Amish Principles for Today's Families
10/30/12 at 09:20 PM 5 Comments

Plain Talk about the Amish: How Do They Celebrate Halloween?

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(C) Bill Coleman/

"Lamps don’t talk, they shine." Amish proverb

How do the Amish celebrate Halloween? they celebrate Halloween at all? And if not, are they wagging their fingers at those of us who do enjoy dressing up to trick-or-treat?

The answer might surprise you. The following is an excerpt from Life with Lily, a children's chapter book that I co-wrote with Mary Ann Kinsinger, blogger of A Joyful Chaos. Mary Ann was raised Old Order Amish. The 'Adventure of Lily Lapp' series is a fictionalized version of her happy childhood...including a taste of Halloween. Enjoy!

By the time Mama tied Jim to a tree, Trisha was already at the buggy. “Mrs. Lapp, can I show our pumpkins to Lily?” Trisha asked.

Lily had been wondering what Trisha had made with the pumpkins her father had bought at the pumpkin patch. Mama gave Lily permission and she ran with Trisha to the house. As Lily neared the front porch, she stopped abruptly. The two beautiful pumpkins they had picked at the pumpkin patch were ugly and scary. Someone had cut a big ugly mouth with jagged crooked teeth and triangle-shaped eyes into them. One had a big grin, but it still like an ugly jeer to Lily. The other one was worse—a big glaring frown on it. It reminded her of Teacher Katie’s scowls.

(C) Bill Coleman/

Trisha was so happy and excited about these ugly pumpkins. She looked at Lily and her smile faded. “Don’t you like them?”

Lily wasn’t sure how to answer. She didn’t want to hurt Trisha’s feelings, but these pumpkins were hideous. Awful! Why would anybody do such a thing to a nice pumpkin? She stood quietly looking at them. “Weren’t they hard to cut?” It didn’t look easy when Mama was cutting the pumpkins into chunks.

“Daddy likes carving pumpkins,” Trisha said. She seemed disappointed by Lily’s lack of enthusiasm.

Lily heard Mama call her name, so she turned to go back to the buggy. Trisha followed behind to stroke Jim’s nose, but Trisha’s parents had their arms filled with baked goods and were ready to go back inside. Trisha was only able to give Jim a quick pat.

Lily told Mama about those ugly pumpkins as they drove down the street to another neighborhood. “Why would Trisha’s papa cut scary faces into their pumpkins and then set them on their porch for everyone to see?”

(C) Bill Coleman/

“They’re called jack-o-lanterns,” Mama said. “A lot of people like to carve pumpkins for Halloween. The children dress up in costumes and go from door to door, saying ‘trick or treat,’ and collect candy from their neighbors. The Amish don’t celebrate Halloween.”

“Why not?” Lily thought Halloween sounded like fun. She liked dressing up and she loved candy.

“We want to glorify God in everything we do and we don’t feel celebrating Halloween does that. But ‘English’ people weren’t raised the same way. They think it’s only a fun tradition. What is okay for them would be wrong for us, but we must never think it is wrong for them.”

Lily thought about Halloween and Trisha’s pumpkins for the rest of the morning. She was glad they didn’t have those scary-looking pumpkins on their porch. She didn’t like those pumpkins. But she did like candy. Collecting candy from neighbors would be very nice.

Candy, Lily thought, was always a good thing.

Reprinted from Life with Lily, with permission, from Revell Books. Visit Lily's website for downloadable coloring pages, recipes from Mama, games and puzzles, or ask Lily a question.

About Suzanne Woods Fisher: She is an author of bestselling fiction and
non-fiction books for Revell about the Old Order Amish. Learn more about Suzanne, her books, and her weekly radio show by stopping by Download the free app, Amish Wisdom, to receive a daily Amish proverb. A moment of peace and calm in a busy day.

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