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The devil’s birthday

A few years ago, a woman at our church told Ryley that it was bad to celebrate Halloween because it is the devil’s birthday.


1. It is not the devil’s birthday.
2. It is not the devil’s birthday.
3. It is not the devil’s birthday.

We strongly assured him our family wouldn’t celebrate such a thing, and Halloween was not an evil day. I was furious that an adult would tell a lie like that to a little boy, especially at church. I really don’t care if she doesn’t observe Halloween, but she had no right to stomp all over one of our wholesome family traditions.

It is true that in recent years, Halloween has been highjacked by adults as an excuse to dress like prostitutes and party like it’s A.D. 59 in Rome. Images of death and horror are replacing good clean apple-bobbing fun. Why?


I think when families give up on Halloween, we shouldn’t be surprised to see something ugly fill the void. When most of us were kids, we still roamed our neighborhoods on October 31st. Huge packs of flashlight-waving kids went door-to-door together. Neighbors actually saw each other, thanked each other, and marveled at all the Bionic Women and Six Million Dollar Men there were that year. We returned home exhausted. After dumping our sugary loot on the dining room table, we got to pick one piece to eat before bed. What a night!

Now? Not.

It’s malls, church basements, school gyms. It’s still community, but the adventure, the darkness, the walking in the snap of October night, the thrill, the approach to the house, the ringing of the bell, the anticipation, the opening, the neighbor smiling, the bowl, the unison of Trick-or-Treat, the little ones following with small shouts a second or two behind, the laughter, the thank you, the walking back down the steps, the admiration of the jack-o-lanterns, the comparisons, the decisions regarding left or right, north or south, the tired walk back home, the inspection, the trades, the falling into bed, the costumes in a heap on the floor, the talk of next year, I’m gonna be a cowboy.

All that? Gone, in the name of being safe from a threat which really isn’t there. Unless you let it move in.

Not on our street. We are taking Halloween back.

20 comments to The devil’s birthday

  • amy

    I didn’t realize Halloween was being moved to church basements. We still celebrate it ouside and we live in dangerous Oakland. The kids have a neighborhood parade before dusk, then trick or treat around the block after dinner. I love that we live in a neighborhood with so many kids and so much excitement around Halloween. At 8pm we turn off our porch light because around that time the little kids are all home and teenagers (and sometimes parents requesting treats) are roaming, and well, we like to keep out treating local.

  • The neighborhood we moved from in Oregon was FABULOUS on Halloween! A chance to see friends, let the kids run, listen to eeks and ahhs and tons of giggles. I loved it there! Our new neighborhood in Texas? Let’s just say I’m not going to take the risk – we’ll be attending our church’s Halloween Carnival and Trunk or Treat this year.

    Stacey @ Happy Are We’s last blog post..Me=1; Big Bad Mood=0

  • Shayne

    Hmmmm, in my part of Texas we do still trick or treat on our (long) street. Sometimes, we then go to my friend’s house and cover her neighborhood with her kiddos as well. Our church has a trunk or treat, but we skip it in favor of the more traditional approach.

    Halloween was never one of my favorite holidays. It’s my parents’ anniversary and, as an only child in a close-knit family, that usually meant I was celebrating with them rather than trick-or-treating (I think I got to go TorT once or twice). So I think I yearn for my kids to have the childhood experience you describe specifically because I didn’t.

  • You go girl! It is really sad isn’t! I know alot of Christians who frown at us for celebrating or allowing our kids to Trick or Treat! I say its all in the name of candy! Oh and fun!
    We will be having a halloween party this year not a fall festival a real halloween party with bobbing for apples and pumpkin carving…

    Happy Mommy’s last blog post..Sincerely Fro Me To You ~ For the love of hats part 2

  • It’s not the devil’s birthday?

    I’m kidding.

    I really appreciate this post because while I like having “Halloween alternatives” and we go ahead and participate in them, I cringe a little when they fall on the same night as trick or treat. I like trick or treat because sadly, it’s one of the very few chances we get to interact with our neighbors. I don’t want all the kids in our neighborhood to come to a dark, vacant home when they come to our house that night.

    Heth’s last blog post..I Need Some Serious Proof Reading Help

  • What a refreshing post! I have such fun memories of Halloween. For instance, the year my Dad put a Jack-o-lantern in the flower box, rigged a speaker inside it’s hollowed out center and made the neighborhood kids jump nearly jump right out of their cute costumes when he made the pumpkin talk!

    Linda’s last blog post..One Thousand Gifts

  • Because I didn’t grow up in a neighborhood, I always felt a little robbed of the traditional trick-or-treating fun, although we did still dress up and go get treats at the nearby mall.
    Fortunately, Sydney has been able to get in on the neighborhood fun the last couple years, and this year we’ll go back to our old neighborhood to visit our friends and take their candy. It will be sweet, on every level 🙂

    Stephanie’s last blog post..Blue

  • This is the first year we’ve lived in a neighborhood for Halloween. I can’t wait.

    Plus, you make a good point about the retreat of Christians from this secular holiday. When we turn off our lights and head to the church for the “Harvest Festival” October 31, we miss a key opportunity to interact with our neighbors. What a shame.

    Kelly @ Love Well’s last blog post..WFMW: New Recipes

  • amen. we do both, actually. Our church does a trunk or treat on the Sun prior to Halloween. It’s a BLAST for all of us! Then we do the strip-mall candy hung b/c it’s early and fun. Finally, we do the traditional trick-or-treat in our neighborhood b/c we can. we know everyone and it’s safe. scary what kind of world we live in beyond what we know these days, huh?

    Daneen’s last blog post..sleeping angels

  • Over in England we don’t really celebrate Halloween in quite the way you do, and maybe that’s a shame. There are a few parties and a little bit of trick or treating, but it’s nowhere near on the level that you do it across the Pond. I know a few friends who refuse to celebrate it because of something to do with the devil, although what it is exactly I’m not so sure; you’ve inspired me to do bit of research! LIM 🙂

  • Oh, you are awesome. I do request you post pics of of the Lifenut family in costume! This year I will have three Star Wars characters and a little pink bear.


    Adventures In Babywearing’s last blog post..In The Meantime

  • Tonyia

    I understand completely! I grew up walking the neighborhoods trick-or-treating and attending the occasional haunted house. I do not worship the devil or “celebrate evil”. I DO however, love candy, lol. And I love (yes, even at thirty) playing dress up, making kids laugh and getting together with friends and family. My family (hubs and daughter) and my in-laws are having our third annual “spookfest” the saturday before Halloween. We have it at our house on the outskirts of town. We started off a few years ago having a small party for our own kids. Last year we have about 75 people show up. This year we expect more (although I am a little worried about it, financially). We have games, a huanted hay ride, food and candy. We don’t bob for apples but we DO hang apples on a clothesline and do the same basic thing. We ALL have a blast. And then, just as importantly, we all get together on halloween itself, decorate the house in town and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, then some of us take our own kids across the block to the fire station to their haunted station (donating money to them). Of course, I am lucky enough to live in a town of about 1500 people. I think it makes it a little easier to do things like that really. But, we LOVE Halloween. AND, we love the Lord Jesus.

  • Hi there!
    I just came across your blog! I can’t wait to look around more.

    It’s sad that this lady was so misinformed about it being satan’s birthday. Sounds like your church would greatly benefit from a study of the history of halloween.

    Our church has a fall festival every year on that night. No one, and I mean NO ONE, around her goes trick-or-treating anymore. Too many creepy people in the world. I surely don’t trust total strangers giving my children candy. The thought gives me shivers.

    May the Lord give wisdom to your family in this matter!

    Mrs. U

    Mrs. U’s last blog post..The Garden of Eden…

  • edj

    I loved being in the US last year and taking my kids trick-or-treating. We had a blast and I viewed my neighbourhood differently after that. (We had just moved in) You’re right–it’s a great chance to get to know others around us in a fun friendly way.

    Devil’s birthday? There are so many wrong theological implications there that I don’t even know where to begin!

    edj’s last blog post..September Rain

  • I feel like smacking my head on the desk when I hear things like that.
    We plot out our route pre-Halloween for maximum candy volume. Our costumes are all made by my husband. We hang up construction paper bats and pumpkins. There is no birthday cake for Satan involved in ANY WAY.
    Some people are just…. sheesh.

    Beck’s last blog post..Dear Friends and Family – A Letter.

  • Great post! So very true. We took our kids out in the neighborhood last year as well as to trunk-or-treat at church. The church event was fun, but it really can’t compete.

    Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart’s last blog post..Eight Months

  • Oh, my kids adore Halloween! The thought of doing it at a mall or something has never occurred to me… Last year, we froze our butts off but they begged to do just “one more house” until their buckets were too heavy to carry…

    tracey’s last blog post..Slam Bam

  • We were just trying to explain to our 4 year old why we don’t decorate with ghosts and goblins. I loved Halloween as a kid, every year I was Mary Poppins or a princess in an old bridesmaid dress. It always seemed to rain…

    Kristin’s last blog post..Dear Mr. Weather Man,

  • I feel sad that people won’t have the Paradise Hills experience anymore. Man, that was OFF THE HOOK!

    Scott’s last blog post..Tweets for 2008-10-07

  • Perhaps she was confusing Satan with Samhain. Although, I’m not sure Oct 31 is his birthday either.

    We don’t celebrate Halloween (or many other Holidays), but we do a little bit of decorating or crafts for Fall, especially around Thanksgiving.

    James A Woods’s last blog post..Article ?Robot Dreams? Wins Editor’s Choice Award

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