“Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with…”
– Romans 14:1
Halloween is an event that often causes a passionate response from believers. Many wonder whether or not they should observe this holiday but the responses are divided. There are those who feel complete freedom to partake in Halloween festivities along with the pagan symbolism such as witches, ghosts and goblins. Then, there are others that regard this day as evil and choose to have nothing to do with it. Some folks find a happy medium, choosing to take advantage of the evangelistic opportunities by sharing about Jesus to those who come to their door seeking candy. Personally, my family has flipped flopped over the past 25 years concerning our observation of Halloween.
My goal is not to advocate how your family should celebrate Halloween as it’s a belief each family should pray over and be unified on. However, I encourage you to educate yourself so that you can understand both sides of the coin and engage others on what they do as a family during this holiday free from judgement.
Halloween continues to be one of the fastest-growing consumer holidays, with sales expected to hit $7.4 billion this year according to a business journal. Halloween sales are the second largest holiday expenditure closely following Christmas.
Reexamining how my family chooses to spend Halloween has made me realize how it’s more to do with our maturity and understanding of the freedom we have. There was a season where fear motivated many of our decisions. Today, however, knowing our true identity in Christ and walking in freedom gives me a different perspective on October 31st. While there are times we don’t celebrate, for whatever reason, there are some times that we choose to utilize this holiday as a way to generously love our neighbors and show kindness towards strangers.
I heard someone say, “perfect love casts out all fear. On the other hand, perfect fear cast out all love.”
Christ followers have nothing to fear because we are living in complete victory. Jesus is seated at the right hand of God in Heaven and is ruling His Kingdom on earth. Jesus took away the sting of death when He defeated death on the cross so we have no reason to fear death. Nothing can separate us from God’s love and presence!!! This is the Good News of God’s love.
With no direct references to Halloween in the Bible, resolving the debate can be a challenge. Romans 14 address what to do when the Bible lacks clear and specific direction. Romans 14:1 in The Message says, “Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.”
With all of this in mind, is dressing up like beloved characters, animals, or icons and going door to door collecting candy partaking in evil? Honestly, never once would I have said that was our intent. Those walking in freedom have the power of the Holy Spirit to guide them like King David who prayed, “Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe your commandments.” (Psalm 119:66)
Could our antagonism toward Halloween alienate those we desire to reach? Is it possible to be in the world, but not of the world? There is a unique opportunity for those called to redeem the holiday. What other event brings hundreds of kids and families to your front door? It is a lovely idea for people to turn on the front porch light and, in doing so, be a light to their neighbors. This is one way to show God’s love.
While I think that this holiday can be redeemed, I understand and respect the viewpoint of believers choosing not to celebrate Halloween, acknowledging that as Christians they are different from the world and are obeying God’s Word seen in Ephesians 5:11, “Have nothing to do with the evil deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” and 1 Cor. 10:31, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
My challenge to you is to consider the usefulness of judging one another. Isn’t that what we’re doing? How can we accurately judge the motives or intentions of another person’s’ heart? Bottom line, God’s word tells us, do not judge.
The best response to Halloween is to study the matter for yourself and then with your children. Halloween is a great time to teach truth to those we love.
Ways to celebrate Halloween and alternatives to October 31st:
- Decorate your home for fall. I adore fall flowers, colors, and scents so when September rolls around I look forward to pulling out our fall decorations yearly.
- Attend a harvest festival or carnival at a local church.
- Have an outreach to neighbors with games and fun. My Christian neighbor has done a great job helping to host a neighborhood family event. Neighbors on her block pitch in to rent several bouncy houses and they have face painters along with other activities.
- In the past we have chosen to skip the evening completely by eating out and taking in a family movie.
- Some malls offer a safe place to take little ones around and in the past we have participated this way.
- Allow your kids to create their own costume of a favorite character and share the reasons behind it. Costumes should reflect that which is good. Often, kids will be asked who they are dressed up as providing an opportunity to share with neighbors 😉 practicing 1Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. Do so with gentleness and respect.”
- Purchase pumpkins and have a decorating contest. See who can carve or paint the most creative pumpkin face.
- Seek out local camps, farms, or parks offering hay rides and activities.
- Visit a pumpkin patch and corn maze.
- Distribute Christian tracts along with candy.
- Host a party for your church children leaders. One of my most memorable Halloween was organizing a boat cruise for those who volunteered in our children’s program.
- Throw the biggest and best party in your hood celebrating the hope you have as death has been defeated.
- As a family, brainstorm creative and fun ways to celebrate.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum I pray you will walk in love having a safe and family fun evening.
Having married my best friend in 1985, together we do premarital counseling and encourage families to enjoy the journey of life together. We have three wonderful daughters, Caryn (1988), Courtney (1991), and Cayley (2001), who keep me young and hip. I am passionate about encouraging women in their roles as wives and mothers. Today there are many opportunities clamoring for our attention so we must be purposeful in knowing the legacy we desire to leave behind. Blogging is an opportunity for me to share what I’ve learned along my own journey, with my deepest hope being to love, encourage, equip, and inspire. (read more here)