Reformation Day Discovery

Since I’ve had children, I go through the official “Halloween-Analysis” each October.

As a Christian family, why would we celebrate Halloween?

Is it bad to celebrate a holiday that has its roots in witchery and evil?

Or, is it good to show the world that God can redeem all things, even holidays, to use them for His glory?

If we do allow God to redeem the holiday, what ways can we use it to truly glorify Him? Is it more effective to go to a Harvest Festival, or pass out tracts ‘n treats from home? What would make God happy?

For us, the answers to these questions have been different every year. I am positive that we will continue to really think through this issue as time goes on.

This year, however, Halloween never even made it to our radar screen. Why? Because we found something MORE EXCITING to do on October 31st.

Reformation Boys!

Have you ever heard of Reformation Day? Until a year or two ago, I hadn’t. Although raised in a Christian tradition, I was never a part of denominations that celebrated this day (nor did the churches I grew up in focus much on Church history).

Discovering Reformation Day has given our family a wonderful excuse to PARTY! And the fact that it coincides with Halloween simply left no room for Halloween-analysis this year. Instead of feeling as if we needed a Halloween-alternative, we seemed to find a “real” reason to celebrate. (This year, we did still pass out tracts and candy to the ghouls and goblins that came to our door, I can’t think of any reason to pass up giving a real “treat” to someone who knocks on my door and asks for it. In fact, after learning all about getting God’s Word into people’s hands at our Reformation Day Party, my middle son gave a BIBLE to a trick-or-treater!!)

For more information on our celebration of Reformation Day (and LOTS of pictures!!), click over to our family’s home education blog(I like to keep more of our personal photos and life details over there — its a cyber scrapbook of sorts for me). I found it difficult to locate on-line resources for this type of party, so I do hope this is of help to someone out there in cyberspace πŸ™‚


7 thoughts on “Reformation Day Discovery

  1. We never celebrated the ‘church’ history because as a Baptist we consider our roots to predate the Reformation – unlike the majority of protestant churches.
    (Look up Anabaptists in wikipedia. )
    Actually Halloween is a ‘church’ holiday anyway.

    Nevertheless, I thought it was great fun on it’s own and not a ‘trickortreat’ wanna be as with most Halloween alternative things I’ve been to.

    It also gave me a lot to think about – maybe we need a new Reformation Day in America! Great job!

  2. Your post sounded familiar. Oh yes, like mine.
    Didn’t know this date in history either until a few years ago which also coincides with my debut into Calvinism.
    Glad to hear that others celebrated the day teaching their children about God’s providence in history.
    Your story is inspiring and so is the pictures of your boys.
    Just great!


  3. Our chruch has a Reformation Celebration every year. I liked the comment about it not being a ‘trickortreat wannabe” like most alternative celebrations – “harvest parties” – bah!
    I hadn’t known a thing about the Reformation till we joined this church 4 years ago. It is wonderful and my kids don’t even notice Halloween anymore.

  4. Deborah:

    I love the whole Reformation celebration idea. We stumbled upon it after our kids were too old participate, but we had a celebration at our church a few years ago, in which the only requirement was to dress up as a biblical character or one from church history. It was a wonderful evening!

  5. Reformation Day is excellent!

    Halloween is also (the first part of) a church calendar day.


    //Common commemorations by several churches of the death of martyrs began to be celebrated in the 4th century. The first trace of a general celebration is attested in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost. There is mention of a common day in a sermon of St. Ephrem the Syrian (373), and the custom is also referred to in the 74th homily of John Chrysostom (407); it is maintained to the present day in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

    The origin of the festival of All Saints as celebrated in the West dates to May 13 in 609 or 610 (the day being more important than the year), when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs; the feast of the dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since.//

    //The term Halloween, and its older spelling Hallowe’en, is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the evening of/before “All Hallows’ Day” (also known as “All Saints’ Day”). … In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine Calendar. Although we now consider All Saints (or Hallows) day to be on the day after Halloween, they were, at that time, considered to be the same day.//

    Mom said that there was none of this “trick or treat” candy gathering in her day. As a child during the 1930s, in rural Connecticut, they would visit a rural neighbor, farm, sit on the porch, and receive fruit (apples, oranges), and maybe nuts, to eat.

    Halloween in America is fairly recent.


    Halloween did not become a holiday in America until the 19th century, where lingering Puritan tradition meant even Christmas was scarcely observed before the 1800s. The transatlantic migration of nearly two million Irish following the Irish Potato Famine (1845–1849) brought the holiday and its customs to America. Scottish emigration from the British Isles, to the United States after 1870, brought that country’s own version of the holiday.

    When the holiday was observed in 19th-century America, it was generally in three ways.

    Scottish-American and Irish-American societies held dinners and balls that celebrated their heritages, with perhaps a recitation of Robert Burns’ poem “Halloween” or a telling of Irish legends, much as Columbus Day celebrations were more about Italian-American heritage than Columbus.

    Home parties would center around children’s activities, such as bobbing for apples and various divination games, particularly about future romance.

    And finally, pranks and mischief were common on Halloween.

    The commercialization of Halloween in America did not begin until the 20th century. Halloween postcards were most popular between 1905 and 1915, and featured hundreds of different designs. Dennison Manufacturing Company (published its first Hallowe’en catalog in 1909), and the Beistle Company were pioneers in commercially made Halloween decorations, particularly die-cut paper items. German manufacturers specialized in Halloween figurines that were exported to America in the period between the two world wars.

    There is little primary documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween in America, or elsewhere, before 1900. Mass-produced Halloween costumes did not appear in stores until the 1930s, and trick-or-treating became a fixture of the holiday in the 1950s, although commercially made masks were available earlier.

    In the United States, Halloween has become the sixth most profitable holiday (after Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentines Day, Easter, and Father’s Day) for retailers.

  6. I like what my in-laws do. Buy everyone a bag of their favorite candy, then go out for pizza and take in a movie. It’s much safer than trick-or-treating. No worrying about a razor blade in your candy.

    I’m going to read up on Reformation Day when I get some time.

    Tell me that you don’t pass out *cringe* Chick tracts… πŸ™‚

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