When in Rome – Dads Celebrate HalloweenBy
In the world of expressions people use, “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do.” is one that you might hear, even in our contemporary society distanced from ancient Rome.
The expression has roots in the Bible, to the Apostle Paul expressing how to reach your community:
1 Corinthians 9:20-22
20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.
So, if the Romans . . . or your neighbors, celebrate Halloween, don’t let this Holiday pass without using it as an opportunity to be a witness. This Halloween, the teaming unwashed ‘lost’ are coming to your door OR you might be taking your youngsters out to mingle with the costumed masses. People are wandering around looking, even asking, for you to give them something. How about a witness, a window into how God overcame the world?
How Dads can Do the Halloween thing:
First, don’t believe all the religious hype. Legalistic religions will spout all kinds of nonsense about it being the Devil’s holiday. I have all kinds of Scriptural arguments against this idea, but it boils down to one of my favorite verses in the Do the Dad Thing series:
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Once legalistic guilt is absolved, you can start being your authentic Christian self and celebrating Halloween with your neighbors . . . do it with the intent to be a living example for Christ. Here are just a few thoughts on how to rock Halloween as a dad.
Watch your kids: This goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. The later evening can be dark and in some neighborhoods there are a mass of people walking around, all in costumes that look similar. Make the rule that younger kids have to stay with you. Also, I’ve noticed over the years that there might be 50 fairies or Iron Men that all look like your kids in costume – make sure you don’t lose track of them in the hustle and bustle.
Have your kids be polite: We all hate the people that grab handfuls of candy out of the “Take One” bucket. Don’t let your kids be those kids. Also, teach your kids to say “thank you,” and “please” when they trick or treat the houses.
Scooters: Trust me, if your kids are little, have them go house to house on their Razor scooters. You might be able to hike a few blocks with your long dad-like legs, but your kids will start whining “carry me” after a few blocks.
Take extra bags: If your kids have trick or treat bags, they can bring them back to you to dump into a bigger bag. That way, little kids won’t start complaining that their bag is too heavy AND it won’t look like your kids are hauling away tons of candy.
Elderly person giving out candy: “Oh little princess, your bucket is almost empty. Here, have 50 Butterfingers.”
Talk to people: This goes along with being a witness to your neighbors. Meet people. If the opportunity comes up, tell them where you live. Share an interest. You never know where it might lead.
Volunteer: Single moms are caught on Halloween. They want to participate in giving out candy, but their kids also want to walk the neighborhood. Volunteer to take some extra kids with you on the Halloween excursion. Just make sure and keep track of them. Let them know the rules before you head out.
I can go on and on with this topic, mostly because I’ve personally seen how a positive, even Christ-centered, impact can be made on a neighborhood on Halloween. I’ll close with one practical great idea our family witnessed in our neighborhood:
One of the houses in our neighborhood is sponsored by a church. It has a Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin theme and EVERY kid in the neighborhood stops there (and many kids/families who get ‘dropped off’ in our neighborhood to trick or treat). They have games, they have candy, and they have a couple of nice ladies at a table giving out free Bibles AND church information.
It’s a great idea. You could be the dad to start a Halloween revolution in your neighborhood. Please send me your great ‘using-Halloween-for-a-witness-of-God’s-love’ ideas. Together, we dads can make Halloween back into an All Hallows Eve.
Note: If you want all the pro-Halloween Scriptural arguments, you’ll have to e-mail me at Brad@wordmaverick.com Or better yet, post in the comments and we can have an online discussion about it. It’s always good to hear other perspectives, even if it comes from a Halloween ‘hater.’
Also, for more on the Apostle Paul, and how he impacted society by connecting with society, please see Acts 17:16-34. — Paul uses an idol as a springboard to teach leaders and philosophers of Athens about the living God (i.e. He used something evil to point people to Christ).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brad Washburn is a father, husband, and Director of a Christian counseling center in Tampa, Florida. He has helped hundreds of people over the last 15 years. In particular, he desires to see fathers be “men after God’s own heart” — a description of King David in the Bible who was a lover, fighter, sheep herder, and harp player . . . .
Find out more at www.pathseekercenter.org