Some folks ignore October 31 completely. They barely acknowledge it as a calendar date.
Others throw caution to the winds and the children deck out as Freddy, Jason and other horrific characters.
Let's take a deep breath, calmly examine ideas, and then decide what is best for our own family. Considerations for homeschool holidays--Halloween:
- We have to acknowledge that times change.
Halloween used to be a fun time for all kids to dress up, get lots of candy and just have fun with their friends. In my day, (yes, it was a long time age) we ran the streets, visited teachers' houses for treats and had a safe, happy evening.
Now, of course, we can't let the children even walk through our own neighborhoods unsupervised. Nor can they sample any candy before an adult carefully examines it.
Also today, adults have usurped Halloween and it is overcast with dark, menacing tones.
- You can't ignore it. Halloween is the second biggest holiday in the United States. Can't sneak this one past the kids.
- Have you noticed, however, new worthwhile rituals beginning to take shape?
An elderly spinster (her name was Nadja) took the occasion to always send my children little cards with a dollar tucked in each. They were thrilled and, as Halloween neared, ardently looked in the mail for the small envelopes.
This kindness has reverberated as now I remember my children, nieces and nephews in the same way. (If such a tiny thing brings such great happiness, hey, I can do that.)
Another opportunity for Christian charity is visiting nursing homes on Halloween. All institutions host parties and beg for volunteers...and the elderly bask in the extra attention. They yearn to see youth anytime, but especially in colorful and varied costumes. A boy scout troop in the area does this. Why not a family, homeschool
- Should we just allow secular society take over and hijack another American/Christian tradition? (Take a look at Christmas and Easter.)
Halloween was celebrated in the United States by the late 19th century.
Even though its beginnings were pagan, does that mean we automatically reject it from homeschool holidays? Not necessarily...
For instance, "The Israelites did as Moses had commended: they asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing." Exodus 12:35. God's people were told to take with them items that once belonged to pagans. Another example: philosophy and science use terminology and ideas from pre-Christian times.
- Halloween was once a religious observance.
The word "Halloween" is a contraction of its prior names--medieval England's All Hallows' Evening, then Allhallows-even, Hallowe'en. This refers to it being the evening before the great feast of All Saints Day or Allhallows, November 1. (hallowed--regarded as holy, honored as sacred)
Calling it "Fall Festival" or the like sounds innocuous, but it actually banishes any religious connotation.
On the vigil October 31, families used to pray and recall the gospel teachings of heaven and hell.
as a homeschool holiday as our ancestors did.
Use it to remind our youngsters of crucial Gospel lessons. Might this not be a golden opportunity for positive learning?
From love and concern, we parents have to pass on the knowledge of a real heaven and a real hell. They exist, and it's crucial for our children's eternal well-being that they know and understand this.
Satan, witches and the occult are not for laughs and games. They are not funny, friendly or cuddly. They are not to be enjoyed but they must be reckoned with.
Pray. Read the Bible. Discuss relevant quotes.
We don't dress up or pretend to be them. Homeschool youngsters can dress up as kings, queens, policemen, knights, cowboys, even superheroes and storybook characters who embody goodness and/or fight evil.
- Focus on the Feast of
Crofton Park Baptist Church in south London sponsors an All Saints and Superheroes party. Carol Bostridge, the force behind the festivity, explains, "We're offering a positive
alternative, concentrating on the Christian feast of All Hallows."
All Saints Day is a holy day of obligation for us Catholics and a great, joyful holiday. We remember and honor all the holy people of God. Children don the garb of saints and Biblical heroes and attend festive parties.
Perfect for a homeschool holiday...
Always ones to relish any excuse for gaiety, our family naturally participates in Halloween and celebrates All Saints Day.
So Halloween (as traditionally celebrated) and All Saints Day will be included in homeschool holidays. As emphasized throughout this site, homeschooling families must decide what is right for them. Take from here ideas that are useful and meaningful to you, leave the rest.