by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
The first of the ‘winter holidays’ has come and gone: Halloween. If you have school-aged kids in your household, you probably have costumes crumpled in some corner and lots of sweets in a bowl in the dining room. (Maybe still left in the pillow case?J) Life for most of us is so fast-paced, we hardly pause to think about the immediate past. Now – on to Thanksgiving!
I’d like to suggest that it wouldn’t take too much effort to glean more benefits from Halloween than fun and candy. Here are a few ideas to choose from:
- WHAT’S IT REALLY ALL ABOUT? It didn’t start out all ‘fun and games.’ For some it is still the precursor to a very serious church observance, although it is thought to come from year-end celebrations that date back before the church. Let someone research Halloween and All Saints Day on line and report back to the rest.
- FAMILY MEETING TOPIC: What my costume reveals about the ‘real me.’ Let each one share why they chose their costume and what they think this reveals about them. In a loving setting, each one could share one thing they try to keep hidden from others…one feeling about themselves, positive or negative. End by praying for one another.
- FAMILY MEETING TOPIC: What does fascination with the ‘dark side’ reveal about people today? Why so much interest in vampires, witches and the like? Why do people enjoy scary movies?
- FAMILY MEETING TOPIC: The Master Masquerader: Satan (…and a response to this.) II Corinthians 11:13-15; Ephesians 4:20-32. (see Phillips version) Ahead of time, let someone prepare a few discussion questions on these passages.
- FAMILY MEETING TOPIC: “Treats – not tricks!” Discuss ways we are bombarded by false messages. Give examples of ways we’ve been tricked by social media and advertising. What are good defenses against this?
- FAMILY MEETING TOPIC: “Treats – not tricks. again!” List and discuss different ways churches (start with your own) observe Halloween. Include the idea of ignoring Halloween all together and substituting a Harvest Festival.
- FAMILY MEETING TOPIC: When it’s the real thing! Let someone research cultures where the mask is a serious part of life’s observances and beliefs and report back. Watch the film EE Taow: The Next Chapter and spend some time praying for peoples who, like the Mouk people in Papua New Guinea, need to have their lives dramatically changed by the Good News of Jesus.
God may lead you to spend some time with your family reading and discussing Ephesians 6:10-20 at this time of the year. It is sobering to think that all of the really scary things on earth today are reflections of the real battles occurring in the ‘heavenly realms.’ Hopefully, when we remember to put on our spiritual armor we’ll realize we cannot then be tricked by our greatest Enemy of all…Satan.
You, dear children, are from God…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
I John 4:4