Non-Halloween Celebrations That Just So Happen To Fall on Halloween


Although there are exceptions, fundamentalists generally believe that celebrating Halloween is tantamount to worshiping the Devil himself. So to avoid celebrating this wicked holiday by dressing up in costumes and going door-to-door looking for candy, some of them instead dress up in costumes (no witches, ghouls, or Obama costumes, please) and go to the church gymnasium looking for candy.

Who says that fundamentalists don’t appreciate nuance?

28 thoughts on “Non-Halloween Celebrations That Just So Happen To Fall on Halloween”

  1. So true! Back in our fundy days we would turn the lights off in the house and go run and hide at Church.

  2. Then there was the “Come Dressed as a Bible Character” party where the girl came dressed as Rahab the Harlot.

  3. So true. This kind of thing–expunging newly perceived evil–always seems to come in waves, too. Looking back, it seems like every year there was a new target (within my church, at least), whether Halloween, The Lion King, CCM, or that perennial fallback, rock music.

    At any rate, one year there was a virtual purge of all Halloween paraphernalia from every family in the church and school–no costumes, no candy, and by crikey you didn’t even discuss Halloween unless it was to refer to its undoubtedly satanic origins. We were even required to do papers on it in my fourth or fifth grade class.

    Next year it was back to normal. Go figure.

  4. Halloween, “the devil’s holiday” (my parents’ exact words). My parents would always turn off the porch lights so no one would come (they still did) and refused to answer the door. My sister and I, on the other hand, loved looking out the window at all the people walking around in their costumes. I actually don’t recall any of the fundy churches I went to as a kid or in Bible college who did anything for Halloween.

  5. That picture says it all! So funny! And yet sad. I mean, it’s actually a good idea to dress as a Bible character, I think, but don’t hide from the world…

  6. It was always advertised as a Fall Festival or a Harvest Party. Costumes and potluck with a short challenge (just 45 minutes) on the evils of what the world was celebrating outside the church walls. Just one more thing that screamed hypocrisy to me as a pre-teen.

  7. Then there was the “Come Dressed as a Bible Character” party where the girl came dressed as Rahab the Harlot.

    I love that. I wait every year for someone to choose the Bible Character of either Satan or the Antichrist.

  8. @Amanda. I remember that too. However I recall doing certain events at our childhood IFB church, such as what Eric said, like Harvest Parties and whatnot.

    The IFB church i’m still at actually does stuff for Halloween. Although they’ll just admit it’s an alternative way of going about it. Such as the ideal, “Trunk of Treat,” which is the same thing as Trick-or-Treating, just with cars. Still doesn’t make any sense…

  9. At my Catholic school, one of my Protestant friends went to the Halloween party dressed as Martin Luther. Tee hee. Reformation Day. Tee hee.

  10. I worked as a security guard at the Bible College I attended and I actually worked Halloween night patrolling the girls side of campus. So I bought a bunch of candy ahead of time and gave out candy to any of the students I saw. I felt so rebellious while at the same time being the symbol of the school’s authority. Some of the girls even dressed up and got permission to go from dorm to dorm “trick-or-treating.”

  11. At my fundy-leaning SBC church (with which I have long since severed ties), they held a poor man’s judgment house when I was 10. Talk about traumatizing young children more than witches or jackolanterns.

  12. I’m with Melody – those hell/judgment houses (and all other forms of manipulation and guilt-tripping people into “making decisions”) are definitely way worse than other non-Halloween celebrations (as odd as they are!).

  13. I went to a Judgement House a few years ago. We walked through hell at one point. Someone fell behind my sister and grabbed her leg. She screamed and thought it was satan dragging her to hell.

  14. Ah Judgment Houses…I went to one last year. I agree with Melody. Those things can be freaky! And more so traumatizing. It’s sad how a friend of mine REALLY wants to go and take her friends too! Curious how that would turn out…
    I’m tempted to go to one this coming weekend or so. Just so I can see how well I can be witnessed at, and see how much I will be forced to doubt my salvation and faith. Reminds me of the Baptist witnessing to a Presb. post (of course my browser won’t let me hyperlink…ugh). Anyways.

  15. Okay, I ashamedly admit that I grew up being told Halloween was the Devil’s Holiday, and now that I’m married w/ kids I still don’t know the right way to handle it. Should we celebrate it? Or would that be sinning? I really don’t know. My kids haven’t been trick-or-treating ever.

  16. RJW,

    See if your kids want to participate, first of all. Maybe they want to dress up, maybe they just want to hand out candy, or maybe they don’t want to do anything at all.

    If they do want to participate (and you do too), explain that lots of holidays mean lots of different things to different people. For example, Christmas is important to Christians because we celebrate the birth of Jesus. But other people just see it as a time to get together with family, and that’s how they choose to celebrate.

    Explain that most people see Halloween as a time to dress up in silly costumes, visit with neighbors, and maybe get some candy – and that’s how you’ll see it in your family. Explain that it’s just a celebration of fun with friends for you, and that you want them to wear costumes that represent fun things, not scary or evil things.

    That’s how my parents approached it when I went to a very fundy-leaning school as a child. Our teachers told us that Halloween was OF THE DEVIL, but my parents took a much more lighthearted approach. My costumes in my childhood were a princess, a playing card (two sheets of poster board + red Sharpie = ace of hearts!), and a box of popcorn (painted a box with red and white stripes, wore the box, and stapled clear bags of popped popcorn to the top). I had fun and didn’t feel anything sinister about looking like a box of popcorn at all. 🙂

    Of course, you can also choose to not do the costume-and-candy thing (some of my friends simply oppose the commercialism of it) and get together with friends and roast marshmallows over a bonfire and drink apple cider. It’s up to you.

    I hope you have fun with your family this Halloween, however you choose to observe it!

  17. a playing card (two sheets of poster board + red Sharpie = ace of hearts!)

    Playing cards are of the devil too!! 😉

  18. RJW,

    Our children trick or treated but not in the usual sense of going door to door through the neighborhood. We had several nursing homes and assisted living centers in the area that would give candy out. That way, the kids got candy but they also had to interact with the residents who were so glad to see the kids.

  19. That’s a great idea, Eric! Good to know you turn it into a chance to bring some joy to others instead of just the usual cavity-inducing candy hoarding.

  20. Yes, be glad you haven’t. It’s basically a “Christian” haunted house. If that makes any sense. This is how it usually works, as far as I’m concerned. It follows the path of 2 people. One just happens to be saved, the other not. Then something tragic happens, and they both die. Then with some other little features in there, you end up going through Heaven and through Hell. Get to see the good side where the saved person goes, and the bad side where the “bad” person. You get to sit back and watch as people are “suffering” in Hell, then leave. Then, with this nice guilt on your shoulders, you finish, then get witnessed at. Good ol’ arm-twisting usually.
    Basically that’s it. So be glad! 🙂

  21. I’ve heard of Christian “haunted” houses having things like showing the evils of abortion in graphic detail and other really unpleasant stuff. I’m not sure how that’s better in any way than a maniacal bloody clown chasing you through a building.

    Further, if my preschoolers get any more of those little trick or treat booklets that tell them they are going to hell this year, I may sneak back out with some eggs after I put them to bed. How is giving little children nightmares acceptable to some people?

  22. anyonw else find it comical that fundys will defend to the end that the bible is truth and not just a story book and then refer to those mentioned in the bible as charaters? just sayin, when they talk about george washington in a history book they dont refer to him as a charater, but a person. it just makes me lol!

  23. I can’t get over my dread and loathing of Halloween from my Fundie days. But I also hate how Halloween seems to be the biggest church Holiday of the year. No one spends as much money putting on a good fall festival on Oct 31st like every church in town.

  24. My favorite costume was a married couple at HAC. (they used to have real good Halloween Parties and real gory haunted hallways.) He was the Pope and his 8 1/2 pregnant wife was a nun. Looked like something right out of a Chick tract.

  25. I remember one time, at one of these dress-up-and-get-candy-but-somehow-it’s-not-doing-the-exact-same-thing parties, I dressed up as Queen Esther, and so did another girl! I was quite jealous of her plastic crown, when I’d had to make my own construction paper crown.

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