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How to Celebrate Halloween on a Sunday

Kate Ensign-Lewis - October 23, 2010

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How do you handle the Sunday Halloween dilemma?

When I was growing up and Halloween fell on a Sunday, my parents simply told us we didn’t go out. I never questioned it, but it was always a little sad to go to bed early that night, house darkened (we didn’t pass out candy, either), and listening to the occasional door-knock of the trick-or-treater unacquainted with the “lights out means no candy” protocol. I loved Halloween and still do. So this year’s holiday, as the first Sunday Halloween when I’m a house-running adult, has me thinking. What are the options?

After asking a few of LDS Living’s friends on Facebook (join us on Facebook!), we decided we weren’t the only ones  interested in this question. From poking around, brainstorming, and using some of those Facebook responses, we’ve come up with a few ideas. (All ideas assume the family in question will not be trick-or-treating on Sunday. All ideas can be incorporated together or used separately.) The goal is to make Halloween a special time for the kids who love it, even if it is a little different than usual.

Go on Saturday.

This may be a viable option in areas with a predominantly religious population. If you’re new to the area, the best way to find out how it works is to ask around your ward and see what the rules are.

If October 30 trick-or-treating is not common, and you’re really outgoing, you might arrange a neighborhood trick-or-treat session on Saturday. Send around fliers and see if other families are interested. Not only will it foster more neighborhood interaction, but putting together an organized event (in which you get people to sign up and agree) may increase the safety factor as well.

Have a low-key celebration at home.

Make a dinner with pumpkin in it (or better yet, find a recipe for a casserole made IN a pumpkin). Get candy and let your kids eat it. Make pumpkin- and ghost-shaped sugar cookies and decorate them while watching a classic Halloween movie, such as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; Hocus Pocus; Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit; The Witches (probably 12 and above); The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad; any Harry Potter movie; and the classic Frankenstein. (For really little kids, there’s always Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie.) 

One my favorite Halloween specials as a kid was A Disney Halloween, which includes classic cartoons and snippets from Disney movies (I would always skip the "Night at Bald Mountain" segment at the beginning, from Fantasia). The older version, Disney’s Halloween Treat, is also enjoyable. While these specials are no longer available on VHS and have not been released on DVD, both can be found on YouTube (in 9 parts and 5 parts, respectively), which could make for decent watching, depending on your family’s computer monitor or Internet streaming hookups.

Let your kids help with passing out candy.

Do you pass out candy to trick-or-treaters on Sunday, or not? It’s a good way to be neighborly, but of course, it’s an individual decision.

If you decide to pass candy, including your kids is one way to get them involved in the holiday, even if they can’t go out. It’s one way to help them see the joy of holidays from the other side, the side that enjoys giving and seeing the happiness of the receiver. It will also help kids feel responsible and grown-up—two feelings they are always anxious to experience.  You might even let them dress up to get in the Halloween spirit.

Make sure to have a spiritual conclusion to the evening.

Family prayer or scripture study (or both) will be a good reminder of the meaning behind the day—Sunday—and your decision to treat Halloween differently this year than you usually might. Even if your children may not have willingly stayed home, they will understand a big goal for the home is to maintain spiritual priorities.

That rounds out our list. What other ideas do you have?

© LDS Living
Comments 45 comments

jem said...

12:03 PM
on Oct 22, 2010

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Some great ideas here. When I was a kid it was hard to miss out on fun things because of Sabbath observance (missed my junior prom even). Looking back now though, I am glad my parents held strong and taught me the difference between the Sabbath day and the rest of the week.

sariah said...

08:34 AM
on Oct 23, 2010

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When I was little, my mom had the members of our ward sign up if they would be willing to pass out candy on Saturday, then she made up a list to pass out to the families with children. Instead of walking, we drove from house to house, but we were still trick-or-treating. This year, our ward is having a trunk-or-treat on Saturday night so the kids can go trick-or-treating. And in addition to the trunk-or-treat, we have some friends throwing a Halloween party for kids that weekend. Our family is signed up to feed missionaries on Halloween night so we will have a fun Halloween themed meal with them, and after they leave we will watch a movie and eat some candy with our kids.

jbcracker said...

09:13 AM
on Oct 23, 2010

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Have a "Trunk or Treat" in the parking lot of your ward building on Saturday. I live in Utah and luckily everyone will Trick or Treat on Saturday, but we always have a Trunk or Treat at the church and my kids love it. You can decorate your trunks it you want.

char said...

09:44 AM
on Oct 23, 2010

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Wait, why would it be bad to go trick or treating on Sunday? How is watching a movie a more spiritual activity than going around to your neighbours, saying hello and getting a bit of candy? Is it because we feel like we can't enjoy ourselves too much on the Sabbath? Like Sunday has to have a certain level of boring in order to be observing it. I would love to hear what others think.

lynn said...

09:48 AM
on Oct 23, 2010

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We've always done a Trunk or Treat, Costume parade, and Haunted House in the Parking Lot of our Stake Center each year that Halloween Falls on a Sunday, up here in Canada. It's held on a Saturday and the Youth and Youth Leaders host it, so that everyone from infant to senior is involved in some way as they take the little trick or treaters around. Or pass out the candies from their vehicles (all decorated for the contest of best dressed vehicle or trunk). It's fun and then my kids don't mind at all having the lights out up stairs on Sunday evening (signal to others that "we are not home" and not participating in Halloween that year) as we are downstairs eating popcorn, some of our candies from the previous night's event and watching a good wholesome family movie together before bed.

nurturer said...

10:00 AM
on Oct 23, 2010

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Just have Halloween activities at your home on Saturday! Most Christians understand the value of the Sabbath day. We live in the south and so Halloween activities will mostly take place on Saturday. Where you live be proactive by baking Halloween cookies, taking treats to neighbors, organizing a neighborhood trick or treat, or arranging a walking or driving trick or treat route with mutual friends and/or work associates, etc. all on Saturday the 30th. Halloween is a fun holiday, but whether it is the 30th or 31st won't matter to your children. Hang on to your desire to truly honor the spirit of the Sabbath. It is one little thing that will long be remembered. Stay with your values. Halloween amazingly doesn't fall on Sunday again until 2021--your little people now will almost be grown next time this conflict happens.

krii8 said...

10:20 AM
on Oct 23, 2010

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Our ward always does a trunk or treat, as well, but our stake is having a multi stake fireside on the Holy Ghost that evening for all the teenagers between 12-18. It will give a nice twist for Halloween on a sabbath evening, and I'm sure the refreshments will be fun, but another stake is in charge of that. AND they still get to be out with their friends. Plus, all the kids COULD dress up as missionaries and be completely o.k.?? Especially if they bring an investigator!

jess27 said...

10:29 AM
on Oct 23, 2010

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In response to Char. Your interpretation of the Sabbath is sad. It is not bad to go Trick or Treating and people who observe the sabbath don't do boring things or feel like we must not enjoy ourselves. We have come to understand that observing the Sabbath means doing only things for Heavenly Father. I always ask my self why am I doing these things? Not if they are boring quite or fun. I don't try to justify something I want to do. Just ask your self am I trick or Treating for Heavenly Father or myself? Am I watching this t.v. show for Heavenly Father or myself? Am I playing outside for Heavenly Father? Most people try to justify their actions by saying well as long as i'm with my family. well would you rob a bank or other such acts with your family? Does that make it right? No. It's plain and simple. It's only one day a week Heavenly Father asks from us. We are not supposed to do things we do everyday. We are supposed to make Sunday different. I think there are some great Ideas here but as long as you always keep that question in your head you will always choose the right.

erin said...

11:30 AM
on Oct 23, 2010

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I think the best solution is to celebrate it early. I don't agree with the suggestion to watch a Halloween movie on the Sabbath. How is that keeping the Sabbath day holy? My children will have school parties on Friday, a ward trunk or treat Friday evening, and as in most communitites, there are many Halloween activities around town on Saturday. This is plenty of celebrating. Parents need to be the parents and set correct standards for the Sabbath.just because Halloween falls on a Sunday doesn't mean we have to celebrate it then- or that we compromise our standards on Sunday activities by watching Halloween movies.

nadin said...

11:51 AM
on Oct 23, 2010

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Responding to Char, Jess27, erin... "There are rules that the Church leadership resists interpreting for us. For keeping the sabbath day holy, we are expected to decide in our own family precisely how we go about obeying that commandment, and people draw the line in different places." For instance, working on Sundays, how many Saints work at the Church's own TV and radio stations? Or how many students are needed to work on Sundays to feed the missionaries in the MTC? Then of course, that's out of necessity. Maybe you feel the need to celebrate Halloween with your family, this article and those who've commented have given great suggestions in finding that balance between keeping the sabbath day holy and celebrating Halloween with family. Watching a movie is not holier than trick-o-treating, but for some it doesn't interrupt the observance of the sabbath day. This is one of those instances where people draw the line in different places. The movies listed are family Halloween-themed movies and not some a suspenseful thriller which some might prefer for the occasion. Also I'd like to point out that the sabbath day was made for man, not man for the sabbath.

and18 said...

12:11 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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As an LDS growing up in England, we never 'celebrated' Halloween, but this was no different to the rest of the country. However, like many things from 'across the pond', Halloween and trick or treating has crept up in popularity ( mainly I think because of Walmart selling all the relevant gear :) However, as a LDS I have yet to understand why we celebrate it AT ALL - after all it seems to me to be a celebration of all things evil eg witches, ghosts, vampires etc. My ten year old daughter will therefore not be trick or treating, neither will she be watching Halloween related movies on Sunday or any other day if I can help it. I am Halloween's equivalent of Christmas's Scrooge :)

char said...

12:11 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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Thanks to those who responded to my comment. When my husband and I realized Halloween fell on a Sunday, our immediate reaction was, I guess there will be no trick or treating this year. Then we started talking about whether taking our four year old son out would really be breaking the Sabbath for us. Nadin, I really appreciate your thoughts on this.

jms55 said...

12:12 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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My children are older and those who are teens and older still like to to dress up and have fun. Many of my friends who also have teens and older children at home plan a party for Saturday night. Each Teen is to bring a bag of candy and treats to share. Parents are welcome to stay and visit or just drop the teens off then pick them up when the party is over. This year a small party will be at our home. This plan also works for families with younger children. In our home we also talk about the religious history involved with Halloween and how it have been weaved through years.Getting candies or other treats from different counteies and talking about their customs is also fun.

braveheart66jm said...

12:18 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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I understand and respect the fact that different LDS families will have their own approach to trick-or-treating on Sunday. If they're doing it with sincere intent and believe that it's in alignment with the Savior's will for them, I'm certainly not going to judge. Jess27, when you use such an extreme example of a family robbing a bank together, I think it detracts a bit from an open, healthy discussion on the topic. When our family trick-or-treats, it's a wonderful 3-4 hours of laughing, talking, and enjoying not only being together as a family (which is getting increasingly harder for us to pull off), but we see, greet and enjoy our entire neighborhood, as well as extended family that we go visit. The candy is incidental. After attending church, taking the sacrament, and fulfilling my other callings/opportunities in the Church, to end the day on that kind of family note seems to me entirely congruous with the Sabbath. We're looking forward to a fun and loving Sunday Halloween as a family.

nadin said...

12:24 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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You're welcome Char. I'd also like to add; Article of Faith #11 "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." I see how one might think that celebrating Halloween is not appropriate for the occasion since it celebrates or follows pagan beliefs. What about Christmas? Sure it's meant to celebrate Christ's birth, but it was adjusted for pagan beliefs, otherwise it would be celebrated in April which is when Christ's birth took place, not in December. Why not inject Halloween with our own beliefs? Sure, have fun and trick-o-treat, but you can also make it more than day of candy and all things spooky by teaching about... death and the resurrection? I took a horror film class recently and I learned for myself that vampires, zombies and such are not evils, they are simply a reflection of human fears. Some have twisted this reflection to portray evil, but it's not inherently so. As a Hispanic, Day of the Dead is the equivalent, and I see it as an opportunity to learn that death is a temporary condition that is overcome thanks to Christs atonement. There is no trick-o-treating, but there's food, music, maybe a pinata, and on the eve of that day, family's visit the tombs of loved ones. If that isn't holy enough, I don't know what is.

teradatodd said...

01:14 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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I didn't grow up in the church so not celebrating Halloween was never an issue. Now that I want to live to keep the Sabbath more holy I thought about what to do on Halloween on Sunday. And then I realized something...every Easter Sunday before going to church, the kids would go to the backyard and search for their baskets and eggs and when Christmas fell on Sunday they still opened their gifts from Santa. As a way to make Halloween a good family activity we will have a lesson on neighbor safety and being polite to neighbors. We will also take some time to learn about strangers. I feel like we can still be in the world but not of the world.

georgia4me said...

02:52 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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I am grateful that we encourage traditions, and Halloween is a fun tradition that many of us have passed down to our children. The same decorations, the same foods, the same warm family feelings. These are the wonderful things that help mark time. The sabbath day does seem, in most minds, to alter the idea of running the neighborhood looking for a handout. But what about changing the tradition a bit and go throughout your own neighborhood giving treats instead of getting them. Could be face to face, or be a little more daring and see if the kids can sneak up to the house and drop the goody and run. The act of Halloween 'trick or treating' become one of 'love and giving'. Still the fun of dressing up and going out, but with a Christ-like twist. Also, yes, the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath, but this means for the edifying of man....not that he can do what he wants.

liann said...

03:43 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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7 years ago, as a new mom with stepchildren who were new to the church, I had them dress up at scriptural characters (angels, Nephites, Moses, etc.) and let them trick or treat. We are still pondering the issue now. We have grown spiritually and our situation is different.....I think celebrating on a different day is a good option if you can. We live in Florida, so no one is going to trick or treat on Saturday....but there are other activities. Perhaps I will let the children decide....

luv2all said...

03:53 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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Our stake pres sent a meesage to all our wards this year, asking us to not be judgemental but rather respectful of how each individual family may choose to handle the Halloween and sabbath conundrum. He also included the reminder to be good neighbors and to prayerfully consider each of our individual situations. Our bishop's neighborhood has several LDS (about a fourth) and on halloween, the entire neighborhood pools together for a block party in the afternoon. This one annual event has brought a great closeness between all the neighbors, that lasts on all the days between. Bishop has a little train ride that can take a dozen or so little ones for a quick ride through the neighborhood. The celebration has been going on since the neighborhood was built - and this is the first sabbath halloween since the tradition began. If all the LDS neighbors pulled out, the neighbor relations with those could become strained. it's a tricky one! I don't know yet what my bishop will do - but our family has decided to go to the ward trunk or treat, then bring our fire pit and jack-o-lanters to the driveway and pass out candy - letting the kids take part in that, and visiting our neighbors as they come around - but we probably won't take them around.

trish said...

05:30 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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Whether or not Halloween is celebrated on Sunday or Saturday should be up to each individual family with no scolding or judgment implied. Our family avoided or modified those heavily commercially motivated celebrations when they fell on Sunday. That included Christmas (the Santa Claus part of Christmas) and Easter (the Easter Bunny part of Easter). Halloween is no different. We preferred to observe traditions and make fun holiday time for the Saturday before. We still had a blast, but the bonus for us as parents was enjoying the Sabbath spirit and Sunday services with our children, instead of fighting with the distractions caused by candy, or toys left at home (even sometimes sneaked into the church bag). Plus, we were able to observe Sunday worship without the over-stimulation caused by home holiday celebrations before we arrived at church. Knowing something of the ancient history of these celebrations is helpful, since the big three (Halloween, Christmas/Santa Claus, & Easter Bunny) all have their roots in pagan worship. We discovered it was easy to leave them behind, or celebrate them on another day, or in another way. This Halloween we’ll be hosting dinner for a new convert family and the missionaries. Our emphasis will not be on pumpkins or ghouls, but on building friendships, lots of good food, and plenty of visiting.

treblemaker said...

06:52 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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In response to and18: I am also a Halloween Scrooge. It is also my birthday and I hate it, and always have. My grown children grew up without trick or treat. I was a convert in my 30's and even before I joined the Church, I never took them trick or treat. In my opinion, they didn't miss much. Most of the people I would talk to about it would say that they threw away half of goodies their children got. Or else they (the parents) took the stuff into their office to get rid of it. So what is the point? When my children were old enough to have a say-so in the matter, they did go to trunk-or-treat a couple of times, but not with me. I used to take the day off from work, whichever day the school would have their silly costume parade, because I had not purchased costumes for my family. We would go and do something fun together. I didn't care if people mistook us for Jehovah's Witnesses. At least, they left us alone. I do love the old monster movies, but not the ones about Halloween.

capri said...

07:13 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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In our home we have 2 older children(19 &23), both of whom still love to have fun on Halloween (who doesn't). We discussed the fact that Halloween was on a Sunday and how they felt about it. They both expressed a desire to have their halloween fun Saturday night at YA dances etc. However when it comes to passing out candy to the little ones, it was a much harder choice to make. When it came down to it, we all decided that although Halloween is a fun holiday it is not in keeping with our standards for the Lord's day. We just couldn't see anything about it that was part of worshiping the Lord, so our decision is to not pass out candy either. (I have 2 Costco sized bags of candy that will go into the freezer, ha). I think that when moral choices like these come into our lives and there seems like there could be 2 good choices in front of us, we have looked to the writings of the authorities to help us. Time after time we have turned to the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet, (or "For the Strength of You", or "For the Strength of Families" as we like to call it)it seems to cover a great deal of common sense, easy to understand commandments that we can draw on when facing dilemma's like this one. Heres what the First Presidency have to say about the observance of the Sabbath Day, for those who are wondering where to go for some help when deciding "to treat or not to treat". It states "The Lord has given the Sabbath day for your benefit and has commanded you to keep it Holy. Observing the Sabbath will bring you closer to the Lord and to your family. It will give you needed rest and rejuvenation. Many uplifting activities are appropriate for the Sabbath. Worship the Lord, attend church, spend quiet time with your family, study the gospel, write letters, write in your journal, do family history work, and visit the sick and the homebound. Your dress before, during, and after church meetings should show respect for the Sabbath. When seeking a job, share with your potential employer your desire to attend your Sunday meetings and keep the Sabbath Day Holy. Many employers value employees with these personal convictions. Whenever possible, choose a job that does not require that you work on Sundays. Sunday is not a holiday or a day for recreation or athletic events. Do not seek entertainment or spend money on this day. Let your friends know what your standards are so they will not try to persuade you to participate in activities that are not appropriate for the Sabbath. D&C 59:9-13 and Exodus 20:8 are included references. I hope this helps your family as well.

smilesx6 said...

11:35 PM
on Oct 23, 2010

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I believe it was six years ago that Halloween fell on the Sabbath too. My husband and I threw a big Halloween party the Saturday night before. We are doing the same this year, except we are holding it Friday, Oct. 29, because our new ward has a trunk or treat scheduled for Saturday evening. This will be plenty of fun for the weekend, and will certainly "makeup" for not trick or treating on Sunday. Also, I think it is perfectly fine to hand out candy on Sunday. I think it is being neighborly to give precious children candy when they come to your door asking for it. Maybe slip a spiritual message in with the candy. It will not detract from the spirit of the Sabbath. We intend to open the door with smiles and generosity to greet all our neighbors! It is possibly the best time to meet and friendship with them!

mamasmith said...

03:34 AM
on Oct 24, 2010

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Something we did the last time this happened and I plan to do again this year (just cause it's fun)is I picked up Halloween treats for the month or 2 before Halloween. Every week I'd buy a bag of candy or a box of potato chips what ever they would have gotten on their treat night. Then we had some discussions on keeping the sabbath day holy etc but the decision was their's to make,a difficult one maybe but their's anyway. They all decided not to go that Sunday all day we talked abut the choice they made etc and a few times I put in the conversation we blessed for making good decisions. At the end of the day we had scripture study and read the scriptures that talk about that. Then I brought out the BIG orange and black rubber-maid box full of hallowen treats. They were so shocked and amazed it was priceless! They lovingly and jokingly call it the "box of moderation" to this day. I made sure some favorites things were in there and some of their favorite healthy things too. They are all older now (the baby is 16) but I'm going to do it again for old time sake and I like fun, memories and magic. that's my idea/enjoy the day what ever your choice

karen said...

08:13 AM
on Oct 24, 2010

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I think Char has a valid point. I realize this is an area where many of us draw the line in different places. But after reading some of the suggestions in the article I am wondering what the overriding purpose of these suggestsions are - to observe the Sabbath and keep the Sabbath Day holy or to 'celebrate Halloween' while at the same time not trying to break the Sabbath. I think that there is a big difference between the two and a very difficult thing to reconcile (and no simple clear-cut black and white reply exists). I think that was the real point in Char's comment which also leaves me to think earlier replies ie Jess27 fail to address that point.

deanna said...

09:23 AM
on Oct 24, 2010

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Doesn't matter what the day is the Sabbath is the same. We keep it by going to church. When we go to church we leave the world behind and dress in our best to keep our reverence. After church we keep that going. A good rule of thumb if we do watch anything is ,could we watch this in Primary? Can we do this activity dressed in our Sunday best? If the Savior stood beside me would I do the things I do simple Primary song but apparently still needed to follow.We are here to have Joy so we can still be happy on the Sabbath without being in the world.As for getting to know your neighbours it is pretty sad if you rely on a holiday. Go and meet them anytime take them cookies invite them to missionary firesides.

tamra said...

07:50 PM
on Oct 24, 2010

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I also have thought a lot about this, but my main concern is not about how to celebrate Halloween, but about how and what to teach my children.

teachtruthlight said...

12:34 AM
on Oct 25, 2010

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We use the "Philippians" test (Phil 4:8) on things like movies, activities, books, TV, music, and even holidays. It says, "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." If it doesn't pass the Philippians test, we avoid it. This eliminates some things that are popular, but it's sure helped keep our family unspotted from the world. Here's something else to consider too--If we are not sure how to celebrate a holiday while honoring the Sabbath, then something is wrong. Holidays are really holy-days, and should be consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you have to try to make them holy, then they probably aren't to begin with. Also, our Heavenly Father is not a God of confusion. His principles unite on the basis of truth. If we find ourselves divided on the matter, then the Spirit is not in it. His principles unite, not divide. When we are moved upon by the Spirit, we will know what to do in any given circumstance, and only then, as we follow the Spirit, will we become of the same mind on the matter and of the same judgment. See the heading in 1 Corinthians chapter 1...."True Saints are perfectly united in the same mind and in the same judgment"

ruth said...

01:41 AM
on Oct 25, 2010

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The week of one Sunday Halloween we did the Trunk or Treat thing and whatever parties were happening during the week. We decorated a couple of pumpkins and set little black nametags against them: Sister Squash and Elder Pumpkin, I think. They had a little missionary flipchart. On Halloween the candy bowl sat in front of them near the front door. The bowl was full of Smarties with little papers wrapped and taped around them. The little papers had scriptures written on them. My kids stayed in their Sunday clothes and had a ball answering the door to give the candy out. If someone came to the door that we knew, we visited a little and showed off our "missionaries". It was a fun evening, but still felt special, sort of like inside-out missionary tracting. I actually felt the Spirit in our home and conversations. I remember that Halloween more than any other we have celebrated.

suzka said...

08:22 AM
on Oct 25, 2010

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I saw Char's comment right after she left it, and I understand her viewpoint in questioning, for example, how watching a movie is necessarily more in keeping with the Sabbath than trick-or-treating. I appreciate those subsequent commenters who respectfully shared their thoughts and insights. We go trick-or-treating every year, but we've decided as a family that we aren't going out this year. (Our children are 9, 7, and 3.) Our reasons: 1) Even though we can construe reasons that trick-or-treating is okay (and I don't think it would be horrible if we went, and I won't throw rocks at those who choose to go), we all felt - to varying degrees - a hesitation that it's the not BEST way to spend our evening. This is a smaller "problem" for the kids to sort out, but I recognize that this is an opportunity for them to practice making good choices for future decisions with greater ramifications. This family decision feels far more valuable than one made by and simply handed down from us as parents. Had the children felt strongly about going, we would be - but we'd have a conversation afterwards about whether they felt it was the best decision (and I'd be making mental notes throughout the day or things to bring up in that conversation!) I kinda stink at the daily reading of scriptures with my family, but I feel pretty good about how we've developed a habit of family prayer and talking about and identifying whether we feel the Spirit. 2) Also, our family (even my husband, who is not a member of the Church, but supportive of our activity and usually attends Sacrament meeting) has a consistent policy about not committing to the many invitations to attend birthday parties, library programs, community committee meetings, sporting events, etc., held on Sunday. We live in New England, and scheduling things on Sundays is *VERY* common. We bring a little humor in while explaining to our friends and neighbors that "we stick with that old-fashioned Sabbath being holy idea", to avoid coming off as smug or judgmental, and then explain further that having one day dedicated to restoring and centering ourselves to our family priorities really makes a difference in our lives. We want to stay true to that. Quite a few of those with whom I've had those conversations have later commented that they've adopted, at least in part, a more thoughtful way to view Sundays. This resonates even for some who have entirely secular lives. I have come to believe that this restorative part of Sunday is a big chunk of the divine wisdom in setting apart a Sabbath for us in the first place. The decision to go trick-or-treating, or not to go, has to be personally and thoughtfully made (versus following peer pressure either way) in order for it to be meaningful. Make your decision mean something to you.

cheillie said...

02:34 PM
on Oct 25, 2010

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I live in Alaska, and the Young Men and Women are in charge of the "Fall Festival" every year. We usually start out with Trunk or Treat, where several of us decorate the trunks of our cars, then we head inside for games. This way, we have celebrated Halloween on Tuesday, so if the weather is too bad to go out, or it falls on a Sunday, the kids still got to have a party. This year we are having a ward Chili cook-off on Friday for our monthly pot luck then our Fall Festival afterward.

jennifer said...

09:45 PM
on Oct 25, 2010

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We're taking our children trick or treating on Halloween this year. If trick or treating was during church, then we of course would not go. I'm a convert to the church, 7 years ago, and all of my family and close friends are not members of the church. We go trick or treating together every year, for an hour or two, visiting other family/friends. It's our tradition. If Christmas fell on a Sunday, I'm sure we would still celebrate in our usual family traditions. I've heard that in largely LDS dominated areas, that the LDS members tend to group up together and leave the rest of the neighbors out of the picture. I think it's great that some of you like to get together and have trick or treating on Saturday, but I would hope that you involve and invite the rest of the non-LDS neighborhood so that the other parents and children do not get left out. We for sure are not taught to be seclusive. The reason that we do not have doctrine telling us what to do in this trick or treating situation, is because there is no universal right or wrong. We have to make those choices for our own families, and respect the choices that others make. Remember, we're all brothers and sisters, and not just inside the church.

rays said...

11:15 AM
on Oct 26, 2010

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What about going trick or treating and giving candy away instead of taking it? I think the kids would have a great time doing that and would give you an opportunity to visit with the neighbors.

renetta said...

11:55 PM
on Oct 26, 2010

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Long before it was such a commercialized occasion I loved and decorated for Halloween more than most. Of course from the time they could help my little ones were also involved... I clearly remember the first year I had children and Halloween fell on Sunday. I was not raised in the church, but I knew what the Prophet had said about keeping the Sabbath day Holy and it seemed to me Halloween, even as much as I loved it, was the least Holy day there was. I had heard the saying "when the Prophet speaks, the debate is over...." For me the debate was over. We simply did not go out on Sunday. And celebrated on Sat. This was long before Trunk or Treat and we live in Oregon where everyone else went out on Sunday. My children are grown now. Do you think their lives are somehow less because maybe in all those years of going they could not go one time...at the most twice with a 7 year span in between. No! Kids grow up fast. I promise they will not remember those times they did not go and therefore were somehow cheated...more importantly they will remember righteous parents who set an example. Feeling your children would somehow miss out is a parents perception. When my children were young...it was not even a question. I am grateful that most of you think that way.

ncth said...

07:22 AM
on Oct 27, 2010

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Halloween (no matter what day of the week it falls on) offers a great opportunity to hold a family discussion about the reality of ghosts. I once asked a group of Primary children if they believed in ghosts. Many of them said no, so I asked them to repeat the first Article of Faith. We then talked about the fact that yes, Latter-day Saints do believe in ghosts, most of which aren't "spooky" at all. The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead who loves and helps us. Moreover, each of us is actually a "ghost" living in a physical body. With older children, you can discuss the idea that there are, in fact, more sinister ghosts around us: the spirits who were cast down to earth along with Satan after they rejected Heavenly Father's plan. These are the ones we need to scare away, by keeping God's commandments and making good choices. This year, use Halloween to help your kids understand true doctrine!

denece said...

12:34 PM
on Oct 27, 2010

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Last time Halloween fell on Sunday our family had a great spiritual evening. We thought it was a great way to meet the other California neighbors and to share the gospel. We decided to go trick or treating in our own neighborhood and that we would place 3 Books of Mormon while we were out. Before we went out we all prayed to know which houses would be the best ones. As the kids came up to each house we asked what their feelings were about that house. The first 2 books everyone agreed on the same houses. We all had great feelings about giving them the book when the children went to the door ( yes, one of the boys was dressed as a missionary). We stood right behind them in case there was a problem. The last book none of us felt anything about. So we put it in someone’s mailbox. The family had written testimonies inside the books. We should have sent the missionaries to follow up with our placements but I wasn't that smart at the time. It was a terrific lesson for the kids to learn about feeling the Holy Ghost prompt them.

denece said...

12:52 PM
on Oct 27, 2010

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Last time Halloween fell on Sunday our family had a great spiritual evening. We thought it was a great way to meet the other California neighbors and to share the gospel. We decided to go trick or treating in our own neighborhood and that we would place 3 Books of Mormon while we were out. Before we went out we all prayed to know which houses would be the best ones. As the kids came up to each house we asked what their feelings were about that house. The first 2 books everyone agreed on the same houses. We all had great feelings about giving them the book when the children went to the door ( yes, one of the boys was dressed as a missionary). We stood right behind them in case there was a problem. The last book none of us felt anything about. So we put it in someone’s mailbox. The family had written testimonies inside the books. We should have sent the missionaries to follow up with our placements but I wasn't that smart at the time. It was a terrific lesson for the kids to learn about feeling the Holy Ghost prompt them.

renetta said...

02:20 PM
on Oct 27, 2010

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denece, I love your comments....what a great lesson to teach your children....

renetta said...

02:22 PM
on Oct 27, 2010

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Ncth....you also had such insight....As an older mother I have learned that in these moments if you teach your children something that has to do with sacrifice and the Gospel...You prepare them for their lives as members of the Church.

kenslew said...

01:04 PM
on Oct 28, 2010

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How refreshing it is to read all these comments! I love to see people of our faith openly sharing their opinions and being willing to accept different viewpoints without being judgmental. Though very important parts of our faith are publicly expressed in similar ways (temple worship, Sunday meetings), I think a very important part of expression happens on a personal, individual level, and will differ from person to person.

doogfuss said...

02:49 PM
on Oct 28, 2010

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same way we celebrate the last day of all the other months -- Home Teaching!

suzka said...

07:07 PM
on Oct 28, 2010

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Doogfuss is funny.

doogfuss said...

08:49 AM
on Oct 29, 2010

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suzka - thanks for the kind word! (I will actually be giving and receiving home teaching on this most hallowed of days....LOL)

stephengold said...

06:15 PM
on Oct 31, 2010

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How about Heavenly Trick or Treat also known as visiting your neighbors on Halloween Go to people's homes and say, "this is a Heavenly Trick or Treat" I cna perform a trick for you (I would sing a song since my dad was a songwriter) ror tell a story, juggle, do a cartwheel, martial arts, etc. or I bring treats such as apples, grapes, raisins, granola bars and candy bars. Which would you like. They can have both. This teaches children and adults to share their talents and their things with others. Malcolm Gladwell wrote in The Tippibng PoinT":, that small changes can bring about dramatic results. Let us reclaim Halloween for God's side. This neighborly giving can take place every day. On Halloween, most people have their doors opened to others. Have a Blessed day, every day. Stephen

leadunne said...

07:08 PM
on Oct 26, 2011

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Although Halloween does not fall on a Sunday this year, I really appreciate your insight. As a child, I always dreaded Sunday Halloween because we always just went to bed early, locked the doors and turned out the lights while all my friends were out having a great time. When my daughter was a little girl and Halloween fell on a Sunday, I looked for other community events that happened on days other than Sunday and we handed out candy to a few neighborhood friends on Halloween. Now that I have a little granddaughter, I am thankful to have the internet where we can share such great ideas for LDS families.
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