I’ve read a few articles lately about whether Christians should participate in Halloween. I actually think it’s a worthwhile discussion and something that every believer should examine for themselves. I also believe that we should respect one another’s freedom to decide.
When I was a child, we went trick or treating. We never spent money on costumes; I do remember dressing up as a ghost one year (an old white bedsheet with holes cut out), but honestly, I can’t remember much about it other than the candy we collected. I don’t think I ever attended a Halloween party, even as a teenager. The closest I got to witchcraft was watching Bewitched on television. (I still wish I could twitch my nose and clean my house.) Occult practices, Satanism, pentagrams, sacrificing animals or chanting spells … these were never a part of my life (so thankful for that). I knew what I saw on television were only camera tricks, but I also knew there was a real world of spiritual evil because I believed in God. And if you believe in God, you know there is an enemy, and he’s just as real as Jesus. For the record, I did read a lot of fairy tales and watched pretty much all the Disney movies.
Then I grew up and got married and had babies. They turned into preschoolers and suddenly my husband and I had to decide if we would participate in trick or treating. Again, I never thought much about it, other than avoiding “scary” costumes and dressing my kids up as ladybugs or bunnies or princesses. We took our kids to the four or five houses right around us and then headed to the alternative, the church Fall Festival, where there were games and candy and fun in a safe environment. This was our practice for years, and when our church hosted these festivals, there was always a purpose – to share the gospel with people who might never come to church but would bring their kids to an event. We did it through stories, through personal conversations, and giving away literature.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of Halloween now. I think the world has gotten significantly darker and evil is far more accepted. Scroll through Netflix. Most of what is offered features violent crime, occult, witchcraft, aliens, or crude, ungodly and offensive. Music videos openly glorify Satan and occult practices. It used to be good and evil were clearly defined; now, not so much. And participating in Halloween as the world offers it is not the innocent game of dress up it was when I was a kid, especially as a child gets older.
I don’t think it’s wrong for churches to offer Fall festival events, but let’s be honest. To the unbeliever, it looks like the church is celebrating Halloween. Yes, there are opportunities for the gospel to be presented. But to the outsider, it may look like the church is having a big party for the holiday, even though we call it by another name.
Is it wrong to dress up in a costume? No.
Is it wrong to go door to door and ask for candy? No.
Is it wrong to have an event with games and bounce-houses and pass out tracts? No.
Is it wrong to participate in a community event and use the opportunity to share the gospel? Definitely not. I loved Pastor Mark’s offer on Facebook, inviting the community to stop by their booth for “free spiritual readings from an ancient holy book…it can predict your future by asking just a couple of questions.” That’s creative evangelism and seizing the opportunity.
The key for me, is will a watching world be confused about whom I serve? Halloween is rooted in pagan practices, and I want to be very clear about why I do what I do. That means I’m not interested in hosting a Halloween party or decorating my house with spider webs and scary witches. But if a kid comes to my door to trick or treat, I will do my best to shine the love of Jesus and could even make that more intentional by handing out tracts with the candy. (For the past five years, no brave child has made it as far as our house up the hill.)
If nothing else, Halloween gives you the opportunity to talk to your children about what you believe, and make the decision as a family, based on wisdom from God’s word. Your young children and teens will be with friends who are dressed in demonic, evil, or sensual costumes, especially if they attend parties. Maybe it’s innocent fun on your part, but the enemy has an agenda, and inadvertently opening the door to evil things is part of his strategy. If you’re going to participate, be aware, know where your kids are, and who they’re with, and set standards for what is fun and what is simply not acceptable as a believer.
Here are few scriptures to think about.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 – But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.
1 Corinthians 10:23 – All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.
1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 8 (teaching on our freedom in Christ)
Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.