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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. And since the vast majority of non-Christians view Halloween in 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 with anything related to Halloween. Personally, I don't believe that letting your kids dress up and get candy is selling out to the devil or even coming close to participating in any kind of pagan or cultic aspect of Halloween. But before you make your own decisions about what your family will do with this holiday, here are some questions you need to consider:

If you are not in agreement with the origins of Halloween and yet you let your kids go Trick or Treating when they are little, you need to be aware that this could cause confusion in their minds as they get older. You might want to think about how you would deal with that.

Though your kids may be little now, how will you handle Halloween when they become teenagers and their activities take on a 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 make plans to 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 many Christians who see harvest parties as celebrating Halloween and calling it something different. If that's your conviction then I suggest you avoid Harvest Parties too, but quite frankly we never saw it that way. Harvest Parties were nothing to us but a celebration of the new Autumn time of year and God's bountiful harvest and in-gathering of crops.)

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 sharing the Gospel.

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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