Halloween Part 2

Bible, Halloween, Christians
When we decided that our children should quit trick or treating on Halloween (Part 1), we were still unsure how to handle Halloween night in our neighborhood.

We struggled with whether to hand out candy and tried several different approaches:
  • We tried leaving the house during Trick or Treat time, but we wondered if the neighbors thought we were just plain stingy.
  • We tried explaining our beliefs, but pagan holidays and the occult are not really the best "entry-level" subjects if you want witness to your unsaved neighbors.
  • We tried handing out candy with scripture stickers on them.
After going back and forth for a few years, we began giving out candy to trick or treaters. But we never were completely comfortable with our decision.

Before long churches starting having "Harvest Festivals" to avoid Halloween observance, but in some ways they drew more attention to the holiday. I've wondered what message church celebrations send to our children and our unsaved friends--Do they make us look:
  • Godly? 
  • Exclusive?
  • Compromising? 
  • Confused?
  • Oddball?
I continue to have questions:
  • Are these alternative Harvest Festivals the best way to handle Halloween?
  • Or should we just go ahead and celebrate Halloween along with our non-Christian neighbors as long as we make sure our children know that there is a real occult where witches are real people who worship Satan and hate God?
  • Or should we never celebrate the holiday in any form even if it embarrasses us, disappoints our children and confuses our neighbors?
My kids are grown and married, so it's not as much an issue for me anymore, but I'm still not sure how I feel about Halloween.

What do you think about Halloween?
Please leave a comment...I'd love to hear how you feel. All I ask is that you explain your view kindly and offer grace to those who might disagree with you. Thanks! Gail

 I also encourage you to check out Meghan Carver's thoughtful post: What Should Christians Do with Halloween? Ten Thoughts.




Another good article with lots of Scripture references is from "Jenn: Moms [Not] Like Us" called: The Controversial Debate: Christians & Halloween

34 comments:

  1. Hi! Thanks for sharing these thoughts. My husband does not like to celebrate Halloween, and I didn't celebrate it growing up. I know that many people who live in farm areas still have Harvest Celebrations, but it's truly a time to celebrate that the harvesting is done. Our town has a Halloween party where kids can dress up and go through towns to get candy - usually the Saturday before Halloween, and from the hours of about 11:30-2pm. This has become a great alternative for us. Our younger son has special needs, and so this outing, along with others through the year, gets him out into the community, so that he can get to know local shop-owners and police officers, and so that they can get to know him. The kids get candy, we don't choose scary costumes - I think last year our kids were a fighter pilot, a ninja, and a princess. This gives them an opportunity to get candy, but in a very controlled environment, and has the added benefit of town interaction. My husband is a lot more comfortable with this than traditional Halloween festivities. On the actual night of Halloween, we have dinner together, turn off the lights in the front of the house, watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and try not to be too frustrated with people who knock even though our light's not on. ;) We don't answer the door, and we lock the screen door so they can't get to the doorbell, but some still knock, and that's ok. They go on to the next house after we don't answer.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your journey, Becky. I enjoy hearing how others are dealing with Halloween. Bless you

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  2. Hi Gail, fortunately we do not celebrate halloween here in South Africa and I am grateful that those who do are really in the minority (at the moment). When I read your post I thought, "claim back the day for Christ" When they knock at your door, give them sweets with an invite to church, or some Godly literature. It'll either scare them away (lol) or be a seed planted. Lots of people say Christmas is based on a pagan holiday, well i don't know enough to make an informed decision about that, and until i do, I claim that day for Christ and I celebrate His birth!
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. I was so disappointed that during our time in Budapest some of the bars and stores started having Halloween parties or decorations. And I thought...why are we importing these traditions instead of things like Thanksgiving? It's a good thing not to have Halloween in South Africa. I think the U.S. may be the only country with such a big Halloween tradition.

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    2. I absolutely love that idea Tracy, to claim that day for Christ. I too question whether celebrating certain holidays is appropriate, though I don't know enough to make an argument either way. I grew up in a home where we didn't celebrate Halloween, Christmas or Easter because of the pagan influences related to them, though as a child I never understood those connections. As a parent, I have chosen to celebrate those holidays with my children, always remembering to remind my children that regardless of what the history behind it is, or how the world celebrates, we have a reason. There is a little Halloween story about using the pumpkin/jack-o-lantern to understand how God cleans and uses us. I've used this one to make little booklets for my children. http://www.christianpreschoolprintables.com/Pages/BibleMinibooks/BibleMinibookPumpkinPrayer.html There's also a story I've heard of called My Happy Pumpkin, but I haven't read it yet to offer an opinion.

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  3. I am struggling with this myself. Although I love to dress up my kids in cute costumes and have fun with them. I don't like the evil of the holiday. I have thought about going to a church celebration and wondered those same questions about them. My husband likes going door to door though.

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    1. I pray God will give you a peace as you and your husband decide how to handle the holiday. Thanks for sharing. Bless you, Gail

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  4. I believe Christians are wise to stay far away from it. There is a real spiritual warfare going on- a real devil, real demons, real witches, etc. "A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished." Proverbs 22:3

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    1. Thanks for your input, Sarah. I've enjoyed hearing the various views on this holiday. Bless you, Gail

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  5. We have never celebrated Halloween. We try not to make a big deal about it to those who do celebrate, but we don't avoid the conversation either. We have often celebrated Reformation Day, which is the same day. This is a truly great day to recognize and there are lots of ways to make it fun.

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    1. Thanks for sharing. I'm seeing more and more Christians celebrate Reformation Day. Bless you, Gail

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  6. I grew up on both sides of the Halloween coin - participating and not participating (I don't like to say "celebrating"). My husband, however, always participated in Halloween and wants our kids to. We have chosen to look at Halloween as a fun day to dress up and get candy. As our kids get older, we will tell them about the origins of the day and the dangers there. But, just as Christmas and Easter (both founded in pagan practices) have become "just another holiday" in the US, so has Halloween. We decorate with a harvest theme that lasts until the Christmas decorations go up. Our kids will never dress in anything scary. We have chosed to redeem the holiday just as Christians of old redeemed Christmas and Easter. This makes me think that this year I will probably talk about Reformation Day or All Saints Day - our kids are very little still, so this would be a good year to introduce that.

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    1. Thanks, Vinae, for sharing how you are handling the holiday. Bless you, Gail

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  7. As I read through your thoughtful, transparent post and the comments that followed, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the verses from 2 Cor. 6: "what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
    What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord.

    We, too went around and around on the subject when our children were young--trick or treating in non-scarey costumes to neighbors only, Harvest Festivals at church, handing out candy but not trick or treating. Whatever we did had a subtle feeling of uncleanness clinging to its edges. I suspect that was the Holy Spirit calling us to come out from among them and be separate. If I had it to do over again, I'd go for the Reformation Day celebration.

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  8. At our church, we have a hayride from church to a member's farm and outdoor chili supper and games for the kids (and candy). There is always a Bible lesson that strongly draws a distinction between the evil that surrounds this day (which is around us everyday) and the hope that is in Jesus. Not all of the children who participate come from Christian homes, and this has been a marvelous outreach into our community. Many children have come to Jesus through this kind of consistent, Jesus-centered outreach and their families are hearing the Gospel, too.

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    1. Sounds like a great alternative. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. We wrestle a bit, too, with what to do with the EVENING. The holiday itself is a no-brainer for us: it's a celebration of death and darkness, while Jesus is Light and Life. That puts it in direct contradiction with everything our Lord stands for, and we truly can't fathom how any believers can celebrate it. (That is not a judgmental statement in any way, shape, or form. It is truly something we just simply don't understand.) Even our little girls ride along in the car in October going, "Ugly. Ugly. Ugly," as they see the decorations. (I hate being subjected to those for a month, and having them spoil the natural beauty of Autumn. What happened to when we were kids, and people decorated FOR HALLOWEEN, not the whole month of October and then some?) We don't do church "alternatives," either, because we see them as whitewashed versions of the world's celebration, not real alternatives.

    BUT...on Halloween evening, all of our neighbors are out in the neighborhood. They would gladly come right up to our door. We struggle with knowing how best we could take advantage of this time when people, for once, are NEIGHBORLY and open, WITHOUT taking part in the celebration. And we don't have any answers yet. (Why can't people do this neighborly thing at Christmastime? lol)

    It is a dilemma for sure. Jesus got right in the midst of the people. But He didn't do what they were doing. So how can we be in the midst of "the people" at Halloween, without doing what they're doing?

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    1. Yes, I totally understand your dilemma. I think it's a common dilemma among Christians who don't celebrate the holiday. That's one reason I wrote this post...so we could learn from each other and gain more perspective. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Oh...and there very well may be churches that have alternative options that really are alternative; I don't want to disparage those! The only ones we've been exposed to, though, are doing exactly the same thing everyone else is doing, there just aren't "scary" costumes.

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  11. I recently wrote about this same issue, kind of long- so I will place the link.It is definitely a touchy and difficult subject for me as well.

    http://jennmomsnotlikeus.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-controversial-debate.html

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  12. We never celebrated Halloween when I was a child. It was my little brother's birthday, so that was our easy out. LOL Now, our church has an event and we consider it a way to reach out to our community. People from the neighborhood come, play games, win candy and hear the Gospel.

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    1. I like what Jenni's church does. We don't celebrate the Holiday. I'm not embarrassed about it at all and I don't think my kids are missing out. Thanks for sharing this at Mom's Library!

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  13. Ooh! I totally forgot until like midnight last night that I had thought of something that might work!

    One of the things that I find odd about Halloween and Trick-or-Treating is that it's the only time we tell our kids it's okay to go around demanding something from people. So it would be distinctly DIFFERENT to have our kids go from house to house GIVING people something. It would take advantage of the fact that people are open to being approached on the 31st, while definitely setting us apart as distinct.

    I was thinking of something that is useful/appreciated by even unbelievers, 'though probably accompanied by some sort of tract. I think that small flashlights, with tracts about Jesus as the Light of the World, would be especially appropriate - to go around spreading Light in the midst of the darkest day of the year!

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    1. I LOVE your idea, Rachel. Creative, loving, evangelistic! WOW!

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  14. We celebrate it and use it as a learning example of sacrifice. http://www.adventureswithjude.com/2013/10/celebrating-halloween-despite-food.html We also put more focus on All Saint's Day than Halloween.

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  15. Gail, I enjoyed reading your articles. I think you ask a great question. I went through the same struggles as many other believers when I had my first child. I grew up celebrating all the traditional holidays and have many fond memories. So of course I had always planned to do things the same way my family did when it came to Halloween - the costumes, parties and trick-or-treating.

    I've always believed in God, attended church regularly and considered myself to be a Christian but it wasn't until after my daughter was born that I began to study my Bible. It has been an eye-opener for me to start looking at the world through His Word. I thought about verses like 2 Corinthians 6:14 that says "what relationship does darkness have with the light?" Halloween is considered the "devil's holiday", has pagan roots and is surrounded by evil images of ghosts, witches and demons.

    I have seen in my walk with the Lord that over time I am drawn more and more to the things of light and try to steer clear of the things of darkness so Halloween makes me very uncomfortable.

    I can say that my family also went through that period of adjustment when we made the decision not to celebrate Halloween. My husband and I had to explain to my children why we don't and we had to stand firm in our conviction even though it was always uncomfortable trying to figure out what to say to someone whenever they asked what our children were going to dress up as for Halloween. We were afraid people would think we were being bad parents. After 10 years we've finally gotten used to dealing with the questions and discomfort. In some instances it has given us an opportunity to share our faith with others because people want to know why we don't celebrate Halloween. I don't look down on anyone that may choose to celebrate in one form or another. It is not mine to judge and I understand that everyone is on their on walk with the Lord.

    Believers are called to be a light and sometimes that means we have to be different from everyone else and that's not always comfortable. Look at the waves Jesus created when He walked this earth. He was perfect without sin and all He wanted to do was share God's Word. As the time approaches the end of this world, believers are going to be called to do much more than not celebrate a worldly holiday that glorifies satan and the evil of the world.

    I'm sorry I haven't had a chance to read all the comments but I saw a comment where someone suggested using Halloween as an opportunity to share the gospel of Christ with others. I think everyday is a wonderful day to share the Good News with others. That is what we're here for. :o)

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    1. Thanks, Michelle, for sharing your experiences and thoughts. I appreciate what you have to say, and I'm glad other readers can also benefit.
      Bless you,
      Gail

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  16. Perhaps it is because my family is from Ireland, AND we have strong Catholics and Pagans in both my and my husband's family, we felt more of a desire to not to acknowledge the day (people still celebrate Samhain).
    I wrote a four part series including how we handle it (we have small kids!), to encourage Christians who feel uneasy with the subject. It's hard to stand out in the crowd. I was nervous even putting the post out as I was hoping people's comments would not be judging toward others. Your readers/commenters have encouraged me.
    I have LOVED reading your take on it and your readers' comments! The idea of using it to evangelize is wonderful (from Part 1). Unfortunately, we live in the middle of no-where and no-one wants to snow shoe to our house for treats. That makes it easier for us to handle.
    Honestly, we don't say the word "Halloween" around our house. So when people ask our kids what they are going to be for Halloween, they look confused, and say "What?" The person asking usually laughs and nods knowingly.
    2 Corinthians 6:14 also came to my mind Michelle. Great minds think alike.
    Blessings,

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    1. Thanks for sharing your insights on this. I will look for your series as I'd like to hear more of your thoughts.
      Bless you,
      Gail

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  17. I recall being very uncomfortable with a lot of halloween celebrations from a very young age. Some congregations of our church chose to do spook alleys and even had them in the church building, I am very glad that has changed over the years. I have chosen not to participate in any parts of holidays or celebrations that are not in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ or that take away from focusing on Him. Harvest parties are a great to celebrate fall. Dressing up can be fun, as well. However, with the prevalence of evil in our society, it can be difficult to keep the ghoulish influences out of a simple celebration. When I do decorate for fall, I stick with leaves, wheat sheaves, and plain pumpkins and other harvest related items. Our community has started to trunk or treat instead of going door to door, so that makes it easy to choose not to participate. At Christmas and Easter, I focus on the birth/resurrection of Christ and keep santa/easter bunny out of my celebration

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  18. When I was younger and searching for the "right church" I started learning about different religions "straight from the horse's mouth" so that I would learn the truth about their beliefs and not what other people claim are their beliefs (many of which were laughable like calling their prayers "incantations"). And what I learned was first, there are three separate classes of what is commonly called a "witch". There are those who believe in an Eternal Being (some say masculine, some feminine, and some say the being contains both qualities) and use prayers and herbs to (hopefully) cause something to happen but it can only be for good as if it's for something negative or hurtful the Eternal Being will not only not grant the prayers but would also cause something bad to happen to the person requesting it. A second group DOES worship Satan and prefers to do stuff for the darker side of life (once I learned about the Satan worshiping I stopped learning). The third group recognizes that there are facets of good and evil to life and that there are two beings and if you seek the dark side then dark things would happen.

    Halloween and Harvest Festivals go back to before Christianity in ALL cultures and were done to celebrate the end of the harvest as they knew the next 5 months would be one of hard times and scarce and/or monotonous food. Many cultures also set up the next day as a day of remembrance of those who've passed on and would spend most of the day in church as well as prayer.

    As a practicing Christian I look at the time period as any party that was a masquerade (a chance to temporarily pretend to be someone I was not, to laugh, to forget all of my worries) and give thanks for what I had been given that year (my "harvest" of blessings). I make sure the choice of costume doesn't promote evil or bad qualities. When I go to my church's alternative party the church promotes God in all His goodness and mercy00so that is what the children focus on.

    My question to the other readers and people writing in--what is the purpose to what you are doing? God knows what is in your heart and the reasons for doing this (or any other party or get together). If you are doing this celebration for evil intentions then don't go. If you are doing it for the right reasons then you will be that light that shines to lrad others onto the true path.

    I say these things and do all that I do in His name. Amen

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    1. Thanks, Kate, for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences.
      God bless you,
      Gail

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