Coffee Sips and Lovely Links: Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Friday, October 28, 2016

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 today, 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.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? An unbiased look at both sides.

The Pros

Witnessing

Celebrating Halloween gives us an opportunity to show God's love to others. Whether we are the one's opening our doors to give out candy, or we are being welcomed to our neighbor's home, 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 Fun

Halloween 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 Neighbors

How 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?

The Cons

Celebrates the Occult/Fear

As 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 (2 Timothy 1:7, Deuteronomy 18:9-13).

Used by Witches

Like 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 Kids

We'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? Does anything I've laid out here change your mind? Comment below.






11 comments

  1. I grew up going trick or treating and going to a Halloween parties. It wasn't until I met Micah that I was confronted with a family that didn't grow up doing those things! At first, I thought it was silly because it was just dressing up and getting candy, but he brought up a lot of the same points you did. I used to love horror movies and going to haunted houses for the thrill of it, but it wasn't until recent years that I started to realize how much it impacts my thoughts and dreams etc. Micah and I have decided to let our kids go trick or treating or trunk or treating when they're older as long as they don't dress up as scary things. We're not trick or treating this year becuase I'm lazy and didn't buy candy so we're going to hide upstairs 😬 But last year it was a great opportunity to meet our neighbors! I'll definitely have to check out those links later!

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    1. Yeah! Me and Taylor both grew up with no Halloween for those reasons and still absolutely believe that fear, the occult, etc should never be celebrated, but the more innocent sides of Halloween have been a big discussion for us lately!

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  2. Thanks for the links you added! It opens it up for more discussion. This has always been a tricky one to answer, for me personally. I understand the fun aspect of it, but before my parents were Christians, they dabbled in dark, spiritual stuff so now they are strongly against it.

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    1. I think that that is a fabulous point, Adriana! We also have to be aware of our own sensitivities and our own temptations. If I were in their situation, I would be absolutely the same way and I think it is fantastic of them to recognize this and live by it! :)

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  3. I love the imaginative part of Halloween - dressing up, decorating pumpkins, etc. I personally have never been interested in things like scary movies and the more spooky side of Halloween. And it really is a great way to meet your neighbors - I feel like I met so many that I hadn't before when we were around for Halloween last year!

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  4. We went both ways growing up. When we did celebrate, it was always in a positive way....nothing scary, spooky, etc. I've never been a big fan of dressing up anyway, and I don't like scary movies or creepy stuff or anything. But my family kinda went back and forth depending on our pastors or who my mom was listening to as far as spiritual advice, so as I kid I just went with the flow. If it was a year we turned off the porch light and stayed inside, so be it. If we celebrated, fine too. I have a 13 year old, and we chose to celebrate Halloween in positive ways as he has grown up. He'd dress up and we'd visit grandparents and neighbors. He's never been interested in haunted houses or anything like that. Last year he wanted to hand out candy to the little ones in the neighborhood. In everything, we need to do it for God's glory, and we can do that on Halloween too.

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  5. This is such a tricky topic! We didn't celebrate Halloween growing up either, but now we pass out candy to our neighbor kids and it's a lot of fun. I look forward to checking out the links you shared.

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  6. I appreciate this viewpoint. My husband and I decided that we would allow our children to trick-or-treat, and dress up in happy, fun costumes. We also won't participate in anything scary, as you said. God knows our hearts, and he knows that we don't view this as a day to celebrate evil, but a day to celebrate community.

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  7. Oh gosh. Halloween is my absolutely FAVORITE day of the year. I am LDS (or "mormon") and very strong in my faith. But I still love love love going to Halloween to get scared and I am HUGE lover of horror movies. I love dressing up. I think its all innocent fun. Getting spooked at a Haunted House is an adrenaline rush without actual danger. I love scary. I don't think that is celebrating evil. It is all in good fun!

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    1. Haha, one of my best friends is LDS, and has celebrated Halloween for as long as we have known each other, so I get it :)
      While I do disagree about fear-based things, some of my very best friends agree with you, so really I am in the minority. I can see that point and regardless of who is "right", it doesn't separate people in the bigger picture- it's just an issue that is close to my heart :)
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

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  8. This is SUCH an interesting read, Kristin. I'm SOOOO not into Halloween. ANd neither is J. And I think a lot of the reasons behind that have to do with just feeling really crappy about it. I hadn't even thought of it from a faith perspective in terms of "should" or "should not" do it, but just subconsciously it feels off!

    Coming Up Roses

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