As a child, I never went trick-or-treating. It was something my family just didn't do. Oh, I still got to dress up at the school party (which was all I cared about), and in highschool I organized a food drive during Halloween which allowed me to dress up in my toga and drag my angel sister around Dodge Center. So, when I married someone who walked his neighborhood until the rip old age of 15, Halloween was something we had to compromise on. And, in my love for dressing up, I opted towards Justin's upbringing. However, this was the first year that Annalia got excited about it. Of course, she is a child, and any holiday is exciting. One morning, we were watching a Halloween episode of Super Why and I was great disturbed by the message. Basically, one of the characters is scared of Halloween, and the Super Story Answer was "PRETEND." He didn't have to be scared because everything is pretend. That bothered me. As a Christian, I do not believe that witches and evil spirits are pretend. I believe in God and the angels, which also means I have to face the fact that there is a devil with demons. In fact, I think ignoring this can open the door to a lot of problems.
So, naturally, I didn't want Annalia thinking this. It was time to do my research. I knew that Halloween was actually the Eve of All Saints Day, but I needed to know more. True, it is mainly Celtic in origin. Very pagan. But, like many pagan customs, the Church did its best to take what the Devil was using for his gain, and give Christians an opportunity to celebrate something holy. Enter in, All Saints Day, a kind of "Veteran's Day" for all recognized, and unrecognized saints. Of course, the traditions of Samhain (the Celtic festival) still persisted, but the Christians were able to focus their energy on the victory we have over the powers of darkness. I was pleased to learn that trick-or-treating actually has a pleasant history. In the middle ages, poor people used to go around and beg for "soul cakes." Upon receiving this food, they
promised to pray for the saints.
Annalia loves to hear stories, we make them up all the time. So, this week, I have been telling her the good stories of All Saints Day. Talking about the people who have lived before us who have loved Jesus with their whole heart and life. We talk about the poor people who were able to get food on All Hallows Eve, and in return they prayed for the Saints. We also talked about how God is bigger than any scary thing out there, and those who have Jesus in their hearts don't have to be scared. (We'll get into the reality of evil when she is a little older.)
My joy was complete tonight, as Annalia's trick-or-treating was turned into a prayer walk. She joyfully "flew" to each home, and received her treat. And as we left, we said a short prayer, blessing each home. Eventually, she didn't need any prompting, and it was then her joy to pray for each person who had blessed her with a treat.
(note-Naomi had a GREAT time too. She figured the system out pretty quickly, and insisted on holding her own bag, as she walked to each home. She was adorable!)