Christians and Halloween?
Every year, about this time, I start getting questions about Halloween.
Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
Let me give my quick and definitive response:
When I was young, we went through three different phases.
- One phase had us completely separate from all things Halloween. We wouldn't even do the alternatives such as harvest parties. We sat at home and mourned all the evil happening that night.
- The second phase had us only participating in Christian alternatives.
- The third phase had us not really participating but just treating it like another day.
So, whatever position you find yourself leaning toward, I can relate.
At the bottom of this blog is a video breaking down the argument but it is way more complex than this. For some, Halloween symbolizes all that is evil in this world. It is the high holy day for the kingdom of darkness and all forms of celebration accidentally promote paganism. For others, there are wonderful memories from their childhood. What is a Christian to do? How can we have peace and decide what is best for our families?
Here are some questions for you to ask when considering what to do with your family:
What are you celebrating?
The first motivation question is about what you are doing. Depending on which historical narrative you support, Halloween has its roots in both Druid and Christian backgrounds. Some say many of the practices found at Halloween gatherings come from the ancient paganistic practices of the Irish/Scottish Druid cults. This is true. When you look up some of the background data in going from house to house looking for 'treats,' 'bobbing for apples,' and carving pumpkins you will think twice about doing any of it.
However, there is also some evidence that there are many historical connections to Christian traditions as well. The bottom line becomes, what are you celebrating? Are you glorifying fear? Are you celebrating the dead or are you celebrating a chance to be with family and do things together?
If you feel this cannot be redeemed, don't do it. If you feel it can, celebrate the wholesome aspects of the holiday.
Why are you celebrating?
The second motivation question is about why you are doing what you are doing. Some use this as a chance to celebrate darkness and fear. Obviously, this is not a good idea. Some use this as a chance to indulge in inappropriate sinful brokenness... again, not a good idea. If you are taking this as an opportunity to celebrate togetherness and fun, this is a good idea. You can do the same thing for two different reasons and have very different outcomes. A knife can be used to kill or to save a life. It all depends on the motivation.
How are you celebrating?
The final motivation question has to do with how you are celebrating. Wearing terrifying or inappropriate costumes does not celebrate togetherness, family, and friendship. Scaring people does not celebrate these things either. How are you celebrating with your family? If you celebrate by inviting people over to your house and sharing in community, this is a good thing.
It is important to think through, pray through, and discover your motivation behind whether or not you celebrate Halloween. The bottom line is to figure out where you feel freedom and where you feel conviction. It is also important not to impose your preference on others. We should always warn people about sin but show grace when it comes to preference.
My family talks openly about our feelings concerning Halloween. My girls know how Halloween has been perverted by those who do not follow Christ. They also know how we purposefully work to redeem it with family time, togetherness with friends, and promoting goodness. We offer neighborhood children a chance to come to our door, receive candy with a smile, and a hearty "God bless you." This gives us a chance to know our neighbors and for our neighbors to know us. We do not begrudge anyone who does not celebrate and we are careful not to glorify darkness with anything we do.
I pray the Lord gives you the grace to work through this as you sincerely look to honor Him through your life and decisions.