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Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

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!

handmade Christmas tree ornaments using clay

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! 😉

What does Halloween look like for your family?

Comments

  1. I LOVE your idea of boldly sharing your Christmas lights on Halloween night, and beginning a new tradition for your family. What a fun idea! I’m sure your house will spark lots of conversation with your little visitors. We don’t “celebrate” Halloween – and we talk about the difference between “celebrating” it and focusing on what’s truly important that night with our kids. This year, at age 9, my oldest has had a homeschool lesson on the origins of Halloween, the truth about angels and demons, and it has really opened her eyes. But I’m still allowing her to dress up and go to my husband’s work event and local church events, and to “trick or treat” in our own neighborhood. We are Christian too, and I think to each his own! I don’t judge or criticize any Christian who chooses to participate in Halloween events, or who allows their children to dress up, for whatever reason. It’s for each of us to decide for ourselves, with the knowledge we have each gained in our own walks with God. But I love your idea, and I think it sounds like so much fun!

    • Deans, Do you have any material for the lesson you referred to. We do the same as you but want to dig a little deeper this year into the true origin. I would love to find material on this.

  2. Love your outlook on this! We choose to dress up in fun costumes – but nothing scary. We don’t do the scary ghostly type of costumes and we don’t do scary movies. Our house is decorated with normal fall colors and maybe cute jack-o-lanterns. We dress up like our favorite cartoon characters or what we want to be when we grow up and go out and visit with our neighbors. We receive candy and a family experience of going out together as a family, and our friends get to joke around with us about our goofy costumes. Just because Halloween used to mean one thing, doesn’t mean that it still holds the same meaning today. We choose to take something evil, and turn it into something good. I don’t even think about the origin of the holiday. I think about what I make of it in that very moment. And yes – I too am a Christian, but if someone hands me a tract I’m going to largely roll my eyes at them and tell them to lighten up some! But hey, that’s just me 🙂

  3. Our boys are still quite young but we hope to dress them up this year and visit some in the community who are often overlooked. We just seem to know too many widows and others in nursing homes who get far too few visits from people

  4. So basically those of us who don’t follow your Christmas at Halloween tradition are the unenlightened ones. I was with you up to the point where you criticized everyone who doesn’t do it your way. We don’t hide, nor do we participate. Halloween is just another day for us. We also don’t do Christmas at halloween. That’s not our style. It’s just another day for us, and we think that’s as it should be.

    • No one but yourself can make you feel that way. Please don’t be rude to someone who is putting themself “out there” on a super touchy subject in the Christian community.For the record, I didn’t feel criticized.

    • Oh good grief. She went out of her way to say “you don’t have to do it like this…. this is just what WE do…” If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Move on.

  5. I love your idea. I think that’s too early for Christmas decorations for me, though ?. We just moved into a new neighbourhood. So, we plan to make a big batch of yummy hot chocolate to give out to parents. I want to make this cute tissue paper pumpkins with awesome candy tucked inside for the kids who come around. We will put our fire pit in the driveway and serve the treats out there, hopefully encouraging some get-to-know-you conversations. Our family is looking forward to this.
    Last year, just due to circumstances, we went for a one-nighter as a family to the South Okanagan. The hotel staff gave my kids huge bags of candy. We also picked up candy on the way. Had pizza and went swimming. The next day, we did some touristy things. It was nice to do that as a family.
    Great post, Rebecca.

    • ooooh, a fire pit and hot chocolate, that is a phenomenal idea! Like so good we may have to add to our tradition! Thanks for sharing!

      We always put up our Christmas tree at least beginning of November, we’re Christmas crazy around here, haha.

  6. And, you’ll be the weirdos who refuse to acknowledge the holiday it really is because you’re the neighborhood christians. Honestly, the christmas idea is the weirdest one I’ve run across yet- and I’ll be bold about saying it that way since you were equally bold in putting down other Christian habits.

    We used to pass out pre-made (by me) bags of candy and toys with a littte Bible verse I’d print out- usually something on fear. I’d hole punch it and tie up the bag with it. We don’t live in that kind of neighborhood anymore so, my kids just dress up and go where the other kids go. Your analysis on tracks- where exactly did you get your percentages from? Where did you get the data that indicates that your assumption of most people’s reaction is an accurate one. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. We should take every opportunity to pass out the word of God, and remember, we aren’t responsible for how people respond to it. Now, I think passing out tracks on halloween is like giving a track to your waitress, it better come with a tip, which is why we passed out an age (and holiday) appropriate Bible verse attched to a generous bag of treats.
    We don’t do scary or traditional halloween costumes. My view is that we in America, as a culture, don’t “celebrate” the real halloween. Our kids dress up on the 31st and go collecting candy from neighbors. Doing “research” is for this reason- we haven’t been raised in a culture that knows and celebrates the true halloween. Because of this cultural fact, I let my children participate. I see nothing wrong with enjoying a good dress up party and heading out the door to meet neighbors who we normally don’t get to see and connect with.

    Those are just my thoughts.

  7. I know you have had different responses here. I am a mixed up person with a husband who does not want to celebrate at all and look at it as a normal day. I have wanted to give out things and shine the light of Jesus but it is such a hard place to be in. I think we are still in prayer about the whole thing, even though it’s been our 11th year as a married couple. When they were little our church sometimes did Harvest Parties and we did that. We have also had to apologize to kids who knocked on our door and say we didn’t have anything for him (I would rather not be home!). So I guess it is a struggle. And I think you did well with how you presented it and what your family has done. That is neat, but I don’t think I could fully do Christmas this early, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. I think some white lights would be amazing up, though. Thanks for the ideas! 😀

    • Thank you for your grace! Yes, I’ve had a variety of responses 😉 It’s a controversial subject, I would know because I’ve been all over the map. We have tried trick or treating, we have tried hiding out, when we were kids we handed out tracts, we’ve gone to church parties, we’ve really done it all. I really did not intend to come accross as judgemental at all and reading it over think I was pretty clear that we all have to come to our own position on it. It is a really personal decision, I am just trying to explain the balance we found that works for us. I appreciate your struggle, I understand your struggle, and in the end, God knows our hearts 🙂

      • I don’t think you sounded in the least bit judgemental. If anything I felt like you did an amazing job not sounding judgemental. I love the idea of Christmas on Halloween. My son is turning 13 next month and wanted to know why we couldn’t put out lots of spooky decorations. We had a discussion on what Halloween really started as. I told him I have struggled through the years on whether or not to celebrate, we do by the way. I think having an honest discussion with him about how Halloween started made a big impact on his view of the holiday. We have had little discussions from time to time when he wanted to wear spooky costumes but this was a much deeper conversation. I think it’s great that you’re willing to share your struggles. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who’s struggling.

  8. i just want to start off by saying that I’m not trying to be ugly or mean in any kind of way. I understand the struggle. We do not participate or celebrate Halloween. We have also researched it. We also have several Bible verses that lead me to believe we shouldn’t take part in it either. Ephesians 5:11 2Corintians 14-16 1Cor10 20-21 Philippians 4:8
    Just to name a few.
    You spoke about Christians needing to stop being afraid. Well I agree, Christians need to stop being afraid, afraid to stand up and say “No that’s wrong and I won’t have any part of it”. It’s ok to not participate in things.
    I don’t know about others but my children eat candy and play dress up on a regular basis. They won’t be “missing out”. There are so many other activities to do around this time of year other than “hide” like pumpkin patches, fall parties, and church gatherings. As for myself (an adult) I could be around people participating in Halloween and be a light but as for my children (ages 2,5,7) I don’t think they should be exposed to the celebration of demonic witchcraft that goes along with Halloween.
    I appreciate your post and you trying to find something that fits your family. This is just my point of view on the subject.I’ll leave you with this…What exactly would it take for “Christians” to not participate in something? 1Peter 2:9

  9. This is a hard topic for sure. I like your ideas and am sure you and your family will have a wonderful evening!
    We choose to celebrate “fall day” in our family. Whatever day near Halloween that my husband has off work, we will load up the kids for a family day at a local pumpkin farm. We do the corn maze, play games, pet the farm animals, eat apple cider doughnuts, take a hay ride, pick apples and pumpkins, ect. After a long fun day we come home and have chili and cornbread for dinner. Then we give the kids their “fall baskets” (think Easter baskets but fall and pumpkin theme) and then have a pumpkin pinata full of candy for the kids to break open. Lastly, we snuggle up in our pjs and special dessert (pumpkin patch dirt cake) to watch the great pumpkin Charlie Brown movie. We make so many great memories each year! My oldest told me he would much rather celebrate fall day then Halloween because of how much fun he has each year. For us, our fall day tradition has been such a blessing and some of our most treasured memories.
    For the actual day of Halloween I will be having a special pumpkin themed poetry tea time planned for the kids after school complete with a craft, cookies, storybooks and some goody bags with pumpkin notebooks and pencils inside.
    Love hearing and getting ideas from everyone else! 🙂

  10. I am from Ireland and when I moved stateside this was the first I had heard of Christian faith not celebrating Halloween. Ireland is promdimately Catholic and it’s celebrated there. Of course this could be due to the fact that the origins of what is now Halloween come from Ireland. It’s very similar to All Souls Day, Nov 1, but hey I’m just a blow in as we say. Each to their own, everyone needs to do what they believe is best for their family. There are too many ways to divide when we should be coming together. What I think was Jesus’ main lesson, love your enemy, is the hardest to do sometimes. Happy Autumn everyone!

  11. Some really great ideas! Thank you for bringing up the discussion 😊 We also love to celebrate the fall/harvest and do harvest-y activities (pick apples, visit a farm, nature/lantern walks, and sing songs like For the Beauty of the Earth). Another thing we like to do is think of our ancestors and learn about some of them. We do dress up in good and inspiring things. We pick a few of the elderly/lonely people in our neighborhood to go and visit each year. Love how we each can find different ways to be a light to those around us on what can be a dark day.

  12. I will admit, I have never researched the origin of Halloween, but have seen how evil the neighborhoods can be decorated… When I was first new to this country, one church near us had a huge open gym for kids & families, but they educated about the heros of the faith and those who died bravely for Christ.It was truly amazing, educational and encouraging! Naively I just thought Halloween was celebrated by Christan to honor & remember those who died for their faith, and non-believers would just focus on the dead (to whatever degree of “evil” they were drawn to).
    This is very interesting for me to read all these comments and has given me a lot to think/pray about.

  13. My mom decided celebrating halloween was ungodly at some point on my childhood, so we stopped. I never let my kids dress up and go trick-or- treating either until this year. My husband’s parents never criticized this, but they would hand the kids candy when we visited and say “Happy Halloween.” This year, I decided to lighten up and let the kids do what they wanted, which was to design their own costumes and wear them to their grandparents’. I feel at peace with this. My kids know it’s not nice to scare or threaten people. They also know Jesus is more powerful than any evil spirit and most “magic” is just an illusion. I wish I would have let them do the normal, cultural version of halloween sooner.

  14. Wanted to add: I refuse to put up any scary decorations though, just fall/ thanksgiving ones. One year I did the early Christmas decorating thing too! Our neighbors had went overboard with spooky, talking decor and I wanted emphasize we were Christians. So don’t mean to criticize your idea. Sounds fun!

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