Halloween is here and it’s time for free candy. Is that a bad thing? Thirty years ago my wife and I committed ourselves to raise our children in a Christian home. We wanted to “do it right.”As very young parents we heard a lot about the observance of Halloween and its sordid connection to all things evil. We didn’t allow our kids to trick-or-treat because of our church’s teaching about the nefarious nature of the holiday.
We heard a very one-sided view of Halloween and all of its association with witches, the demonic, goblins, ghosts, and black magic. We heard sensationalized stories that scared the 4311 out of us.
“I think we ought to close Halloween down. Do you want your children to dress up as witches? The Druids used to dress up like this when they were doing human sacrifice…[The children] are acting out Satanic rituals and participating in it, and don’t even realize it.”–Pat Robertson, “The 700 Club,” 1982-OCT-29
Many years later I would do my own research concerning All Saints Eve, Reformation Day, cultural traditions, and a history of more moderate responses to the Halloween season. My philosophy holds that we should engage our culture bothintellectually and spiritually, (in fact, I would argue that these are one in the same). Intellectually we should think with a sound mind, not fearfully; we can be fully engaged, spiritually reasonable. For example, we know that the names for our months and days of the week are named after Roman deities and Norse gods, but that doesn’t prevent us from having a calendar.
I suppose there are some wiccans and druids who get pretty fired up about Halloween. There are some people who are happy to enjoin the occult, and this includes small cadres of people to actually like attaching anti-Christian themes. Could that happen with Christmas and Easter? Demons and séances? Nah . . . but the subtle encumbrance of materialism, commercialism along with the blatant expulsion of Christ, that does happen. Consider what used to be Christmas Break, now we carve out time between first semester and second semester for “Winter Break.”
I have grandchildren and we are carving pumpkins. I get a kick out of watching them plan their costume. It’s a lot of fun. While jack-o’-lanterns and black cats may have an origin in a non-Christian activity, we are celebrating the joy of being a child, and taking a cultural activity under the lordship of Christ. The kids will go trick-or-treating in an appropriate manner, and they will score lots and lots of free candy. We are just having fun, like going to a fun park or swimming party.
A lot of Christians I know have fun on Halloween. It is a fall party for the kids and not much else. Yes, sometimes we can do things just for fun. As for me I play fantasy football, golf, and go to OU games. It’s utterly meaningless, but I do it as “temporal entertainment.” Sometimes I play backgammon, board games, and *gasp* watch television. I confess, I do things that have few redeeming features, other than just recreation. I’ve even gone so far as to tell my grandchildren classic children’s stories. Many of which include a lot of make believe, and sometimes magic
(Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland among them — and we don’t forget Dorothy in the Land of Oz where there is a wizard, witches, flying monkeys and those creepy little lollipop boys.)
I very much enjoy handing out free candy to the kids in the neighborhood on Halloween. My wife still has some reservations. We have decided to stay married anyway. I know Christians who like doing the haunted house thing. It’s not for me, and neither are scary movies, but it doesn’t bother me that some friends throw ‘Fright Night’ into the entertainment category. For them it is just plain fun, and has no supernatural or lasting significance. Based on that, going out
to trick-or-treat is akin to riding the Tower of Terror at Disneyland. You do it for fun. I stood in line for 35 minutes to ride the Tower of Terror and didn’t feel convicted of sin afterwards, but I did feel slightly nauseous.
Folks with small children must exercise caution and follow a simple rule that my dad invoked, “Don’t be stupid.” Using common sense, teaching etiquette, and keeping things in perspective will serve you well.
Some parents will not want any part of the social / cultural aspects of Halloween and will opt for a separate activity, perhaps a church activity. That’s great. Maybe you can be host a home party and invite other families who choose not to participate in the worldly affair.
Here’s another though: Please be careful ye well meaning Christian. I have a non-Christian friend who took his
kids around the neighborhood a few years ago. What he remembered was the smiles, free candy for the kids, waving at neighbors and good spirit of fun and happiness — except the one family who stiffed his kids by giving them a “religious tract” along with a condescending smirk.
Halloween is here and it’s time for free candy. Is that a bad thing? The internet is replete with articles and mounds of Bible verses against the evils of Halloween. If you want to prove that this is a namby-pamby, cream puff, liberal article you’ll find plenty of ammo at http://www.exposingsatanism.org/halloween.htm They make a compelling case. (Well, sorta)
Here are some verses to think about as you pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to your own conviction about Halloween.
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Romans 14:5
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. II Timothy 1:7
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37
I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever. Psalms 44:6-8
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ….No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:35.37
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen. 2 Timothy 4:18
We can act responsibly and spiritually. We don’t need to run from everything that looks off-kilter, rather, we should be lights shining in the darkness. My version of that is looking forward to the neighborhood kids coming by again this year. I love the costumes. They make me smile. Let the little children come (a bible verse you know).
We can live an abundant and balanced life; we can become known more for our great attitude in what we do rather than our sour mugs in all that we don’t do. If you are a Christian be purposeful, and base your actions on biblical and Christian principles. Do or don’t participate in Halloween activities, and pray for the grace not to judge those who make a differing decision.
Please, whatever you do, remember this – Greater is He that is within you than he that is in the world. I John 4:4