Every year when Halloween comes around it stirs me up a little. Every year when this holiday comes around I ask myself how do I approach this subject. Do I remain quiet, voice my opinion, give in, etc?
Let’s get some context and background from how I was raised and I how I maintain my life now. First of all I grew up in a Christian home, my Dad was in the ministry my whole life and I was raised not to give attention to Halloween at all. As a family we did not celebrate it, we treated October 31st as any other day on the calendar.
Throughout my life many season and phases have come and gone. Every Halloween has pretty much looked differently ever since I moved out of my parents house. In high school and part of college I enjoyed pranking and Halloween turned out to be a perfect trick day for pranking. I remember while at The Baptist College of Florida a few of us continued the tradition of staging a haunted abandoned house for freshman to give a nice scare. I would say that was as far as I would go to give attention to Halloween.
Throughout the years I have always pondered and asked myself if church Fall Festivals was just a copout to celebrate Halloween but slap a Christian label on it and call it okay. At times I think some churches indeed do use fall festivals to replace Halloween and help people feel justified or made not to feel as if they were missing out. Other reasons I have heard for fall festivals is for a safe place for kids during that day, used as an outreach event, or simply surface level indeed is a fall festival. With all that said, I guess you would have to look at the church’s heart and motives when hosting a fall festival.
For the majority of my life I was very religious (in the negative connotation of the comparison of a Biblical description of a Pharisee). I was judgemental and looked down on others who held differing views. Boy have I come a long way and it was not too long ago when I operated like in that mindset. Things started to change back in 2005 when I finally got “saved.” God and I finally got in relationship and my life would never be the same. Now were the changes overnight? Absolutely not. My life as a Christian in relationship with God has been a work-in-progress ever since that Sunday Night service at Ridgecrest Baptist Church.
Between the year 2005 and now I have experienced both sides of the denominational spectrum. Between the lines I have witnessed demonic deliverance, people set free from demonic oppression and other spiritual matters I was not aware of prior to the experiences. From that point my perception changed from ignorance to a fear of spiritual evils (fear as in respect). Beforehand I had preconceived notions about what demons, spiritual powers and principalities were like. Honestly, I had theatrical viewpoint of what demons and the enemy was like. Which, is not the case, every time. So now that I have a different respect for the spiritual powers, I have a different view about Halloween.
Back to the original question if Christians should celebrate Halloween or not? I can confidently say no, Christians should not celebrate Halloween. Now I can already hear the arguments of well…Halloween originally was from this and that, I am not bothered by, I am just in it for the candy, there is no harm in dressing up in characters, etc, etc. Before jumping to those conclusions hear me out (for a little bit longer).
As far as modern Halloween goes; when you hear the word “Halloween” what comes to mind first?
When I hear the word I think of scare or fear.
Before I go into my dissertation of my viewpoint about Christianity and Halloween I want to say a few things. First, I not in any shape or form judging anyone who celebrates Halloween. This post is from my perspective and experience with Halloween. I am also not going to beat around the bush to tickle people’s ear with a fluffy feel good article, but will discuss from a heart of being gentle, honor and respect. So are we good? If so (or not) let’s continue.
2 Timothy tells us that God did not give us a spirit of fear. Amos 5 says to run from evil. Those are just two verses that talk about how to view evil. One God does not support fear and He wants us to RUN from it. In other words do not take part of it. I think we can all agree that fear is evil, it is bad, there is nothing good about it. While some parts of Halloween might seem harmless, there are plenty of aspects of the day that is based off of fear, hence trick or treat, BOO! Much of the holiday is celebrating fear. There are images, products and apparel designed to be scary and evil.
Do you see where I am going with this? I don’t think I need to give more examples of how Halloween is a product of evil. This is where I get my answer of Christians should not celebrate Halloween. Why entertain and invite evil into your life, your home, kids or church? My answer does not come from a religious, thou shalt not attitude. It comes from a heart of a Dad who does not want to expose evil powers to my kids, I don’t want to entertain evil or celebrate fear in someone’s life.
Have I been perfect at not celebrating Halloween? No. If you recall the haunted house, pranks, etc. explained above. I was wrong for sparking fear into someone’s life.
Am I cherry picking Halloween as being a holiday set out to celebrate evil? Kinda. Halloween while is a date marked on the calendar, it is not the only day that people, myself included, that entertains fear throughout the year. In all honesty, I have to rethink entertaining fear. As much as it is fun to scare my wife or siblings when hiding around the corner and yelling out to scare them, I can’t do that. It is just as bad any other way to invite fear.
Something else to think about the concept of desensitization. A great example is Casper the friendly ghost. Making fear look harmless is so dangerous. We have to be careful of what we let into our lives. No matter how little or harmless it might be. I would say it’s safe to say that if you give the enemy an inch, they will take a mile. The Bible also talks about how the enemy seeks to kill and destroy. Does killing and destruction happen overnight or instantly? Sometimes it does. But think about how evil cancer is. A lot of the times someone does not know cancer is present until it it too late. Evil is the same way. It can creep in, sit a while and begin to spread.
I’ll conclude with a situation that came up recently. I had a discussion with a good friend of mine about a fall festival. My wife and I were in a dilemma about being part of my church’s fall festival. Both my wife and I have mixed feelings about the idea of a fall festival at churches. Refer to my explanation above. This is the first fall festival at my church (CATC) and we pretty much jumped to the conclusion that the fall festival was starting to look like a disguised Halloween celebration. Because of a costume contest.
>>>>>Rabbit trail. When I hear about costumes at fall festivals it just about tells me it tends to be a Halloween party a that point. What other time of year are costumes busted out? Pretty much just Halloween.<<<<<
Back on track, until my pastor cleared the air about how the fall festival is not a Halloween copout, I was skeptical for a little while. He pointed out to look at the heart of the leadership and that was the missing factor in my opinion of our fall festival. Interestingly, I only shared my concern with my friend who did not mention a word about it to pastor. Even more so Pastor’s word about it was just about word for word my conversation with my wife and buddy about it. Funny how things work out. Regardless I was relieved and humbled.
Even before Pastor’s word about the Halloween copout concept, I came to the conclusion that I would not let my beliefs get in the way of relationship. Which is a huge turn-a-round from the past. In the past I would write off the situation, come of as a modern day pharisee and in the end a wedge would be created between the relationship and I.
From an evangelistic perspective, Halloween is a great opportunity to share God’s love in creative ways. Rather than turning the lights off, uninviting people to your home, shunning people away; this is an opportunity when people come to YOUR doorstep. You don’t have to go anywhere but your front porch. Think of creative ways to interact with your neighbors.
Here are some ideas:
- Make some hot cocoa (for the colder regions). The parents could need some refreshment of their own.
- Make some iced drinks (for the hotter climates).
- Have a bucket of candy for the kids. Whether you agree with Halloween or not. This opportunity could lead to more interactions with your neighbors later down the road.
- I would go as far to say to not over Christianize the situation. Don’t be corny, have alternative motives that could be smelled a mile away. Be genuine and loving.
- Place a church business card in a baggie.
- Make a flier, card or something that has a message of hope and if you can help them in any way. Make yourself and church available for ministry opportunities.
This opportunity could lead to more interactions with your neighbors later down the road.
What’s your take on Christian’s involvement with Halloween?