We are Christians. We participate in Trick-or-Treat.
This is not me trying to convince you that we are right. I’m just wanting to share a little bit of my perspective on Halloween as a Christian.
Whether you are a Christian who completely shuns all things Halloween, a Christian who is fine with Halloween alternatives and maybe giving out candy to Trick-or-Treaters, a Christian who is totally fine with Halloween, or a non-Christian who doesn’t get what the fuss is all about, I hope my thoughts will allow you to see Halloween from a different perspective for a moment.
WHAT IS ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?
“Halloween is the devils holiday.” You’ve heard this, right? Technically the word “Halloween” is based on the Christian holidays of All Saints Day (All Hallows Day) and All Hallows Eve. However, there is no doubt that the way Halloween is celebrated in modern culture is rooted in pagan and satanic practices. Because of this, many Christian choose to shun the holiday altogether.
GROWING UP IN THE HALLOWEEN-ALTERNATIVE ERA
Growing up in a Christian home in the 80’s and 90’s, Halloween was off limits. I never went trick-or-treating as a child. Parents sent letters to school asking for their children to be excused from Halloween themed events and projects. At church we learned all about the evils of the holiday.
No need to feel bad for me! I did not feel deprived at all. In fact, I very much looked forward to the end of October when our church would hold a Halloween alternative party for the kids and I could dress up as a character from the Bible (usually Queen Esther), play games, and get a TON of candy.
It’s been a solid two decades now since my days of being a kid enjoying “Hallelujah Night” parties and shunning all things Halloween. As an adult, a neighbor, a parent, and a Christian, I have begun to question my anti-Halloween stance. Here are some reasons why:
1. Why does the devil get a holiday?!
Well, he doesn’t. You may be ok with reserving October 31st as “the devils” holiday and avoiding anything that appears to represent Halloween in any way, but that is not the choice I make. I’m not giving the devil his own holiday.
Participating in Trick-or-Treat no more makes a person a Satanist than celebrating Christmas makes an atheist a Christian.
2. Fear is a powerful thing.
As a child hearing about the evil holiday of Halloween, I was very afraid. The idea of it being the devils holiday was terrifying. I had no idea how to process the information I knew about Halloween, and so I was just afraid. Now as a parent I am very careful what I tell my daughter about Halloween. There are things we do not participate in, but she doesn’t need to know why just yet.
3. What kind of Christian are you?
You know, it irritates me to no end that Christians will use the rejection of Halloween as an excuse to not bless the children in their neighborhood. What other time do you have an opportunity to be a light in your neighborhood literally dropped in your lap like this?
Ask yourself what kind of Christian you really are: the “rule” follower or a reflection of Christ?
I am absolutely convinced that Jesus would have been out in the neighborhood giving candy to children on Trick-or-Treat night… You don’t believe me? Keep reading.
Before we were even parents, my husband and I always passed out candy on Trick-or-Treat night. We looked forward to it! My boss even said that he bought boxes of full-sized candy bars to pass out. His perspective was that he, as a Christian, should be giving out the best candy in the neighborhood.
I remember specifically one Trick-or-Treat night a few years ago. I got my huge bowl of candy all set up and ready. Before we went outside, my husband and I talked about how we wanted to be a light in our neighborhood. We made it a point to make eye contact with people, compliment every child we could, smile brightly, be friendly, and just enjoy our neighbors.
Fast forward a few years and we now had our own little one. Growing up not Trick-or-Treating made me feel like I should also not take my daughter out. But she was sooooo cute in her pink sock monkey costume! I decided to dress her up to take door-to-door in the neighborhood. Before we went out I seriously prayed and asked God to convict my heart if this was the wrong thing to do. Interestingly enough, the opposite happened. Walking around my neighborhood in the midst of groups of kids, families walking door-to-door, neighbors greeting each other with hospitality, having the opportunity to talk with neighbors who I had never met before… my heart was filled with peace and love.
Yes… peace and love. Not fear or condemnation.
You see, I don’t need anyone to tell me whether I should celebrate any part of Halloween or not. I have Jesus in my life and HE will let me know. HE will convict me. And when I made this connection between Halloween and God’s voice in my heart, I realized that the reason I felt nervous about taking my daughter Trick-or-Treating has NOTHING to do with God’s leading. It was all about the judgment of other Christians. (ouch)
I’ve now decided to celebrate Halloween… sort of. We Trick-or-Treat, we carve pumpkins, and I don’t have a problem with my little girl attending the Halloween party with her dance class. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll never catch me watching disgusting and gory movies on October 31st (or anytime for that matter!), decorating my house specifically for Halloween (“fall” theme? Yes.), or allowing my daughter to dress as a witch for Trick-or-Treat. But everything else we just take on a case-by-case basis and let the Holy Spirit direct us… not the opinions of others.
I’ve been a Christian for twenty-eight years. I’ve been in the church my whole life. So understand, I say this with full understanding of what the church is all about and total love for my Christian brothers and sisters… but good grief Christians do so like to have something to complain about! Could we just for once let ourselves be known for what we stand FOR and not just what we stand against?!
What we stand for is love. It’s joy. It’s peace. It’s caring for each other and being kind. I experienced these things fully as I looked into the eyes of an innocent child while giving them candy treats and telling them they were the cutest little vampire I had ever seen. It may sound like a joke, but it isn’t. My heart is sincere and bursting with love for God’s children. I could never sit in my house with the lights off ignoring the little knocks at my door. I have given my heart to Jesus and His love flows through my veins. I cannot ignore the opportunity to share His love that is literally inside of me pouring out.
Love God and Love others. Let the Holy Spirit deal with the details.
PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS
Halloween is an amazing opportunity! Here are some fantastic ways you and your church can be a light in the darkness:
- Host a Light the Night or Fall Festival or Trunk-or-Treat event. Start off with a short rally which could include fun music, puppets, prize giveaways, etc. Present a short message in a creative way to communicate that we do not have to be afraid because God is with us.
- Hand out awesome candy on Trick-or-Treat night along with an invite to your church or a church event.
- Set up some small carnival games in your yard and give candy away as prizes. You’ll want to get your family and some friends involved in this project!
- Make hot chocolate and cider to give out to the adults and little bottles of water for the kids.
- Use phrases like “God bless!” (only do this with sincerity) instead of “Happy Halloween” if you want.
- Make eye contact, smile, be kind.
- Pray before going out that God will give you opportunities to love on your neighborhood.
- Just have fun! When you have God’s light in you it just pours out of you no matter what you’re doing. No need to go overboard with evangelism strategy; just be a nice person and a great neighbor.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Don’t be a lousy representation of Christ and ignore the little knocks at your door; buy some candy and love on His children on Trick-or-Treat night.
Remember, the light shines brightest in the dark.