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Halloween: Christian alternatives

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Although Halloween still ranks as one of the most widely celebrated occasions on the calendar, this year fewer people will be spending less on the late October holiday.

According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 158 million Americans will celebrate Halloween in 2013, down from the record-breaking 170 million in 2012, the most in NRF’s 10-year history. This year Americans will spend an average of $75.03 on decorations, costumes, and candy for Halloween, down from last year’s all-time record of $79.82 per person. Total spending for 2013 is expected to reach $6.2 billion, as compared with an estimated $8 billion last year.

Although spending for Halloween is down this year, the holiday continues to be one of the celebrations with the highest rates of participation in the nation. Despite the rising popularity of the holiday that is commercially out-ranked only by Christmas, not everyone celebrates Halloween.

Because of the ancient holiday’s association with ghosts and goblins, vampires and witches, evoking images of blood, death, horror and the occult, some Christians find Halloween to be particularly disturbing. Some Christian parents refuse to allow their children to participate in “trick or treat” because of its questionable origins. According to Smithsonian.com,

“The practice began with the Celtic tradition of celebrating the end of the year by dressing up as evil spirits. The Celts believed that, as we moved from one year to the next, the dead and the living would overlap, and demons would roam the earth again. So dressing up as demons was a defense mechanism. If you encountered a real demon roaming the Earth, they would think you were one of them.”

Since 'Trick or Treat' and many of the practices associated with Halloween are said to be totally contrary to Scripture, a growing number of Christians see the holiday as a Satanic celebration which glories the powers of darkness. In light of the holiday’s occult practices and satanic rituals associated with what has become a pagan festival of the dead, many Christians choose not to participate in traditional Halloween celebrations.

Halloween Alternatives

Instead of the traditional Halloween festivities, some churches or Christian groups offer alternatives, such as Harvest/Fall Festivals with activities, including hayrides, carnival games, corn shucking contests, and costumes based on Bible characters.

One such local celebration is “Family Fun Harvest Festival Night” sponsored by Equippers City Church and God’s Kidz Too! The event is free, and the public is invited to an evening of food, fun, face painting, crafts, and music held Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at God’s Kidz Too! 2300 S. Hamilton Road, Columbus, OH 43232.

Another alternative involves pumpkin carving which is modified from the traditional Jack-o-lanterns to teach about the gospel and the promise of heaven. Learn more about Halloween practices from annieshomepage.com.

Some other activities include a “bounce house” or inflatable structure to appeal to younger children. Instead of taking their children “trick or treating,” some groups of parents substitute “trunk or treating” a variation of “Halloween tailgating” where children collect candy from the trunks of automobiles lined up in a parking lot.

One appealing alternative to the “haunted house” is the “Tour of Salvation” whereby children are escorted through seven rooms where the plan of salvation is explained and each child receives a different colored bead which will be threaded together in the last room to form a bracelet with the “Colors of Faith Cross”:

Yellow—representing God’s perfect light

Black—representing our sins

Red—representing the blood Jesus Christ shed for us

White—representing the cleansing of our sins

Green—representing the new life we have in Jesus Christ

Blue—representing the baptism that identifies us with Jesus Christ

Purple—representing the crown of life

Julia Bettencourt of Creative Ladies Ministry discusses Halloween from a Christian perspective and notes Halloween is really “the alternative” to God’s original design and display of beauty during the harvest season. Click here to read more.

Not everyone celebrates Halloween. For Christians and others who don’t, there are alternatives.

The accompanying video shows a Christian alternative to Halloween originating in Canada.

For more information about Halloween Alternatives visit the following websites:

Christianity.about.com Christian Halloween Alternatives

Christian Alternatives to Halloween at Barbara’s Entourage

Creative Bible Study Christian Halloween Alternatives

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