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A Biblical Perspective on Halloween
I grew up in a conservative, but not legalistic family that did not celebrate Halloween and I also thought they were just being “silly and overreacting”, you know kids. However, now being 23, I’ve had to think through these issues for myself.
My gut reaction to anything horror, witches, ghosts, or questionably alive (zombies) is repulsion. Now, that’s just me being me. When I think about /why/ it is I would not celebrate Halloween or let my children (first coming in April!) partake in it is because of the inherently evil qualities found in the holiday. My question ultimately is why celebrate dead things, scary things, or things that are in opposition to truth, light and goodness? I have yet to hear a sufficient answer for this question. Most of the answers are “oh, it’s innocent, people just like to get scared, etc etc…”. I don’t find those very convincing. And why expose tender eyes and minds to darkness and evil? Sure, that lady dress up as a witch’s intention’s may not be evil, but her appearance of being evil is enough to have an effect on a child’s mind. Should we desensitize our children to these things? Do /I/ want to be desensitized to them?
Do I think we should put our children in a bubble and never let them watch anything with any remote appearance of evil in it? No. It’s one thing to watch the Wizard of Oz where evil is put forth as what it is, evil. It’s quite another to /celebrate/ that evil. That is what we and they will ultimately be doing if you’re really and truly honest with yourself about it. Halloween isn’t about candy and it isn’t about playing dress up…those are aspects of /how/ it is celebrated, but it isn’t what we are actually celebrating or even merely enjoying.
I may be getting a bit philosophical, but it isn’t the costumes, the distorted plastic to look like zombies or the styrofoam tombstones that are inherently evil. It is the idea and message of what is being portrayed. That evil isn’t evil, it’s actually something enjoyable and something that should be praised and celebrated.
Our culture today is about presenting sin, evil and harmful things as being ok. They are pushing for the acceptance of things that are harmful to yourself and to others. They are pushing that sin be abolished and non existent. I believe that Halloween (I am not calling it sinful nor a sin) is merely another way that we can present evil things as being ok to enjoy and celebrate.
Finally, I am a Christian who believes that Scripture is without error and speaks clearly and speaks truth. Why, when we should fill our minds with everything opposite what we are commanded to fill it with? Why would I read Philippians 4:8 to my child one night and then turn around the next and let him/her fill their minds with things that could potential scare them, give them nightmares and try to have fun doing it and tell them it’s ok?
I don’t want to be legalistic in this issue. I am not going to call it a sin and I am not going to condemn those doing it. I believe it is a matter of conscience and merely stated in this comment, what brought me to believe what I do about celebrated Halloween. I personally have always had an aversion to “dark” looking things, but my convictions and reason in this matter, I hope, have proved that I have thought past my personal reactions to the holiday and have taken it up Theologically and in a reasonable manner.
p.s. I didn’t exactly sit down with the intent of writing all that!
the Lord has also been tugging on my heart this halloween season….just today i received our costumes for fall festival at church. my husband and i have been very reluctant to participate but since they call it fall festival and and since it is at church, does that make it okay?
i really love this article because it confirms everything i have felt in my heart about it. it is funny that some of my BEST memories of childhood are of Halloween….running from house to house with all my brothers and sisters, seeing whose bag would break first. But here’s the thing, it is wrong to celebrate it! This is the first year we will not have a jacko lantern.
what stood out to me most was that Halloween is the only day of the year when pagans and Christians celebrate the same God…..man have we been fooled!!!! lets take the blindfold off Christians and put a stop to this in our homes and churches….thank you so much for sharing!!!
I guess I’m not alone! Halloween and its purpose have been on my mind all week. I’m not quite sure where the trick or treating ritual began and I’m quite sure I wouldn’t want to.
My son’s first Halloween was quite lovely. He was only a few months old so I put him in a pumpkin suit and snapped some pictures. Since then, I’ve been blessed that he has chosen Spiderman, a Ninja Turtle and Iron Man for his costumes. But my stepdaughter’s mother bought her the costume last year; my stepdaughter was an angel and the mother dressed as the devil. That pretty much guaranteed we wouldn’t be participating this year.
I’m not sure how I’m going to approach my feelings with the childen. I thought I could get a movie to rent and we could make rice krispie treats and stay home. It’s important that they know why I’m against Halloween but don’t want them to think they’ve done something wrong in enjoying it every year.
I don’t mind the lengthy blogs. I think it’s worth looking into. Scripture does go against Halloween. I’m teaching my children every day that God is always with them, loves them so very much and that we are to obey and follow His word. Seems contradictory when we slap devil and serial killer costumes on them! And let’s face it, in today’s society, we don’t need to make light of any evildoers!
OK, I’m confused, you caught my attention when you said you felt like Jonah turning from God and felt led to post this article which is good and scriptural, yet you have an ad banner on your blog advertising Howloscream at Bush gardens with a vampire on it no less……….something is in the gray here, you either believe it or not?
Many times, a blogger doesn’t have a choice what add displays on their blog. It could have been an accident or it could have been a add that a particular company she signed with displayed that she did not originally know about. I wouldn’t be so quick to judge until the facts are known.
Cheryl – The ads on my site are served up by an ad network and I have set up filters. I try to monitor each ad, but I can’t guarantee what is being served up because each computer gets ads according to their demographics. If you could forward me the url for the ad, I can go in and block it. I am working on getting a Christian ad network so I don’t have to worry about those ads.
Thanks for the heads up!
Hi Kelly, you don’t see the ad?
No, they don’t show for everyone, they target you by your ISP, so I never know what is being served up to my readers. I try to filter as much as I can, but lots of ads try to get around the filters, and some do. If you can give me the url, I can filter it to not show up again. Thanks for understanding.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian family, but we also didn’t celebrate Halloween for the simple fact that my dad didn’t want us having much candy! Now that I’m “all grown up” with my own (Christian) family, my husband and I have made a decision to still have a little fun with it, but I definitely wouldn’t say it’s celebrated here, either! We take the kids to the local mall and let them dress up once and get some candy. I guess I see it as a little harmless fun. I very much understand your point, though, and in our church we’re probably in the minority that we do anything at all!
Our pastor made this point: Even if you don’t celebrate Halloween, still be generous with candy for the kids. When else will your neighbors come to you? It’s a perfect opportunity to connect with neighbors you may not normally see, making a connection with them.
And Cheryl, I don’t think she has much control over what ads are across the top of her blog. Right now I see “Hot Poker Action.”
I completely agree. In a society where we don’t always know our neighbors, Halloween can be a time to get to know them. I don’t believe that letting my little girl dress up as a bag full of jelly beans (Jelly Belly of course!) and walk around the neighborhood meeting the other children is evil.
In the same breath, I don’t want my children to dress up as Zombies and Ghosts. I think the argument can be made against evil being represented there. And I can only speak to our neighborhood, but when we look around, it is Princesses, Baseball players and cowboys. It is an opportunity for children to play dress up and get candy.
My belief is that we (as Christians) make too much of Halloween being about evil. Yes, facts are facts, history tells us what it is about. But what it is today is the second largest commercial holiday. Society as we know it has done that to all of our holidays.
As a kid I also didn’t celebrate Halloween for the simple reason, I am from Hungary, and we do not have this kind of celebration. November 1st is All Saints’ Day in the catholic church, “which commemorates the departed who have attained the beatific vision” (Wikipedia). On November 2nd which is All Souls’ Day, we remember friends and family members who have died. On the evening before, this means on the evening of All Saints’ Day we visit the tombs of our deseased people in the cemetery and put lighted candles on the tombs. The cemeteries are beautiful in this evening. Since I live here in the US, I can’t visit my deceased family members so I just light candles and put them at the windows. I try to explain to my children why I do this. Since in my environment everybody celebrates Halloween, I don’t want to exclude my children from the dress up part of Halloween, so we do go to the Zoo for a little trick or treating. They are so excited and are anxious looking forward to dress up! But personally I hate Halloween for the simple fact that is so commercialized and starting end of August until Halloween I can’t go to a simple drugstore with my 4-year old together, because she is so scared of the Halloween stuff in the store.
Melinda – nice to see another Catholic Christian on here. (I felt the article was a bit anti-Catholic with its inference that Pope Gregory IV was a heathen for his ordinance of All Souls Day.) We celebrate Easter (Christ’s death and resurrection) and All Souls Day. Honoring and paying respect to those who were martyrs for the Church, as well as our family and friends who have gone before us is no sin. I do think costumes should be positive, and what a great opportunity it would be to ask our children to dress up as their favorite saint for Halloween. And what about handing out candy that has a small prayer attached to it – how powerful of a message that could be for us as Christians to give our trick-or-treaters! Check out “Taking Back our Holy Halloween” on catholic.com. Take care.
Thank you for sharing your concern about the holiday. The document you posted contains excellent verses and advice beginning on page 6, but the “evidence” of the first five pages has absolutely no references. Where did the writer get this information? If it came from “an internet website,” it is hardly a credible resource. The Biblical approach to the holiday at the end is sufficient reasoning to tone down our celebration of the holiday, but the “history” of Halloween at the beginning of the article cannot be considered trustworthy unless the author gives some real documentation of where he or she gathered her information.
I don’t “honor” or “celebrate” (in it’s truest sense) anything that truly has anything to do with the origins of Halloween on October 31st or any other night of the year. In it’s current sense, Halloween only represents dressing up, going from house to house and getting some candy and perhaps attending a party. The children won’t have any idea of any ties to anything hundreds of years ago. All they know is that their friends get to play dress up and get candy. It doesn’t HAVE to mean anything more than that. It’s a harmless children’s holiday in it’s current sense and why take that away from the kids?
It sort of reminds me of a sermon my pastor gave about the biblical meaning of the Christmas Tree. Children probably don’t know it and it doesn’t have much of a bearing on Christmas morning to them. Halloween doesn’t have to hold any “bigger meaning” for them either.
If you live in and represent a faithful household your children aren’t suddenly going to question their Christianity just because you let them go trick-or-treating. Basically, I’m saying don’t make a bigger deal out of it than it actually is.
I am glad you posted this! I would always ask the question before choosing to celebrate anything or even watch certain movies or tv shows and listen to some music, as well. Is it compromise? Is it pure, holy, good and wholesome? God says to look on these things and to put these things in our hearts and minds!
I found this article to be an interesting read. Let’s not let our good be spoken evil of. If you guys think this is interesting please research the origin of Christmas.
My oldest child is now 27yrs. We haven’t participated in Halloween for about 20 yrs. (our youngest is 12 yrs.). We had to stand up against many with our decision to not be part of it. We’ve heard all the excuses & reasons for participating. However, God made it very clear to us that we were not to be part of the holiday at all. Why celebrate darkness? No, it’s not just a fun day. It’s a purposeful day with a dark, purposeful reason. We don’t hand out tracts or anything else. We simply don’t answer the door.
I agree, personally, with the old saying “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for everything.” I believe our society as a whole proves this to be true.
I agree that if something does not go against the Truth of Scripture, then why would we as men try to make rules up about it? Jesus rebuked those who did that. HOWEVER – Satan loves when we make something gray that is really black and white. He loves when we, over time, push the line further and further from the Truth until we finally see something as not a big deal. We just get desensitized after a while. Think about how this has happened with modesty, violence or promiscuity on television over the years. The line gets pushed further, and further until what used to be “w.r.o.n.g” is now “not a big deal”. We must examine what is cultural vs. what is biblical… and especially if we have been blessed with children who’s world and life view we shape each day. We would be poor stewards if we just blindly accepted something as fact when we have not examined it in light of scripture and determined if it simply seems right because it is part of our American Christian Culture of the day, when if fact, it goes against the entirety of scripture. However, if it does not go against scripture, then it would be wrong to label it as anti-biblical.
We don’t “celebrate” Halloween, we “participate” in an opportunity to dress up in my kids favorite costume and get candy. That is all the emphasis we place on it. This year though, it falls on Sunday, the Sabbath. We will not be trick-or-treating on the Sabbath as I believe it is not keeping the Sabbath day holy. Personal choice but we will find other methods to let my kids get candy, enjoy wearing a costume and have fun. It’s like Christmas. We participate with the whole “Santa” idea but always remind our kids that Santa is Jesus’ helper and we are all celebrating His birth. It all depends on what emphasis you place on it.
before we had kids of our own, we would prepare candy bags for trick or treaters including a kids’ gospel tract. we used this opportunity for God’s glory.
since our daughter was born on Oct 31, we concentrate on her birthday party and always dress up as something fun. we also consider the significance of Reformation Day.
when you have vampire laden kids’ meals at your local fast food store, it’s hard NOT to be offended if you are a believer of Jesus Christ.
in light of costumes and decorations, we can always refer to 3 John 11 which says, “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good.”
It’s all in how you approach it. My 20 month old son is dressing up as Elvis and we will take him to the local mall to visit the stores that give out candy. I don’t feel this is in violation of our Christian beliefs. And I agree with others above who will stay home and give out candy, this may be their only opportunity to speak to their neighbors and share their faith…. they could also give a Bible tract with the candy. Or write a scripture on a tag and attach it to bags of candy they will give out. Now as my son gets older and is exposed to the “dark side” of Halloween at school and other places, we may have to rethink how we handle it, but for now the way we approach it is innocent. I appreciate the information, Kelly, and will keep it for future reference.
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