished the time spent making sure the candy was safe and needle free before it was consumed. I just didn’t know it was my last trick or treat.
When I finally had kids of my own I struggled with the decision of actually trick or treating or just attending the many Fall Family Festivals around town. I looked back and didn’t remember my parents taking the time to teach us why our fall traditions were changing so abruptly. I still felt like the same kid but was just doing things differently. Not that I wanted to in my own heart but because my parents said so. And, I was not brave enough or stupid enough to buck the system.
I truly wanted my daughters to experience the joy and excitement of going house to house with friends and family as well as dressing up in an adorable costume. I also wanted them to experience the events that are family oriented and Christ centered. As a mother, I am choosing to teach them about all experiences. The meaning, reasons and history of every single choice we make. I personally do not feel as though I made a less spiritual choice by allowing my daughters to enjoy the tradition of Halloween.
But, if you do not see me in the afterlife we will all know that I clearly made the wrong decision for my family.
God does call us to be set apart but I believe that starts in your heart. The place where he lives and gently reminds you of what is right and what is wrong.
This year my youngest daughter was too cool for trick or treating. She chose to play volleyball and hide and go seek with friends in our neighborhood during our yearly celebration. She came back with a minuscule portion of candy from neighbors we are closest to. All I could think was…. if I had known last year would have been the last of our twenty-one year history of trick or treating I would have savored it a little longer. I would enjoyed the stress of picking out a costume and fussed a little less over costume choices. I would taken more photos and relished the process a little deeper than before.
“Do not be conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” – Romas 12:2