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How Do Christian Parents Talk About Halloween?

What do you do as a parent when your children ask you questions about difficult topics?

With October fast approaching, the Halloween decorations are out in full in the retail world, marketing, and media, and parents and families are beginning to receive the Halloween bombardment alongside everything pumpkin spice.

The problem that many Christian parents are facing is that they do not celebrate Halloween as a family. Unfortunately, it becomes hard for non-participating children to understand why they are being held back while their peers are getting bags of free candy and strolling the neighborhood in costumes for what feels like a national block party. That means parents are inevitably going to get questions from their children who will certainly demand a just answer to address such a grievance.

I am a firm believer that for each family parents must set the standards for what is appropriate in their household. Many Christian families come up with different responses to Halloween. Some keep it light and playful without focusing on the darker and negative aspects of the holiday. Others replace Halloween with a celebration of their own like a harvest festival or Reformation Day celebration. Others opt to stay in, leave the front porch light off, and distract themselves with a family activity to get through the night. Again, there is no one right answer. It is only important that parents have thought through their response and feel comfortable answering the questions they are bound to get from their children.

I recently got asked how to talk about Halloween from a member of the Homeschool Mastery Group. I found myself reflecting on how addressing Halloween correctly directly correlates to parents’ ability to have difficult conversations with their children in general.

Addressing problems with our children proactively is so important because whatever problem a Christian parent is unwilling or unable to address with their children, the wider culture is more than willing to provide an answer of their own. I believe that the Bible is clear that parents are the primary disciple-makers of their children (Gen 18:19, Deut 6:6–9, 11:19, Eph 6:4) and that means they are their primary educators as well. Unfortunately, when parents are absent as disciple-makers, the world eagerly offers children its own form of discipleship.

It is unrealistic for any parent to expect to shield their child from every difficult subject and the consequences of sin manifesting themselves all around their daily lives. Therefore, since our children will be confronted with the world’s sin and competing worldviews all the time, my belief is that open and proactive communication is the best approach.

There are effective ways to deal with difficult subjects with our children. You do not have to be graphic or stoop down to the wider culture’s level to address the challenging topics that your children will encounter. There is violence, war, drugs, disrespect, promiscuity, vulgarity, foul language, and evil to name a few issues that inevitably confront children today. As a parent I do not want the world providing the lens through which my children interpret Halloween. Neither do I want popular culture and entertainment to give my children a false and confusing narrative about gender, sexuality, language, etc. For parents, that means being prepared to discuss difficult issues with your children.

Some issues may be worth waiting until they confront your family, others until your child asks questions, and still others to be proactive about addressing. But what is important is that your children learn that it is always appropriate to bring their questions to their parents, and that they can talk to them first about anything that may be on their mind.

My biggest takeaway from this discussion: Parents must not give their children the impression that there is anything they cannot talk to them about.

Some topics are inherently difficult to discuss, but isn't it better as a parent that it be you—the one who loves and understands your child best—rather than a society and culture that does not have their best interests and flourishing in mind?

Halloween is yet another of this important opportunity we as parents have to lean into hard conversations as an act of love as our children’s primary educators.

Parents looking for help and support approaching those challenging conversations, getting feedback from other parents, and gaining the confidence to lead their home as primary educators and disciple-makers will find all that in one place at the Homeschool Mastery Group.

Book a Call and learn how to take the next steps now.

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