Can you say extortion?
We have just completed our annual Trunk or Treat here at Rockford. I believe every child; along with teenagers and even a few adults came through town dressed in a variety of ways to make a statement regarding Halloween. All of them stopped along the way and gathered up treats from various members of our congregation.
Savannah and I manned the tailgate of the truck and gave zip lock bags of treats until we ran out. I believe we counted 96 pre-prepared bags and we where out by 7:00. Roughly estimated, the crowd that came through our parking lot was around 250. There were no tricks played, so I guess everyone had their fill of treats.
My daughter asked, “Did you Trick or Treat when you were young?” I replied, “Yes, sweetheart, I did.” “Did you have fun, daddy?” She asked, so I answered, honestly. “No, honey, not really, I did not have fun.”
This is the truth. I did not have fun. Every year, we were instructed to bring our candy home before eating any of it. Another year, we actually had our candy x-rayed at the hospital. I was do terrified, for several years I would not eat any of my candy.
Why, you ask? It was at this time that people had found pieces of glass, rat poison, and razor blades in the candy. Somebody thought this was funny, but my parents made be terrified of my candy. Added to this, the fun was zapped out of it for me, because of the continual reports of someone coming up missing during the Halloween activities, so we were paraded around in groups like cattle being pushed through the stall to be vaccinated. No, Halloween was not fun for me.
In recent years, Truck or Treat, Harvest Festivals, Hallelujah Nights, Judgment Houses and the likes have become the themes for many a churches to combat the door-to-door activities, as well as to keep kids off of the streets and place them in safe environments. I applaud these activities as they attempt to combine a worldly activity with the attempt to share the message of hope and life found in Jesus Christ.
I read on Facebook the reports of several activities which resulted in salvation experiences. Some talked about the vast number of people who registered for these events which gave the church a great opportunity to reach out to a new segment of people. Most of all, churches which hosted such events, gave people to the opportunity to see the church active outside the walls of the traditional church building and giving back to the community.
As for our Truck or Treat, it was a great event which combined public relations, not for just the church but the Sheriff’s Office, the Fire Department and the local medical clinic. Since our church has a large number of these individuals as members, the Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer put up a tent, gave away candy and chili and spent time with the children as they came through the parking lot. Our Sheriff dressed as Batman and his wife as Cat Woman and they greeted the kids, with a lot of laughs and good humor.
Across the highway, on our lot, the Fire Department set up a tent and brought out all of their apparatuses for display. The Fire Chief, the Town’s Mayor and several of the Volunteer Firs Fighters shared candy and enjoyed showing off the rigs.
Our local Nurse Practitioner, which runs the medical clinic, set up on the other end of our parking lot and shared a Treat no one had thought about. She and her husband gave away cups of boiled peanuts to everyone who stopped by her Truck. From what I heard this was a great addition to our Trunk or Treat. (I was not able to indulge since I am allergic to peanuts)
A friend asked, “Do you not let Savannah trick or treat?” My answer was, “No,” and was met with the customary follow-up question, “Really? Why not?”
I want to share with you my answer to his question, so all of us will know my reasoning. And I am going to go ahead and prepare for replies, so if you want to share your thoughts with me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be more than happy to hear your side as well, which most likely will not change my opinion or alter the way I think.
I do not allow my child to go door-to-door because I have taught her the importance of not accepting candy from strangers. Yes, we live in a small, peaceful town and we pretty much know everybody within the town limits, but this is still something I have made a big deal about.
I do not allow my child to go door-to-door because I believe that Halloween is a perversion of Biblical standards. It is a day created as an opportunity to worship the dead. It is a day that is believed when the mortals can communicate with the dead. My Bible is clear that the only one to worship, revere, and talk to is God, and He is not dead, but lives forever more.
I do not allow my child to trick or treat because I believe it is a form of extortion. A child goes to the door a person’s house, knocks or rings the door bell and says, “Trick or Treat.” What they are saying is, “If you do not give me a treat, then I am going to do a trick on you.” Can you say, “EXTORTION?” It is demanding something for nothing in return. It is going to someone and telling them they better pay up, or else. That is extortion.
I do not allow my child to dress up for Halloween. Talk about hypocrite; wow, that is it. Presenting yourself as something you are not; hiding behind a disguise to cause someone to give you something, without knowing who they are giving something too. That is the greatest example of hypocrisy I could think of.
I do not allow my child to participate in Halloween in this way, not because I want to force my beliefs and thoughts on someone else, but because this is how we believe is the best way to raise our child. Joshua said the phrase long, long ago, which we have appropriated as our verse for our lives: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Nest year, Trunk or Treat will be held at our church on Halloween night and we will make it bigger, bolder and better. I may get a dunking booth and put the Sheriff in it!
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