Friday, November 12, 2010

Trick-or-Treat on Sunday?

Inevitably, at least here, the whole topic of whether or not it's appropriate to trick-or-treat on Sunday comes up, but especially in years like this where Halloween actually fell on Sunday.  Like other Christians, Latter-day Saints consider Sunday the Sabbath day and typically avoid doing anything that is considered recreation or work.  That's not to say Latter-day Saints don't do anything on Sunday, but most will try to get Sundays off from work and avoid doing things like going out to dinner, shopping, playing sports, going to sporting events, going to the park, etc.  Generally, Latter-day Saints look at Sunday as a "day of rest" where we shouldn't be working, but also shouldn't be doing things that make others work (hence not going shopping, going out to dinner, etc.).  We're also very aware of the scripture that Jesus Christ himself spoke that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath," (Mark 2:27) meaning that the Sabbath day is for our benefit. 

I could do an entire post about the Sabbath, but the purpose of my post here is whether or not trick-or-treating is appropriate on Sunday.  From a purely anecdotal sampling, I'd say most Latter-day Saints consider trick-or-treating inappropriate on Sunday.  Why?  I'm guessing they likely place it into the category of recreation.  Growing up, my mom definitely considered trick-or-treating an inappropriate activity on Sunday, but now doesn't feel that way at all.  In Kent, trick-or-treating is almost always done the Sunday afternoon before Halloween, though sometimes it is on Saturday.  This year pretty much all local communities had trick-or-treating on Sunday afternoon (since Halloween was on Sunday this year) with a few having it Saturday evening. 

In all honesty, I don't have a problem with trick-or-treating on Sunday.  That said, if people don't feel like it's appropriate for Sunday, it is their right to not have their children participate or go to a nearby community that has trick-or-treating on another day.  My problem comes when Latter-day Saints who feel it is inappropriate act like everyone feels that way or that there has been some sort of official church pronouncement that trick-or-treating violates the Sabbath and thus they are more righteous for either going somewhere else or refraining completely.  Remember, the Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around.   While there are some very black-and-white instances that are definitely nor appropriate for the Sabbath, there are many that are very much open to personal interpretation.  And in the end, since the Sabbath is for us, we are ultimately responsible for how we choose to honor it. 

One thing we are encouraged to do on the Sabbath is spend time with our families.  If you take your kids trick-or-treating on Sunday, how is that not spending time with them or not as good as spending time at home?  Is it inappropriate because there is walking or dressing up?  What about people who walk to church (which happens a lot in Utah!!)?  And how is dressing up not appropriate for the Sabbath? Basically, I'm not seeing how trick-or-treating is a blatant violation of the Sabbath when you really look at what you're doing.  You're certainly not "working" and while I think most Latter-day Saints probably consider it "unnecessary recreation" it could just as easily be considered quality family time.  There is no prohibition of fun in the Sabbath either.  

In closing, this is another case of that the world isn't in black and white, but it also isn't in shade of gray; it's in living color.  The more light we have, the more obvious the colors come and the easier it is to discern the different shades of color.  It is also a case of critically analyzing our beliefs and reasons and not just "going along with what everyone else is doing" but actually evaluating why YOU are doing or believe certain things.  There's a reason we were all given our own brain and agency to use them; it isn't to create a bunch of mindless drones!


H said...

still trick or treating? hehe

BriAnne said...

Kyle and I were talking about this very thing right before Halloween! We never came to a conclusion about it actually, but we were equally disgusted with the "masses" acting like it was sinful to even consider it. Good post (although it would have been nice if you'd come to a conclusion for me because being a mindless drone seems enticing....ha ha).:)

Jon said...

Well, BriAnne, my conclusion is summed up in the first sentence of the third paragraph: I don't have a problem with it. It's not even that I prefer it to be another day but will go along with Sunday here in the "sinful gentile world" (aka outside Utah) I live in. I don't think it violates the Sabbath in any of the ways we view keeping the Sabbath day holy and I think the general disdain for it in the church is largely misguided.