When I picture Halloween, the first thing that comes to my mind is creepy, scary, decorations of skeletons, ghosts, and spiderwebs. Sometimes it is hard to understand what this holiday is all about it. Is it candy? Being scared? Evil? Growing up I believed that this was the devil’s holiday, and the church was trying to redeem it. So being a pastor’s kid, Halloween was more about Harvest and Fall festivals at church. I remember friends going trick-or-treating, and thinking that going to church to get candy was way more fun than going door-to-door. We had games at church, and I loved games (still do). Going door-to-door just didn’t seem as much fun.
I was a pastor’s kid, so everything we did seemed to have a magnifying glass on it. One year we went to our church’s Fall Festival and as we drove home, my mom noticed that kids were still going to door-to-door. She suddenly sounded giddy and exclaimed that it would be alright to go to a couple of houses. It was my first trick-or-treating experience, and although it was fun, I felt a little guilty for participating. Year after year there always seemed something more fun to do on Halloween rather than going door-to-door. My parents were never legalistic about it. Halloween was just about getting dressed up and having fun.
Then through my teenage years, I convinced myself that I liked to be scared. It started out with scary movies, then it included haunted houses. I seemed to like the challenge of overcoming being scared. It became like an immunity that I was trying to build up. I was convinced that these things didn’t affect me.
It wasn’t until my college years that I began to process the effects of these scare challenges. There are memories that I have from movies and haunted house scenes, that I will never forget. Immunity to violence and horror was not something I wanted, nor was it good for my spiritual or emotional well-being. With immunity came a loss of innocence, a loss of purity, a loss of sensitivity–all of which I began to miss in myself. I stopped trying to find my scare limit, and I began limiting my scare moments. I haven’t regretted it since.
This week I kept finding interesting posts about Halloween. It created quite the discussion on my facebook page, so I wanted to share the articles with our community.
Why Jesus would Trick or Treat? So why would he? Because He would be available to His neighbors, He would embrace the opportunity to interact and love on His neighbors. He would give out the best candy. He probably wouldn’t turn his light off to declare his lack of participation.
10 Reasons I Kissed Halloween Goodbye In this article, she explains several reasons to not participate and even provides scripture to support her beliefs. “Hold onto what is good. Be separate from the world.”
Halloween has never been a Christian holiday. The foundations of Halloween are occultic, and the symbols and traditions we continue today all have roots in pagan practices. God tells His people over and over again to avoid all pagan rituals and traditions.–Michelle Blake
Here we have 2 opposing views about Halloween–both with valid points. As a Christ follower and a mom, I find myself wanting to have a deeper understanding of what traditions my family has and why. It’s often challenging to discern where to draw the line.
Then a friend sent me this article. Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies. I’m not a historian, nor a theologian, but I must say this article seems legit. In some ways it tells a story that is counter intuitive to what I’ve always thought. Halloween is a pagan evil celebration, that Christians try to redeem. What if I have the story wrong? What if Halloween was a Christian holiday, that pagans have tried to steal?
Halloween, Reformation Day, All Saints’ Day is a very special day of the year for the Christian Church. We commemorate all saints past, present, and future with the confession that we cannot save ourselves with our own works, no price we could ever pay would be good enough. But Christ has paid for the whole world. And all believers in Christ, and these are the Saints, will be raised on the last day to eternal life. Reclaiming Halloween means knowing where it comes from, why the day was established, and the historical significance it holds for the Christian Church. Satan and the world are always willing to undermine and steal anything that is of value to the confession of the truth of Scripture. Let us not fall prey to the lies.–Pastor Joseph Abrahamson
Obviously, we each have to draw the line somewhere. The influence of evil in this holiday is real. During the month of October, my kids are often scared while driving around and looking at houses, not to mention going shopping and seeing store displays. It’s very hard to explain this to little eyes and impressionable hearts. The line between not being of this world and being culturally relevant and approachable can be gray. But the truth that God redeems through His grace alone, is a reason for us all to celebrate. Everyone’s level of participation in Halloween may look different, but if our hearts are truly wanting to glorify God, then we can’t go wrong.
How do you participate in Halloween? What do your kids think of Halloween?