What Do Christians Do About Halloween?

As a Christian family who seeks to live a Jesus-centered, Gospel-centered life, we are constantly needing to evaluate the culture we live in through the lens of the Bible and the thinking mind God gave us.

In light of what I've written below, as a family we have chosen to exercise our Biblical freedom (1 Corinthians 10:22-23), to wisely redeem cultural practices. We have fun with Halloween by dressing up and going trick or treating. We did wade through the trickier issues necessary such as ghosts, witches, and other scary, fear based costumes, along with the cultural obsession with the "dark, gruesome" side of life after death. Heaven and hell are very real places, and Satan and his demons are very real beings, and we feel our view and talk of them should be in a Biblical sense. So we have rejected that portion of our culture's Halloween celebrations. 

So without further ado, our cutie kiddos ready for a candy fest! This year Mekonen was his latest favorite character... Buzz Lightyear! Miss Evie Rae was a sweet little fairy! Daddy and Grandpa were going to be away for work on Halloween, so we trick or treated the night before to a few friends houses and Grandma Magz and Boppy's house. 

"To infinity, and beyond!!!"

Trick or treating at Grandma Magz and Boppy's
Daddy and Grandpa were out of town for work, so on Halloween night we went with Grandma trick or treating in her neighborhood. It was really cold out, so we changed Evie's costume, to a cuddly little lion! Much warmer than a fairy! 

Evie was all smiles once she figured out what this process of knocking on people's doors means! Candy!!!
Halloween has long been debated in Christian circles as whether or not it's right or wrong to participate. This is an issue we have had to evaluate as we begin our journey in raising our children. However, it's not as simple, nor as black and white as some Christians like to make it. Yes, that would be easier because it would satisfy the "religious self" that we try so desperately to get rid of- the one that thinks being a Christian is simply following rules. Sure that would be "easier" and actually would give us a way to receive some praise for how "good we are being" and thus how "righteous" we are. But we are called to much more than that, and I am afraid that many Christians today just don't know how to think and would prefer that the Bible say specifically, "Thou shalt not trick or treat or be involved in Halloween." Since that hasn't been laid out for us we have some homework to do! My thoughts on how to reject, receive, or redeem cultural practices in light of the Bible were influenced by Justin Holcomb, a pastor we really appreciate from a church out west. 

1. Research the aspect of culture that you are discussing, i.e. Halloween.
It will take far too long to write the history of Halloween here, and it's not necessarily the point of this post. So in short, the holiday did, in some part, originate from pagan and mythical practices. But calling it "Satanic"can merely end up being a game of semantics. (What about Roman and Greek mythology, etc?) Maybe all these things are "satanic," maybe they aren't. Therefore, Christians need to exercise thoughtful discernment when coming to conclusions about such matters.

2. Reject, Receive, or Redeem, in this case, Halloween.

A Christian named Pat Robertson called Halloween the "festival of the Devils" and said it was wrong for Christians to participate. But to reject it outright without answering this question, is foolish... "To what extent does something's evolution from pagan roots entail that its present practice is tainted?" Because today, there's been a huge shift in the original practices of Halloween, to kids dressed up in cute costumes for a sugar fest once a year. If you are going to outright reject Halloween are you consistent in rejecting other holidays completely as well? There are pagan practices rooted in most holidays as is excess, like too much candy on Halloween. So should we reject Thanksgiving too because some people eat too much and gluttony is a sin? Other Christians reject Halloween because they fear the evil will influence their Christian faith. The idea is, 'garbage in, garbage out.' But Jesus says the exact opposite is true in Mark 7:21-23. The fruit of our lives (whether holiness or sin) is always tied to the root of our hearts. Sin absolutely corrupts but the sin is not so much 'out there in the world' as much as it is in the heart of every person. Holding fast to the outright rejection position falsely assumes sin is mostly what we do rather than who we are. 

Receive and/or Redeem
If we have an informed understanding of the history of Halloween and realize that as a Christian we have the biblical freedom to redeem cultural practices (1 Corinthians 10:22-23), we believe that Christians should follow their conscience in choosing how to approach this holiday.
How one goes about which aspects of Halloween to redeem or receive is still a tricky issue. One suggestion is to distinguish between the cultural aspects of Halloween and the religious aspects of Halloween. "There is a big difference between kids dressing up in cute costumes for candy and Mardi-Gras-like Halloween parties, offensive costumes, and uninhibited excess."
"It's naive to make a blanket judgment to reject or receive Halloween as a whole. There should be no pressure to participate, but for those Christians whose conscience permits, we should view it as an opportunity to engage wisely with our culture."

1 comment:

doddyj said...

I just wanted you to know that I love reading your posts on the various issues that spark tension in Christianity. I so appreciate your thought processes and the way you lay out your argument. Please don't stop! :)