Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s absolutely gorgeous! I love the pumpkins, the falling leaves, and of course drinking hot chocolate on a cool autumn day. There is, however, one thing I’m somewhat torn over… Halloween. Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
Don’t get me wrong. I would love nothing more than to dress my adorable little girls up in cute costumes and then show them off as we go door to door. There’s just one problem. As a Christian, how do I justify my Christian beliefs with Halloween? Can I still live out my faith and participate in this holiday event?
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As a child, my family never celebrated Halloween. We would actually go out for pizza to avoid the trick-or-treaters. (And there were definitely no complaints from me and my brother about that!) Honestly… I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. I had plenty of opportunities to dress up as a child, and my parents loved chocolate just as much as I did so we certainly didn’t need a holiday to have the occasional treat!
Growing up in the church, I heard several schools of thought regarding Halloween. One view taught that it was a harmless holiday. As long as we didn’t dress up as “evil” characters or partake in “evil” activities, we were fine to celebrate just like everyone else. Others taught that we should avoid Halloween altogether. They pointed to its roots and claimed that we would be participating in demonic activity to even dress up. And then there are “harvest parties.” As a kid, I remember church harvest parties being all the rage, and many churches still do this today. They use Halloween as an outreach event. Children are able to dress up, play games for candy, and celebrate harvest time.
I personally believe that when it comes to celebrations and holidays, the only thing that matters is our hearts. What are we celebrating? But this is the question I struggle with most when it comes to Halloween…
Nearly every other holiday we observe in this country gives honor to something worth celebrating. Yes, some of them have questionable roots and histories, but our modern culture chooses to celebrate differently. Throughout the year, we celebrate love, the resurrection of Christ, mothers and fathers, the birth of our nation, the things we are thankful for, the birth of Jesus, etc. Even St. Patrick’s Day honors the saint who brought Christianity to the Irish. These holidays remind us of how truly blessed we are, and they all give us something worth celebrating.
Does Halloween give us anything worth celebrating?
Look around. It’s pretty clear what Halloween is all about. I can’t even watch the television commercials. Everything is about fear. During the month of October, we get a healthy dose of witchcraft, zombies, graveyards, horror films, ghosts, haunted houses… and the list goes on.
Halloween seems pretty innocent when you have toddlers dressing up as princesses and superheroes, but the holiday itself is truly a fright fest, to say the least. Even my daughters’ favorite children’s shows are all about “spooks” and “frights.” Sure, they’re deemed age-appropriate, but they are about fear nonetheless.
(Side note… is it just me, or has the adult side of Halloween changed in recent years? Not only are we celebrating fear, but the costumes are becoming more and more revealing. It’s almost as if Halloween has become an excuse to dress in a way you would never dream of dressing any other day of the year… just saying.)
The Bible is pretty clear that the vast majority of the things associated with Halloween are not of God. The Israelites were told the following in the book of Deuteronomy:
When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. – Deuteronomy 18:9-13
The New Testament also discusses witchcraft and fortune-telling. Not only are they not of God, but the Bible tells us that they are actually the work of demons. In the book of Acts, we learn that it is by the power of a demonic spirit that a young girl is able to predict the future (Acts 16:16-18).
Again I ask, what are we celebrating? I personally don’t believe there is anything wrong with attending harvest parties with your family and honoring harvest time. This is a wonderful thing to celebrate, and I believe God honors our hearts when we are thankful to Him for all He has blessed us with. On the other hand, if most of your Halloween plans include fear, death, and the demonic, you may need to rethink where your heart is at.
Jesus died on the cross to keep us from death and the forces of evil, yet we so willingly subject ourselves to fear and death when we partake in frightful Halloween activities. We make light of these things and pretend they are no big deal. If they truly were “no big deal,” why did Christ have to die? And why does His Word tell us to flee from these things?
How can we celebrate fear and death when Jesus died on a cross to save us from these very things?
So as we head into this season of spooks and frights, let’s choose to pay attention to what we are truly honoring. Instead of celebrating fear and death, perhaps as Christians, we should be celebrating life and our freedom from fear.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear… – 1 John 4:18
Join us in the month of October as we study our freedom from fear! Click on the graphic below (or HERE) to join our weekly newsletter and download this month’s Bible reading plan!
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.