What To Do With Halloween

Posted: October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

Engaging the culture around us can be extremely challenging at times. Being in the world but not of the world while remembering that we have been sent on a mission to reach others with the gospel demands a great deal of wisdom, grace and humility. And in light of what we have just finished looking at in Romans 14 while reflecting on today’s holiday, I thought I’d share some helpful thoughts from the folks over at The Resurgence

Halloween has an uneasy history with the church; Christians have not always been sure what to do with a holiday of apparently pagan origins. Is Halloween unredeemable, such that any Christian participating in the holiday will necessarily compromise their faith? Is it something Christians can participate in as a cultural celebration with no religious ramifications? Or is there the opportunity for Christians to emphasize certain aspects of our own faith within the holiday?

The Christian church has tried to deal with Halloween in many ways throughout the centuries. It has been rejected as demonic and pagan, subsumed into (medieval) Christian ritual, and accepted unthinkingly as harmless fun.

An informed understanding of the history of Halloween and the biblical freedom Christians have to redeem cultural practices (1 Cor. 10:23-33) leads to the conclusion that Christians can follow their conscience in choosing how to approach this holiday.

Just how Christians ought to go about redeeming or receiving Halloween is still a tricky subject. In order to navigate the waters successfully, one must always distinguish between the merely cultural aspects of Halloween and the religious aspects of the holiday. In the past the church has tried to redeem the religious aspects of Halloween by adding a church holiday. But again, this is a questionable area. It seems that Christians can easily receive (with wisdom) some cultural aspects of the holiday, and there is some potential for the pagan cultural practices to be redeemed—but care must be taken. 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. Therefore it’s naïve 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.

BE MISSIONAL

I think Halloween is one of the best opportunities to be missional throughout the year. Every year, my family and I get together with some other families for a meal and then we go through a small, kid-friendly neighborhood together to collect candy. It is very innocent. Every year I have a chance to talk about Christ as we walk through the neighborhood. Don’t miss the moments and opportunities that the Lord may be giving you to share and live out your faith.

SET BOUNDARIES

I am not advocating a wholesale celebration of Halloween. Much of it is dark and can introduce your children to the occult. I encourage you to use discernment, prayer, and set boundaries as needed. There are times when we can and should say no if it is going to compromise our faith in Christ. I can’t tell you what to do in every situation—how that plays out depends entirely on you and your context.

TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN

Talk to your children about Halloween. Tell them about the history behind it and warn them about the dark side that can and does so often get associated with the holiday. Children are smart, and Halloween can be a teaching time to share with your children and others the gospel of Christ.

DON’T JUDGE OTHERS

Lastly, don’t judge others when it comes to celebrating Halloween. Good Christians can and do disagree on this issue. Some Christians feel very strongly about not celebrating Halloween while others have no problem with it at all. I believe that it is an open-handed issue, and that each Christian must seek the Lord and obey their conscience. You have to decide what is right for you and your family when it comes to celebrating Halloween.

“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.” – Romans 14:5-6 (ESV)

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