So today is Halloween!!! This is a day that has always been full of thoughtful consideration for me in years past so this time I have decided to write out in full my views on the subject. Let me note the following is mainly my own personal journey but the conclusion that I have reached is the same as the other members that post here in ProclaimingHisGlory.
I grew up in a family that not only didn’t celebrate Halloween, but genuinely thought it was wrong to and harmful for children to participate in. A lot of this was from our local church and the mindset that was enforced by my parents always stuck with me. Now please don’t get me wrong, I love and respect my parents and how they came to their position. From their perspective they were trying to keep their kids as safe as possible and set apart from worldly practices. I appreciate their protection and guidance in my early years and how it has shaped who I am today. The reason for this post though is because over time I have come to change my mind on Halloween and I wanted to share the progression of how this happened.
Halloween to me was always a very dark day. The whole idea of trick or treating and dressing up as spooky characters just seemed to be explictly giving permission to the way the world celebrated it. Whatever happened to being “transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Rom 12:2) and dwelling on “whatever is pure and lovely” (Phil 4:8)? While I understood many of my Christian friends who would participate in all of the usual activities didn’t do so with the intention of acting like the world, I always asked myself the question aren’t we supposed to look differently? Ever since I have had a pretty strong emotional and spiritual rejection of Halloween. Even the smallest dressing up, like a baby or a crayon, just seemed like an excuse to cover up or “lighten” the obvious fact that your just trying to join in on the same fun as the world instead of not conforming to the patterns of the world.
The strange thing is, even though I still spiritually and emotionally feel that way, intellectually I’m just not convinced anymore. There were a few reasons that hit me while I was reading about other’s views on Halloween that seemed to make sense.
One is how I think its a double standard when I respond to other Christians who don’t celebrate Chrismas because of its pagan roots and yet I turn around and look down on Christians who celebrate Halloween because of its pagan roots. What I often point out to those that reject Christmas for those reasons is that its a genetic fallacy when a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone’s origin rather than its current meaning or context. Some historians think that the wedding ring was originally a sign of bondage that showed the wives were to be held captive by their husbands in ancient societies. Does that mean everyone should throw out their wedding rings now because we don’t reject that? No of course not. Christmas, I often say, is an example of Christians taking a day to purposefully celebrate our saviors birth. That is how we view it despite whatever its original historical purpose may have been.
The thing is, I never thought of that with regards to Halloween. If those that point out the pagan roots of Christmas are correct, and they have done a lot of historical research so I’m pretty certain they are, many of the things that are “traditional” to do on Christmas, like putting up a tree, recognizing it on December 25th etc are just as pagan and occult as some of the supposed horrible Halloween origins. The reason we do it on Christmas is because A. Most don’t know about them. and B. we don’t use those things for the same purpose now. Why can’t the same be the case with Halloween?
Well isn’t that an example of a Christian compromising on his spiritual convictions because he just wants to participate in a worldly holiday for fun and candy? Possibly, but it doesn’t have to be. Now I’m coming to think its a matter of conscience and Christian liberty. Like I said before, for those friends of mine who have studied the origin of Christmas they honestly feel like they can’t in good conscience celebrate the day because they feel like they would be giving support to what they have learned.
I, on the other hand, always grew up thinking the point of the Christmas tree was supposed to point to Christ because of the Star on the top. Our family would even have a manager set and Jesus wouldn’t come out until Christmas day! Each child in our family only got three gifts from our parents because the wise men only gave three gifts. I mean hey we even had a birthday cinnamon role for Jesus before we opened presents! I look back now and see the symbolism and realize just how different our family was, but growing up that was just the way things were so I considered it normal. Why can’t there be the same redeeming quality about Halloween? I doubt I will ever come to see it the way I can with Christmas because my early childhood was filled with sadness and even confusion over all the christian friends I had that would celebrate it for no other reason then to get candy but perhaps there is some way to redeem Halloween and use it to Proclaim His Glory.
I read a blog today that pointed out how Christians today show more fear of paganism when they hide in their homes and do everything they can NOT to celebrate Halloween, instead of recognizing that Jesus has already won the day! Today is a day HE has made! We should rejoice and be glad in it. We show confidence in the finished work of Christ and his power over death when we go forth and boldly preaching the Gospel on this night perhaps even while trick or treating. I mean what better time to show zero fear over death or demonic activities? You give me candy and I will give you a Gospel track. Or you give me candy, and I’ll pray for you.
Finally, consider 1 Corinthians 10:23-33. In this passage Paul says “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” Ultimately, I see Halloween as a matter of Christian liberty. We need to follow our conscience and I will say for myself I don’t think I will ever be able to dress up, but nor will I look down on those that do. Paul continues “Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience.”
This is particularly interesting because the meat could have in fact been offered in some pagan ritual and was later being sold at the market. Yet Paul says this is not for the Christian to question nor is it important to worry about, what we need to remember is “For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”. He goes on to say “If someone says to you “This has been offered in sacrifice” then do not eat it for the sake of the one who informed you and for the sake of conscience- I do not mean your conscience but his.” This is important as well because we need to note that the reason Paul is saying don’t eat it isn’t because the meat is bad in someway. Its because it may affect the attitude of another who doesn’t follow the same freedom in Christ that they have. In verse 30 we see “If I partake with thankfulness why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This needs to be the focus of whatever it is you do tonight. Whether its trick or treating, harvest festing, or staying home with your lights off and your door locked so as not to attract the neighbors make sure the glory of God is your focus. Especially on a night with as much activity as this.
In the spirit of Reformation Day I’ll rest my case with Martin Luther: “”The best way to drive out the Devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.”