Is it appropriate for Christians to participate in Halloween?

QUESTION: Is it appropriate for Christians to participate in Halloween?

The first thing we need to do when confronting this question is to clearly define our subject. What do we mean by Halloween? To a lot of people in our country Halloween is nothing more than little children dressing up in cute costumes and going door to door getting candy. Personally I can’t see anything wrong with that. And since the vast majority of non-Christians sees Halloween that way, it doesn’t really do our cause any good when believers start railing on Halloween as “Satan’s holiday” and condemning everyone who disagrees. Frankly it makes us look like radicals who are out of touch with reality.

Having said that, if you actually take time to do a little research on the history of this supposed “holiday,” you will find that it’s made up of some pretty dark and disturbing stuff. The following is taken from the History Channel website:

Halloween, celebrated each year on October 31, is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity and life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. Halloween has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts. The Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day and the Roman festival of Feralia all influenced the modern holiday of Halloween. In the 19th century, Halloween began to lose its religious connotation, becoming a more secular community-based children’s holiday. Although the superstitions and beliefs surrounding Halloween may have evolved over the years, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people can still look forward to parades, costumes and sweet treats to usher in the winter season.

Even though Halloween has been secularized, its origins are clearly rooted in the occult and superstition. Christian parents need to prayerfully consider how their family should view and/or participate in this celebration. I do not believe that letting your kids dress up and get candy is selling out to the devil and participating with all the negative and cultic aspects of Halloween. That’s just plain ridiculous. But before you make any final decisions about just what your family will do with this holiday, here are some questions for your consideration:

If you are not in agreement with the origins of Halloween and yet you let your kids Trick or Treat when they are little, you need to be aware that this could cause confusion in their minds when they get older. How do you intend to deal with that?

Though your kids may be young now, how will you handle this holiday when they become teenagers and Halloween activities take on a more questionable or even dangerous tone? (As a dad I can tell you that once you open the door to celebrating a holiday, it’s very difficult to close that door later on.)

Another problem Christian families face is what to do instead of participating in Halloween activities. When our kids were young, Sue and I would usually get them out of the house on Halloween, and either go spend the evening with another family with similar convictions, or we would attend an alternative get-together such as a Harvest party.

(Note: there are some Christians who see harvest parties as celebrating Halloween with a different window dressing. But with that rationale anything you choose to do would be subject to criticism. Besides, there’s nothing in the Bible that forbids a celebration of the Autumn Harvest. See Exodus 23:16)

It should also be noted that some Christian families use Halloween as an opportunity to reach people for Christ. They do this in all kinds of creative ways, such as handing out candy wrapped in messages of hope and love, complete with Bible verses.

However you decide to approach Halloween, be very careful about being critical of other families who might be taking a different route. (Remember Romans 14:4)

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