Sometimes I wonder if we try too hard as parents to instill values in our kids. Not that I think that it’s bad to instill values, but it seems so counter productive at times. Before having children my husband convinced me that Halloween wasn’t a good holiday, that it wasn’t harmless fun and as Christians we shouldn’t participate in the celebration. He went as far as to say that alternative activites on Halloween were celebrating but pretending you weren’t so he didn’t want our kids to participate in any Halloween alternatives either. (I had gone trick or treating even in college) We agreed. Then we had kids. The first few years, no problem. Our kids were petrified by some of the costumes that they saw in stores (we wouldn’t even go shopping in the mall for a month before Halloween), and we put the kids in the basement playroom with a video. As they got older they began to understand the draw of candy and costumes. But they dress up in costumes all the time, and we decided to have a huge costume party on New Year’s Day every year just for fun, but totally removed from Halloween. So we let them watch a movie, and hand out candy and tracks if they wanted. Then our church started having a huge Halloween alternative event that night. They annouced it in Sunday School for weeks ahead of time. The kids were all excited and very literally ALL of their friends were going. My husband was going to take them, then I said “What about what you said about no alternative events?” He went by himself to help out (I have no objection to the event, just what message it sends our kids). I stayed home with the kids. They get all dressed up in whatever is in the dress up box (something done daily in our house) but we don’t buy costumes for the day. We had figured, as our kids got older and started begging to go trick or treating we would “give in” and let them go to the church event, but we would make them help out for part of the time as a ministry. (we had planned this, but they didn’t know this). So this year, our oldest went to his first Halloween alternative event (although he has been to 2 Cub Scout parties already, which is a whole other issue) and the younger two are home with me. I just wonder if this is really teaching them to be in but not of the world, or if it means nothing to them. They already tell us that when they have kids they will let them go trick or treating. We also said no Jack -o- lanterns, but then we told them that in theory they would be allowed to carve a pumpkin. (My dislike of the smell of raw slimy pumpkins and my husbands business has prevented this from ever actually happening). But it’s really the same thing. I don’t see the point. I’d make a bigger stand myself, but I’m not fighting over this one. I know most of the holidays we celebrate as Christians have some pagan parts to the celebration, and there is only so much that can be done, but it seems like sometimes if you don’t go all the way, you send a bad message. It’s really hard to raise kids. The Instruction Manual should have a chapter on this.