As a Christian, each year this discussion comes up: Should Christians celebrate or even recognize Halloween? And although it was yesterday, I’ve been eager to blog about this for a while.
I grew up in a Christian home. We were taught right from wrong. In relation to Halloween, it was explained to us the evils surrounding it and the satanic depictions of death in witch costumes, skeletons, etc. However, we still celebrated Halloween.
Each year, I dressed up as some fun creature or character. I was a princess. I was a dog. A cheetah. One year I was even Frodo Baggins. My best friend and I, by tradition, got together and wandered the neighborhood with our parents close behind for almost 10 years, collecting candy. At the end of the night, we’d retreat to her house and sort the spoils. We’d trade and bargain. It was so much fun. Some of my best childhood memories are from Halloween night.
Then I reached an age where the origins of Halloween became clearer and I felt some inner conflict. Was Halloween evil, or should I just disagree with its origins?
Looking back on my childhood memories, I cannot see evil there. It was all in complete innocence. But where is Christ?
I don’t think Halloween as it is celebrated today by children is evil. I don’t think parents should be afraid to be shamed by fellow Christians should they decide to allow their children to participate. It makes for wonderful memories and encourages bonding. Plus, free candy. But as with anything meant for evil, I believe God can use it for good.
I have no desire to get married and have kids. But should God have other plans (and I wouldn’t be surprised as He has given me the complete opposite of my plans before), I know how I would like to participate in this holiday with my kids.
I believe it’s very important to be in the world, not of it, as overused as that phrase may be. (John 17:14-16) I see Halloween presenting a fantastic opportunity for teaching children more about active evangelism.
Let them dress up. Let them have (pure) fun with their imaginations (not evil characters, like witches or ghouls). Encourage them to take on the look of a person from the Bible or from more recent Christian history. (This also presents a great devotional opportunity – study the person they choose with them so they know well who they’re representing and their importance in God’s story.) Then, on October 31st, be prepared to share the message of both the character and of Jesus’ goodness.
I think there are a two ways this can be done. First, as many Christians are already doing, hand out Gospel tracts with the candy at the door. The second option that I think would be even more fun and courageous is to go out and ring doorbells with all the other kids, but in addition to collecting treats, give back to the person at the door. Take the tracts on the road with you. Or, if you want to invest a little more, get some Shirt-Pocket Bibles to take with you. They’re affordable and easy to pass around. It’s door-to-door evangelism with your kids! It builds courage and familiarizes them with the idea of sharing Jesus with strangers.
But let’s not let Reformation Day be overlooked. This day was huge in Christian history. I think it’s very important to make it a priority to spend time relearning the story year by year. Review the 95 theses with your children using this modern translation. Discuss what the theses mean. Also, attend the Reformation Day Service if your church holds one. More than just showing that Reformation Day is more important than Halloween, this restates the lesson you as a parent are always teaching your child: God is Lord; He always comes first.
Again, I’m not a parent, so feel free to give your input in the comments. Before I close, I will address what I am completely familiar with – being a young adult during Halloween.
At this point… I just don’t.
Soon after reaching my teenage years, the thrill of Halloween quickly began to fade. At this age, all it becomes is a party full of risk of falling to temptations. We’re too old to gather candy but too young to have kids that would enjoy it. Girls dress in immodest costumes; boys are out to scare or lust after those girls. Drinking – underage – is prevalent. Destructive pranks follow.
But there’s no reason to lock yourself inside and turn away the young children that may come to your door. At this age, I think it’s extremely important to actively evangelize from your home. Give to the young kids. More than candy, give love. Give grace. Be a friendly, gentle young man or woman of God when the doorbell rings. Each home only has a few moments with the lost – make sure that your home is using those short moments to direct people to Christ.
I hope you had a blessed October and a safe Reformation Day/Halloween. God willing, I’ll see you tomorrow. Happy November 1st!