For a few decades Christian parents have been asking the question, “should I let my kids participate in Trick-or-Treat?” Let’s explore the ways that Christians can and do Trick-or-Treat well while being a light in their neighborhoods and fostering family connection and friendships while enjoying the beautiful fall season. Buckle up, friends! I’m saying some things…
Christians Who Trick-Or-Treat
We are Christians who trick-or-treat. Well, my daughter does the trick-or-treating as my husband and I are just a bit too old!
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.
Note: Please read the update at the end of this post before submitting a comment. Thank you!
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 and so some 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 because she was awesome), 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. Who gave the devil a day?!
You may be okay with reserving October 31st as “the devil’s” holiday and avoiding anything that appears to represent Halloween in any way, but that is not the choice I make. I find the idea of giving “the devil” a day of the calendar completely ludicrous.
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 “devil’s holiday” was terrifying. I had no idea how to process the information I was being given about Halloween, and so I was just afraid. Now, as a parent I am very careful what I tell my daughter about Halloween. I see no reason to worry and scare innocent children over potentially abstract ideas. It’s not healthy.
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 kind, decent human and a light in your neighborhood just dropped in your lap like this?
Ask yourself what kind of Christian you really are: the “rule” follower or a reflection of Christ? The rules are subjective based on your culture, experience, and unique perspective while Christ is freedom, love, generosity, and all things good and perfect.
Remember, the root of the word “Halloween” is “hallowed” which means “holy.” For a short time in our recent Christian history, some Christians have allowed October 31st to be viewed as a day of evil, but I tell you the day should be redeemed. We redeem the day by doing exactly what we should be doing every day: loving people like Jesus loves.
I am beyond 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! I remember my boss saying 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 follow Jesus’ example. If there is need for conviction, it will be HE who convicts 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. 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 or at school. Our decisions about Halloween, like everything in life, we just handle on a case-by-case basis and let the Spirit in us direct us… not the opinions of others.
I’ve been a Christian for thirty-one years. I’ve been in the church my whole life. I’m a pastors daughter, my husband was a pastor for 10 years, and I’ve served in church ministry for decades. 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, joy, peace, 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. Christ’s love flows through my veins. I cannot ignore the opportunity to share His love that is literally inside of me pouring out. Fake Christians bring pain, destruction, and condemnation to this world while the true followers of Christ bring light, restoration, and hope in even the smallest of places, like a child’s outreaching hand.
Note: For those who have not understood what is meant by “fake Christian,” let’s just start with our own Church history and a violent past of Crusades and witch trials where thousands and even millions have been killed in horrendous ways, maimed, and tortured. We can fast forward to today when we are less likely to actually murder people in the name of God but oh so likely to spread gossip and anger with our mouths. I have on many occasions heard Christians in church speak violence about those they disagree with, saying things like “they should be shot” or “just hang those protesters” or calling people “idiots.” We can act like “fake Christians,” for lack of a better term, and bring pain, destruction, and condemnation to others.
Yes, some will use the holiday to glorify gore and death. But Christians do not need to fear. I’ve certainly noticed the irony of Christians complaining about the darker side of Halloween while wearing a cross around their neck. How easily we forget the terrible gore and death that the cross represented before Jesus crushed the power of death.
Your work is to 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 participate:
- 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 an exciting, creative way to communicate that we do not have to be afraid because God is with us.
- 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.
- Make eye contact, smile, be kind.
- Pray before going out that God will give you opportunities to show Jesus’ love in 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.
UPDATE: Comments are now closed due to many rude and downright malicious comments I am constantly having to delete from Christians who apparently vehemently despise Halloween to the point of resorting to angry comments, nasty name calling, and unnecessary snark. As I alluded to in the post, I am extremely aware of why some Christians shun Halloween as I was raised in a Charismatic Pentecostal church where I was not allowed to celebrate Halloween, was taught to have great concern about witchcraft, given weird Peretti novels and even more weird Bob Larson novels to read as a 10 year old, and even witnessed exorcisms in church. I clearly do not hold the same beliefs now as I was taught then, and though I appreciate the concern of some, I am not responding to emails that try to teach me things I have already been taught.
This post was written years ago and unfortunately I cannot continue to give time to reviewing comments on this particular post. Thank you for visiting and feel free to check out what is new here on Mom Needs Chocolate!