Halloween

October 30, 2010

Growing up in Christianity, we’ve always had an uneasy relationship with Halloween. Our family never took the extreme position of declaring it totally off limits and “the devil’s holiday.” We typically handed out tracts and candy to kids who came by. On the other hand, my parents felt that “trick-or-treating” was something they’d rather not have us do. I think we did it a few years and then we stopped.

Some of our friends did it and we didn’t consider them carnal, Jesus-indifferent heathens. We just didn’t do it and honestly I don’t sit here wishing I had the chance to dress up like some character and go out and collect candy.

The truth is that Halloween has an interesting beginning that likely has little resemblance to the holiday today. I have to admit that I’m very uncomfortable with the death and goulish side of it. I think it does provide the world to do what it secretly enjoys doing the rest of the year: worship Satan.

I also have noticed that Halloween has become increasingly sexualized, with the costumes taking on an increasingly dark, sexual death sort of tone. It troubles me that we’re marketing this to kids. But this is the result of an increasingly sexualized culture.

That being said, not all of Halloween is evil. The candy, the visiting neighbors, the fun of dressing up. So what should Christians do? The Bible doesn’t give us a black-and-white guide for Halloween.

But the Bible give us broad guidelines for life. I think we should approach these holidays with balance. Perhaps we shouldn’t go all out to celebrate Halloween. We definitely should steer clear of the death and darkness and evil. And we should keep ourselves from the over-sexualized images.

On the other hand, I don’t think we should be known as the anti-Halloween people. Because to those who don’t know Jesus, we simply become the anti-fun people.  I think there is an articulate way to be difference from the world in a way that makes a difference without poking lost and searching souls in the eye.

It’s similar to our response at Christmas. Some well-meaning Christians so loudly oppose Santa Claus, they come off as the Grinch who stole Christmas, erasing any opportunity to show forth the real meaning of the season: the incarnation of the Son of God into the world to save sin. I also get annoyed by Christians who whine that someone is “stealing Christmas” because Walmart doesn’t play some lame country version of Silent Night. How about we shaer Christ with the lady at Walmart? How about we be the one person who smiles and doesn’t throw returns in her face?

Regarding Halloween, we should seek ways to redeem this holiday for Christ. Many churches have Harvest Fests, where they invite the neighborhood. Others use the opportunity to hand out literature about the gospel in creative contexts. Some have haunted houses with biblical themes to introduce their community to Christ.

I think all are positive approaches. Better than a defensive crouch. Because at the end of the day, even if this is Satan’s holiday, we know that he’d better enjoy it.

Because ultimately it is the sovereign God of Heaven who is in charge. And He is not surprised, perplexed, or worried about Halloween.