With a husband in seminary who is always thinking and researching, and with Halloween coming up in just a few short days, I've had a lot of questions running around in my mind.
I grew up not celebrating Halloween. I didn't go trick-or-treating, I didn't watch scary movies, and I didn't go to Halloween parties or dress up. The only thing I ever did was watch The Great Pumpkin with my family (and I still do that every year).
But lately, I've been trying to decide what *I* believe about Halloween- not just what others tell me I should think about it. Ya know? And it's hard, because there are really valid points on both sides of the argument.
So for today's Coffee Sips and Lovely Links, I want to talk through the pros and cons of celebrating Halloween. I'd love to know what you think, where you fall, or if this issue is even important to you.
WitnessingCelebrating Halloween gives us an opportunity to show God's love to others. Whether we are the one's opening our doors to others as we give out candy, or we are being welcomed to our neighbor's front door, this is a prime opportunity to show love and kindness to people you may not know very well.
What says "Christ's love" more: shutting off our lights, dead-bolting the door, and refusing to give out candy, or being welcoming, doting, participatory, and giving?
Celebrate Imagination/ Family FunHalloween gives an extra opportunity to have some fun with family while dressing up and being imaginative. Kids today are not always forced to use their imagination, which I don't believe is healthy. With Halloween, imagination is encouraged.
Get to Know Your NeighborsHow many of your neighbors/community members do you actually know? How many of them do you talk to on a regular basis? Halloween provides an opportunity to meet and get to know those who live nearby. When people are throwing their doors open to give out candy, why not take advantage of that and introduce yourself?!
Celebrates the Occult/FearAs a Christian, I believe that there are forces that we cannot see all around us. Demonic presences are real, but on Halloween more than ever, people don't seem to take it seriously. Experimentation with Ouija boards, watching movies that terrify the viewer, and going to haunted houses for the "fun" of being scared are just a few ways that the occult is celebrated heavily on/around Halloween. I do not believe this is pleasing to God.
Used by WitchesLike I said before, demonic forces are real and all around us. And in many cases, witches, wiccans, and Satan-worshipers use Halloween as "their night". When I lived near Asheville, NC (which has a decent-sized occult population) I was talking to one of the owners of a Christian organization in downtown Asheville, and he told me that on Halloween, people kept coming by chanting against God and petitioning Satan to destroy his business. Talk about creepy!
And the thing is, it isn't just that one time, in that one place. Halloween is often the time of rituals, sacrifices, and demonic chanting. I'd say that this bothers me more than anything else.
Dangerous for KidsWe've all heard the scary stories of kids being poisoned by candy or food that's been given to them by some crazy person using Halloween as their "in". We caution parents to go trick or treating with their kids and monitor what they recieve in their candy baskets. The world is full of crazy people and Halloween is a prime opportunity for the crazies to leave their mark.
So Should You, or Shouldn't You?
I am not here to tell you whether or not you should celebrate Halloween. Honestly, I still haven't figured that out for myself. Recently, I've been leaning towards the idea of celebrating the elements of Halloween that involve fun and imagination, but being sure to be a Christ-like example by not celebrating anything fearful, demonic, or dangerous. Dressing up like Charlie Brown and meeting my neighbors is much different than watching horror movies, dressing like a slutty cat, or making light of the occult. Maybe if Christians set an example of a better way to celebrate Halloween, we could make a real difference.
But I don't know if that's the answer. I'm thinking through it myself. And if you know that you don't want to celebrate, then don't. I've been there with you for 25 years. And if you do want to celebrate, make sure you are doing so in a Christlike manner *hint- the demonic, the occult, and the terrifying are not Christlike*.
If this is an issue you are pondering with me, or want to know more about, I've found a couple of links that may help.
*John Piper makes a case for respecting people who are for it and those who are against it.
*Justin Taylor talks about being missional on Halloween.
*David Mathis asks hard questions about the holiday.
Hopefully those links will be helpful to you if you are pondering along with me.
What are your thoughts on Halloween? Do you have questions too? Or do you already know what you believe about it?