10 Thoughts on Christians and Halloween

Because this question comes up every year, I am updating and reposting this blog from two years ago. 

I have studied spiritual warfare for many years, so you might assume that I strongly encourage believers to avoid anything related to Halloween. That’s not exactly the position I take, as seen below:

  1. Believers who participate in Halloween may do so, but with caution. My primary concern is that we sometimes numb ourselves to evil when we dress like demons, ghosts, death, etc. There’s nothing inherently wrong, though, with wearing a costume. We simply must be wise in these decisions.
  2. Handing out candy is not a poor choice. Greeting neighbors on the porch can, in fact, be an open door to developing relationships. People are coming to you, so take advantage of the opportunity. Just don’t be stingy with the candy . . . .
  3. If you give out candy, consider also providing something else (like hot chocolate) to promote conversations. Engage parents and grandparents who stop for something to drink while their kids get candy. Those conversations can lead to long-term opportunities for evangelism.  
  4. If you give out tracts, be sure to give out candy, too. I’d probably say something like, “Here’s some candy, and here’s a great story to read as well.” Then trust the kids to enjoy the candy and the Holy Spirit to do something with the Word.
  5. Churches that offer alternatives need to do it really well. Whether it’s a Harvest Celebration or a Fall Festival, do it up big. Make the community want to come to your event. Budget and plan appropriately.
  6. Believers might open their homes to have a party on the same day. If you’re worried about not participating in Halloween night, plan another party in your home. Invite a few families. Have fun. Eat candy. Encourage your friends to join you at church.
  7. Parents might consider teaching their kids generosity on Halloween. Instead of roaming the neighborhood collecting candy, maybe you and your family can take fruit and candy to a children’s home or a homeless shelter. Your kids can still have candy later on, and they’ll learn about giving.  
  8. When you give candy, whisper a prayer for each taker. My guess is that you will pray for some kids for whom nobody else has been praying.  Only God knows how much each child needs a prayer covering.
  9. If your Christian conscience tells you “no” about Halloween, trust your heart. You have to be able to rest at night knowing you followed the Lord’s direction as you understood it. 
  10. Be respectful of those who differ with your position. There is likely room to disagree on this issue and still be brothers and sisters in Christ.  

I know this topic is a controversial one. Let me know your thoughts.

10 Comments

  • Dr. Lawless,

    First, I have heard from many lost people that they see so much hypocrisy during this time of year. Churches want their neighborhoods to join them but are scaerd to use the name ‘Halloween’. They would rather do the exact same things and call it by another name such as “trunk or treat” or “fall festival”. In my opinion, I think the church would do better to celebrate Halloween, if you are going to, and meet these people where they are at. Changing the name does not make it more holy or less evil and people see straight through that little facade.

    Second, many churches see this as an opportunity to host something and get people to start going to their church and then they get angry when kids show up and take all the candy and do not return Sunday. We need to have the right frame of mind and love on the community and share the Gospel and not expect anything in return.

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    And don’t forget that Halloween or Hallowe’en from Hallow Even or All Hallows Eve is the eve of Hallowmas, or All Hallows Day, also known as All Saints Day, a feast day or holy day in some Christian traditions. “Hallow” is an old way of saying “saint.” The customs of wearing costumes, playing pranks, and giving offerings of food, and lighting bonfires may be pagan in origin, customs associated with the old Celtic festival of Samain, which marked the beginning of the old Celtic year, but the name is NOT! Nor is the remembrance of the faithful departed, those who have run the race, on All Saints Day. May be the time has come for Christians to take back Halloween.

  • Heather Moss says:

    I appreciate these thoughts and think it wise to meet people where they’re at. My parents did not “shelter” me from this day, and when I’d met fellow friends in the church whose parents did not let them celebrate it was usually shameful for them and awkward for “us” (everyone who was celebrating) because it drew a line between some kind of value system we didn’t understand. I suppose the only thing I might add is that regardless of whether you choose to celebrate Halloween or not, be it conviction or preference, that as a parent you should take this moment to educate/disciple/explain to your children about why you’re doing so and see this as an opportunity as well.

  • I appreciate these thoughts and think it wise to meet people where they’re at. My parents did not “shelter” me from this day, and when I’d met fellow friends in the church whose parents did not let them celebrate it was usually shameful for them and awkward for “us” (everyone who was celebrating) because it drew a line between some kind of value system we didn’t understand. I suppose the only thing I might add is that regardless of whether you choose to celebrate Halloween or not, be it conviction or preference, that as a parent you should take this moment to educate/disciple/explain to your children about why you’re doing so and see this as an opportunity as well.

  • 3 big things really jump out at me:

    1. In my last church, I asked one of our 80+ year old ladies how she felt about Halloween. “Well, what’s the difference in putting a pumpkin on your porch at Halloween and putting bunnies and eggs all over the place at Easter?” I think she raises a valid point. We get really worked up over pagan origins of Halloween, but then use pagan symbols of fertility right in line with our celebrations of the resurrection of Jesus. An Easter egg hunt is completely non-controversial (and family friendly!). Many of us have talked out of both sides of our mouths when it comes to eschewing stuff that might/does have a pagan origin.

    2. Much of what people think they know about Halloween comes from discredited sources like Mike Warnke and Bob Larson. I always wondered why my late grandmothers (born in the late 1920s) both thought Halloween was good fun and my parents avoided it like the plague. For an interesting historical view of Halloween pre-1980s, go watch the movie ‘Meet Me in St. Louis.’ I’m not sure I’d let my kids do that either!

    3. My main concern with Halloween now is not devilry in the sense of conscious and intentional participation in occult practices. Instead, it’s conscious and intentional participation in drunkenness and licentiousness. Everything under the sun has been made into a sexy costume. I think this is tragic and says a lot about us as a culture.

    For my family, I’m actually taking the night off. Halloween is on a Wednesday this year, and I’m a youth director. Our neighborhood is out in droves. It’s like a kid’s Halloween movie out there. Everyone is friendly and ready to mingle. We’ve been in this neighborhood right at a year. Most of the people we know, we met on Halloween last year. In fact, we met more people that night than we did the whole rest of the year. It’s a night when people are out and planning to meet and greet others. I think as people with good news to share, we have to take advantage of these opportunities.

  • Mark says:

    Although evangelicals tend to not mention anything about the dead even going so far as to be cold to mourners, the next two days are All Saints and All Souls. These have meaning and are very Christian. It would be good for them to be brought back.

  • Keep in mind all this “ancient Celtic” stuff is just a modern myth. The ancient Celts didn’t have anything even remotely resembling Halloween:

    http://albiston.com/everything-youve-heard-about-the-history-of-halloween-is-wrong/

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