As the ways of the world expand and become more complicated, things that should be sharp and clear become hazy, dull and nearly unobtrusive to some. Is the majority simply too weary to debate ancient cultural traditions that have since been commercially modernized?

One chilly night in Ithaca, New York my parents turned off most of the lights in our house and after eating a light supper of tomato soup (why do I remember these things?) we quietly retreated to the little room that was Dad’s office. Nothing drastic or important was going on. But I was 3 years old and slightly bewildered. The reason for our actions was simple: it was Halloween, trick-or-treaters were out and we had no candy in the house to give out to anyone. In attempts to avoid an awkward confrontation, we “hid”.

Halloween never interested me. I’ve never been one to get into dressing up, knocking on neighbors’ doors or eating candy. I’ve never been one to get intrigued by horror, no matter how silly. My parents told me that it wasn’t a good thing to celebrate because of its original and permeating affiliations with death and the devil, so I developed convictions against it and never devoted much mental energy to the issue.

A couple of years later, an approaching Halloween found me 5 years old and in Garmisch, Germany. My closest little German friend (well, she had a German accent and her mother was German, but her father was an American in the military), Elaine, shared my interest in horses. One day her mother brought me along on an outing to the library. As Elaine and I listened to her mother read aloud a happy-go-lucky picture book about children deciding what to be on Halloween, her mother light-heartedly asked us what we wanted to be on the occasion. “A horse!” said Elaine. At first I payed little attention, but after further imaginary thought about Elaine harmlessly skipping around playing horse, I said, “A unicorn!”. When I remembered that the topic we were discussing was actually regarding that forbidden day which Dad referred to as “Satan’s birthday”, I felt deeply humiliated.

A few years later, another approaching Halloween found me 8 years old and in West Point, New York. An outspoken little friend that attended public school (and was very proud to remind us of it) named Savannah loved playing with Rachel. Savannah, about the same age as Rachel, many times played nicely enough but talked a lot. Upon discovering that we didn’t celebrate Halloween, she began her inquisition. Her family never perceived it to be evil and participated in it fully. Why should we think any differently? She still wasn’t finished with the inquisition regarding our homeschooling, so she threw that one in there too a few times as the controversial day drew near.

I responded repeatedly with everything I could think of regarding my family’s convictions about Halloween and trick-or-treating. But she wasn’t silenced. She insisted that everybody does something on Halloween. If we didn’t celebrate it by trick-or-treating or decorating, then what did we do? “Nothing,” I said over and over again. She still wasn’t convinced. Out of final desperation, I said the most radical thing she had ever heard: “We hide from trick-or-treaters.”

That wasn’t entirely true, of course. It was a mere reference to the quiet evening in Ithaca and the errands and restaurant outings we frequently took on the 31st of October. Interestingly enough, Savannah was satisfied with that response. Days and weeks later, parents all over the military post were talking about the Reads’ mysterious habit of hiding from trick-or-treaters. When Savannah’s father asked my father about it, my parents were understandably a bit irritated and amused at my debating style.

A couple of years later, another approaching Halloween found me at the age of 10 and in Huntsville, Alabama. Our friends and acquaintances in Huntsville never interrogated me much at all, but they remained curious about our veto of the day which to them meant laughs and treats. “You know, it’s really nothing to celebrate,” they mentioned casually, “you just knock on somebody’s door and they hand you a bowl of candy.”

When I recited their statement to my mother, she replied, “That’s like when people that aren’t Christians say they’re not really celebrating anything when they celebrate Christmas. The fact is, they still are, they just don’t want to admit it.”



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Wednesday, October 31, 2007 – Interesting…

Posted by nancysnook

Nice post Amanda, I enjoyed reading it very much. I never cared much for Halloween either, what do people get out of scaring each other anyway. I posted earlier today if you want to go see…


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Thursday, November 1, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by moreofhim

I loved your story!!! So much of it reminds me of our family. We used to celebrate Halloween – I was one of those that thought it was a harmless holiday. However, once I was REALLY saved, I realized that it was not harmless and we stopped any kind of celebration. This includes the “harmless” harvest festivals they hold at some churches. You and your family were so right all along!!

God bless you ~ Julie

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Thursday, November 1, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by BlogBoy

Good post, I’m thinking I might still write something up about Halloween.

RYC: It is an great movie. I really enjoyed it. Something to do with it following Shakespeare? 😉

I’m going to have to write about that, maybe after I read the play. “If only God had not set his cannons on self slaughter!”


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Friday, November 2, 2007 – Halloween

Posted by Anonymous

That’s okay Amanda, we’re the “hide from trick-or treaters” kind-of family too. I love your posts.

Mrs. Kneuper

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Monday, November 5, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by DancingFeet

Hello from a fellow non-trick-or-treater! lol I actually did go trick-or-treating once when I was little, before my parents started realizing what Halloween was really about. I can’t say that I’ve ever hidden from trick-or-treaters, but we always debate every year about whether or not we would have anything to give one if they showed up on our doorstep. Thankfully, no one ever has, although one year we were camping on Halloween and we had to dig through the camper to find something to give one little boy. 🙂

Hope you’re having a good week!



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Thursday, November 8, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by Anonymous

An MP3 player? *is confused* how do you make a podcast with one of those?

I used my computer and a mic.


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Friday, November 9, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by BlogBoy

RYC: There are a ton of different formats. WAV, MP3, RAW, etc. The format I used is MP3, but that has nothing to do with a MP3 player.


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