For Christians Halloween is a big dilemma. Christians are strongly divided in opinion on whether or not to observe this holiday. Some feel it is perfectly harmless and do not have any problem with dressing up and going door to door trick or treating. Others choose to boycott it entirely, or ignore it, or they choose to celebrate it through more positive alternatives such as Fall Festivals, Trunk Treats in church parking lots and the like; while others choose to use Halloween as a great opportunity to evangelize.
I have discovered that Christians have a very strong opinion on the topic no matter what side of the fence they stand on and unfortunately a few try to yell across the fence at their neighbour judging them for whether or not they choose to celebrate or abstain from Halloween. I have no intention of doing that. The fact is that Halloween is one of those Romans 14 “disputable matters” where the Bible lacks clear and specific direction on how we, as Christians, should observe this holiday.
There are excellent scripture references that argues the “for or against” viewpoint:
“Don’t participate in the things these people do. For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.” Ephesians 5:7-12 (NLT)
Score a point for the “against” side…but the “for” side volleys back with:
“To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NIV)
In an article I read recently on the topic of Halloween the writer said: “As Christians, why are we here in this world? Are we here to live in a safe and protected environment, guarded against the evils in the world, or are we called to reach out into a world filled with dangers and be the light of Christ? Halloween brings people of the world to our door step. Halloween brings our neighbors out into the streets. I can think of various creative ways to seize this opportunity for developing new relationships and sharing my faith.”
Still in answer to that, others are quite right to question whether or not we can live “in” this world, but not be “of” this world.
And so the volleying continues year after year between well-meaning Christians who argue their point with gusto and no one really wins…
…and Satan laughs at us.
In an informal poll with my Facebook and Twitter friends, I asked them what they thought about Halloween in general. Here are some of their comments:
“We decorate the house with pumpkins and scarecrows. We have a family party. We trick-or-treat. The day is what you make it. It doesn’t have to be evil. It has become a fun family time for us.”
“It has changed greatly over the years. I don’t like to see kids in vampire or other evil costumes. I think it is a sad thing that schools have Halloween parties and want to wipe out Christmas.”
Karen wrote: “I am not a fan of Halloween. It’s fine for kids but adults have taken it over.”
“Halloween and all its darkness – DISLIKE! Letting the kids celebrate one of God’s greatest seasons with festivals, pumpkins, and candy corn – LIKE!”
“I used to think it was cool a long, long time ago until the truth set me free : )…Now we do not celebrate All Hallows Eve. We celebrate the beautiful changes of the season and the blessing of the harvest with pumpkin pie and all the goodies and smells that come with this wonderful crisp autumn season. It is the perfect time to teach the difference between light and darkness.”
Alison wrote: “Do you like opening a can of worms?”
I believe that the most appropriate response to Halloween is to study the matter for yourself and then follow the convictions of your own heart, and then let others do the same without being judgemental either way.
Let’s turn the tables on Satan this year. He wants us to be divided on this issue. I say let’s laugh at him instead and harmoniously “agree to disagree” over the topic of Halloween. Let’s stop the volleying and declare a unified truce if you will. Instead, let’s put on a costume that will cause Satan to flee from us on Halloween and every day of the year. Let’s put on The Armour of God. It will remind us to not fight amongst ourselves but remember who our real enemy is.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18