Should Christians avoid Halloween? Do haunted houses, scary costumes, jack-o-lanterns, and black cats indicate that this is off-limits for Christians? How does God want us to approach one of the weirdest celebrations in America?
It’s no secret Halloween has its roots dating back to the ancient Celtics and their pagan views about the spirit world. Just Google “History of Halloween”, and you will find more than you ever wanted to know about its origins. The bottom line: Halloween is anything but Christian. So what does that mean for Christians? Is it wrong to be participating in Halloween? It seems like a no-brainer, right?
Well, not so fast. Let me suggest a couple of things to consider:
1. Christians Have Victory Over Spiritual Darkness
1 John 4:3-4 – … every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Throughout scripture, we are informed about a spiritual battle taking place between the forces of darkness (i.e. Satan) and the Lord. We also know Jesus has won the battle at the cross and provides that same victory to every Christian. Therefore, Christians don’t need to be afraid of the forces of darkness because we are protected in Christ. So even though Halloween may have spiritually dark pagan roots, Christians don’t need to be afraid, withdraw, or hide. No matter how spooky Halloween may seem to you, don’t be spooked. You are not at risk, Jesus has you covered!
2. It’s Time to Highjack Halloween for Christ!
Matthew 5:14-16 – You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Just in case you didn’t know, almost every holiday that Christians celebrate contains some sort of ancient pagan influence. Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s, and even birthdays all contain pagan practices. This is because Christians hijacked (in a good way) a pre-existing pagan celebration and Christianized it. They shined the light of Jesus right in the middle of spiritual darkness. This is why we have a hard time making a connection between Jesus and Christmas trees or the Resurrection and an Easter bunny. These are still some of the harmless leftovers from pagan celebrations.
For some reason, Halloween has been slow on the hijacking curve. Christians have created alternatives to Halloween (e.g. harvest festivals, Fall carnivals, etc.), but these seem to avoid Halloween rather than shine a light on it. But if we are really going to make a difference, we must integrate, not avoid. This is good missional thinking, right? For Halloween, the mission field is right outside your front door in your neighborhood.
This Halloween, people will be walking up and down the street, knocking on each other’s doors, handing out candy, and interacting with each other. This is not the time for you to leave and go to an alternative gathering. Think about it, when does this ever happen? Halloween is a huge outreach opportunity to stay at home and be intentional for Jesus! I have found it to be an awesome experience and a way to build relationships, invite people to church, reconnect later, etc.
Here are a few suggestions I’ve tried that may be helpful to you:
- Set up an outdoor “Greeting Station” on your driveway (table, chairs, etc.)
- Provide free coffee, cider, hot chocolate, etc. for parents walking with children
- Proactively introduce yourself, engage in conversations, and build relationships
- Hand out “generous” quantities of candy to the children who are trick or treating
- Tell parents about children’s events that your church is hosting, and invite them
- Pray, ask God for divine opportunities, have fun, and watch God work!
If you’re a parent walking your child around the neighborhood to trick or treat, you can also shine the light of Jesus. Introduce yourself, make conversation, look for future opportunities to invite or reconnect, and see how the Lord may work.
So don’t be afraid, withdraw, or consider Halloween to be off-limits, instead get out there and shine the light of Jesus to make it a truly “Happy” Halloween!
What do you do on Halloween? I’d love to hear. If you have any other tips on making Halloween a more positive experience, share them with us here.