I talked with a friend recently who has decided to not let her kids participate in trick-or-treating festivities this year. She said she had been doing a lot of research on Halloween and its history, and her and her husband felt strongly that they did not want to encourage their children to be a part of it. She shared some of her research with her older child, but the younger one is still upset that they will not be able to go door-to-door. Instead, she told me that they told their kids that they could still dress up, but that they were going to have a special candy festival at their own home. They've decided to do a candy hunt, similar to an Easter egg hunt!
I highly respect my friend for her and her husband's decision to take responsibility for what their children participate in, and to educate them on why they have made their decision. She is not trying to shelter them from the realities of life, but to present the realities in a safe environment for them to be able to fully understand them, and to learn how to react responsibly to them.
It has been fun at my church this past weekend, though, because it was the start of our 2011 Missions Convention. Obviously I'm a big fan of Missions, so this is a very special week to me.
In the light of my friends' decision about Halloween festivities, I'd like to share another fun way to dress up: participate in my church's Missions Convention. For the last 2 years, we have opened up the convention with incredible stories of how lives are being changed all over the world because of people who care to share God's love. Our choir has taken the role of representing as many countries as we can within our own attendance. We each choose a country, dress up for that country, and carry their flag through the church and onto the stage where it sits in a slot with all the other flags. Talk about fanfare.
Don't get me wrong, the purpose is not to put on a show. The purpose is to express our excitement and joy in sharing God's love and being a part of changed lives all over the globe. And the purpose is also to share that joy so others can know about it and be a part of it.
One of the fun things we get to do is to dress up for our countries. Below I've shared a picture of me and two of my friends. In order, we represent Switzerland, Japan, and Germany.
If you're interested in the whole thing, wait a few days and the service will be posted here:
I hope you all have a wonderful October 31st - whether you decide to dress up or focus on other things! Seek God's purpose for how you should remember this day, and please share if you have more great alternative Halloween ideas!