There are so many different ideas when it comes to Halloween in the Christian community. Many churches do alternatives while some churches embrace the Halloween thing and offer activities within the community as an outreach. The differences in opinion from church to church and denomination to denomination is further complicated from person to person. We have wrestled with this and come up with some sort of decision fo what we think is right for our families. Whether we consider Halloween to be harmless fun or avoid it completely.
This article is not written from a place of religiosity or self-righteousness. Ultimately we all have to make our own decisions and stand before God and be held to account for what we do. No one can tell you what is right but the Holy Spirit and your own sense of convictions. However, as a community, I feel that we often jump on a bandwagon without knowing all the facts. We don’t do the research, we just label it religious or close-minded and move on with the culture. Regardless of what you decide to do with your family, we are commanded to test everything, not to make decisions lightly or uninformed.
What is Halloween?
I have been super conflicted in the past. I have done the whole trick-or-treat thing in my neighbourhood, I’ve done church alternatives, I’ve hid out in my basement with the lights off, I’ve even set up my Christmas tree and handed out candy to the kids in the neighbourhood as more of a ministry thing. We have vacillated, we have questioned, we have pondered, and we have researched.
Carving pumpkins: represents scaring evil spirits or the ghosts of the dead.
Dressing up: to scare/ward off evil spirits or the ghosts of the dead
Halloween was considered to be a time when the boundary between the supernatural and the natural was weakened, which is why ghosts and spirits could appear and divination and fortune telling was thought to be more successful on that day.
Still to this day sacrifices and witchcraft are prevalent on Halloween. In fact, the Wiccan calendar is a holy day for them, one of the two spirit-nights of the year. It is a time to study the dark mysteries and honour the dark father and dark mother (reference on the wiccan website here). A time to hone their psychic and divinatory skills, a time of magic and chaos.
Now, the argument that is most common is that there are pagan roots to Easter and Christmas as well, but those days are more traditionally used to celebrate Jesus as opposed to Halloween being entirely focused on evil: evil costumes, tricks and mischief, and fear.
Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
You guys, I can’t answer this for you. Some people feel called to redeem this holiday, to share the love of God with their friends, to be the light in the darkness. Who am I to tell them that they are wrong? It is between you and God and no one can answer it for you.
The purpose of this article is not to tell you whether it is right or wrong, it is to help bring awareness to what it is about, to what all the harmless little traditions stand for, and to then make a decision based on prayer and discerning what the Holy Spirit is calling you and your family to do rather than just going with the culture.
What we are doing on Halloween
Jesus commanded us to set ourselves apart, to not be of the world. There have been a lot of conflicting opinions on what this looks like. For me, it is a balance. Always showing God, always showing love and acceptance and openness while setting myself apart at the same time. Here is what Halloween looks like for our family:
We do not dress up and go trick-or-treating. We do not carve pumpkins and put up scary decorations. Alternatively, we do not pass out tracts or turn off all the lights and hide out in the basement (more on this later). This year, while everyone is putting out their Halloween decorations, we’ll be putting up our Christmas ones. On Halloween night, we will TRULY be a light in the darkness, I mean, our house will be literally glowing! We will turn on all the lights and open that door with flourish! The whole family will gather to bestow handfuls of candy into each little bag that comes our way, along with our smiles and laughter and jokes about our Christmas lights. We will be a LIGHT. We will bring JOY. We will build relationships! We will not hide!
In between house calls, we will be setting up our Christmas tree, right in the window for all to see! We will make hot apple cider and blare the Christmas music. Kids will sneak a few candies from the bowl and we’ll have an amazing family adventure celebrating our favorite season, the celebration of Jesus!
Over the top? Maybe? But for us, it is a way of getting out there and yet standing apart at the same time! It is a family tradition we can stick with and build our own happy memories. Our kids won’t feel like they are missing out when they have Christmas set up to look forward to! Our neighbours may think we’re a little nutty but they will know that we aren’t the type to shame them or make them feel less than because they celebrate Halloween. We will embrace them with all the “tra-la-la’s” in our heart! 😉