Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s absolutely gorgeous! I love the pumpkins, the falling leaves, and of course drinking hot chocolate on a cool autumn day. There is, however, one thing I’m somewhat torn over…Halloween. Don’t get me wrong. I would love nothing more than to dress my adorable toddlers up in cute costumes and then show them off as we go door to door. There’s just one problem. As a Christian, how do I justify my Christian beliefs with Halloween? Can I still live out my faith and participate in this holiday event?
As a child, my family never celebrated Halloween. We would actually go out for pizza to avoid the trick-or-treaters. (And there were definitely no complaints from me and my brother about that!) Honestly…I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. I had plenty of opportunities to dress up as a child, and my parents loved chocolate just as much as I did so we certainly didn’t need a holiday to have the occasional treat.
Growing up in the church, I heard two schools of thought regarding Halloween. One taught that it was a harmless holiday. As long as we didn’t dress up as “evil” characters or partake in “evil” activities, we were fine. Others taught that we should avoid Halloween altogether. As a kid, I remember church harvest parties being all the rage, and many churches still do this today. They use Halloween as an outreach event. Children are able to dress up, play games for candy, and celebrate harvest time.
I personally believe that when it comes to celebrations and holidays, the only thing that matters is our hearts. What are we celebrating? This is the question I struggle with most when it comes to Halloween.
Nearly every other holiday we observe in this country gives honor to something worth celebrating. Throughout the year, we celebrate love, the resurrection of Christ, mothers and fathers, the birth of our nation, the things we are thankful for, the birth of Jesus, etc. Even St. Patrick’s Day honors the saint who brought Christianity to the Irish. These holidays remind us of how truly blessed we are, and they all give us something worth celebrating.
Does Halloween give us something worth celebrating?
Look around. It’s pretty clear what Halloween is all about… fear. I can’t even watch the television commercials. Everything is about fear. During the month of October, we get a healthy dose of witchcraft, zombies, graveyards, horror films, ghosts, haunted houses… and the list goes on. Halloween seems pretty innocent when you have toddlers dressing up as princesses and super heroes, but the holiday itself is truly a fright fest to say the least.
The Bible is pretty clear that the vast majority of the things associated with Halloween are not of God. The Israelites were told the following in the book of Deuteronomy:
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. But you must be blameless before the Lord your God. – Deuteronomy 18:9-13 (NLT)
The New Testament also discusses witchcraft and fortune-telling. Not only are they not of God, but the Bible tells us that they are actually the work of demons. In the book of Acts, we learn that it is by the power of a demonic spirit that a young girl is able to predict the future (Acts 16:16-18).
Again I ask, what are we celebrating? I personally don’t believe there is anything wrong with attending harvest parties with your family and honoring harvest time. This is a wonderful thing to celebrate, and I believe God honors our hearts when we are thankful to Him for all He has blessed us with. On the other hand, if most of your Halloween plans include fear, death, and the demonic, you may need to rethink where your heart is at.
Jesus died on the cross to keep us from death and the forces of evil, yet we so willingly subject ourselves to fear and death when we partake in frightful Halloween activities. We make light of these things and pretend they are no big deal. If they truly were “no big deal,” why did Christ have to die? And why does His Word tell us to flee from these things?
How can we celebrate fear and death when Jesus died on a cross to save us from these very things?