It is that time of year again: Halloween. Trick/trunk or treating, parties, dressing up, and free candy! Then comes the age old question: “Should Christians celebrate this holiday?” If so, then how should we celebrate? If not, then why? I asked a few of the GUG writers about their thoughts on celebrating the holiday and how they came to their conclusion.
Perhaps “celebrate” is too grandiose a term, but I don’t see any problem with carving pumpkins, putting on costumes, and trick-or-treating. I mean, for the overwhelming majority of people, there’s no real personal connection to Halloween from a religious or spiritual standpoint, despite the ancient spiritual themes that once accompanied it. You don’t even get the day off of school or work for the day. These days, it’s just another day for big manufacturers of costumes, party favors and candy to rake in some tidy profits, as well as the time of year pumpkin farmers start getting themselves into the black.
That being said, you should take all the safety precautions I’m sure you’ve heard since childhood (this is primarily aimed at adults with children, FYI).
Don’t eat unwrapped candy or anything in zipper baggies.
Travel in groups, as there is safety in numbers.
Carry some sort of light source, so that motorists can see you.
Don’t run, especially if you have a costume that drags on the ground or a mask that partially obscures your vision.
Make sure at least one person has a phone so you can call for help if need be.
Don’t trick-or-treat in neighborhoods that are unfamiliar to you.
Have fun, be careful, and God bless.
Should a Christian celebrate Halloween? It should be left to the conscience of the Christian. You have the Holy Spirit living within you to convict you of what is right. The early church also struggled with how to treat things that were associated with paganism or even the old Mosaic Law. Foods that were sacrificed to idols, for instance, were a serious controversy in the early days of our faith.
“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:1-8)
Some people are going to be convicted that the pagan origins of the holiday are grounds enough to have nothing to do with it. If that’s how you feel, then giving it up is an act of worship to God, one that hurts no one, but (done in faith) pleases God.
Others are going to be convicted that it’s just a day, like any other except it’s socially acceptable to wear a long silver wig, black trench coat, and carry a fake sword that’s taller than you are. And that’s also done “as unto the Lord” (Col 3:23 and I Cor. 10:31).
My own opinion is that it’s a trivial thing. I don’t think anything is “too small” a matter for God to care about. But I also think there are things that God cares about much more than whether or not you dress up in that Rule 63 Link costume you’ve been secretly working on and eat too much chocolate this October 31st. Basically, be fully convinced in your own conscience. Do it in faith or not at all (Rom. 14:23).
Besides, there’s only one holiday that truly belongs to the devil, and that’s Black Friday. Seriously, celebrating that is just plain evil.
While diving into the uncertain origins of Halloween, I found that there is a lot of theology surrounding this holiday. Some scholars believe that Halloween came from the vigil held by the early church held on the night before All Hallows Day, aptly named All Hallows Eve. Traditions started going around like children going door-to-door collecting cakes in exchange for praying for dead souls. Many of the early Halloween traditions and beliefs involved dead souls getting revenge on enemies while in purgatory by haunting them.
Do things like that line up with modern protestant Christian beliefs? Of course not. Do I still participate in Halloween festivities? Yes. While I personally don’t go all-out for Halloween, I have kids and they find it fun. I am diligent about not crossing the line into anything demonic or evil on the holiday, as any Christian parent should, and I make sure that it’s about the fun times with friends and family, not the spooks.
Halloween can be evil for anyone that wants to make it such, but in my house, we’ve determined that our hearts are in the right place and it is okay for my kids to harvest candy for me to eat and give to them at a healthy rate.
Of course, this subject boils down to your own convictions. What’s good for you may not be good for someone else and vice versa. Be obedient to God in whatever you do. If He tells you something, do that. Paul writes in Philippians 2:12 and 13 “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
I know a lot of people use that scripture as a cop-out, but it’s really saying to walk your own walk, fully obedient in Christ. If you’re communicating with Him and steering from sin, He will give you the discernment and knowledge to make an informed decision on how to walk His path.
Wesley Wood is an aspiring film director. He would love to make GOOD films to help spread God's word and help Christians grow.
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