There is controversy over “celebrating” Halloween among the church. Some believe it should be avoided altogether, and others want to celebrate the innocent aspects. But I think the questions that Christians are asking isn’t really the right one.
11 years ago, in Rome, Italy, we had a dress up party on Halloween weekend. We invited 100 of our closest friends and strangers with one rule: no costume, no entry. Among the hostesses included a boxer, pirate, Anna Kournikova, and a cat. You know, your average costume.
The first 5 guests arrived and we laughed at the coincidence.
The next 10 came and we wondered what we were missing.
The next 20 convinced us of a truth we could no longer deny.
In Italy, “dressing up” for Halloween meant you were a witch, a goblin, or ghost. The party was an endless parade of scary people with face paint. Imagine their surprise being greeted at our door by Anna Kournikova.
People are bent out of shape about Halloween
The topic of Halloween is a divisive one. There are some who say not to stay home in fear, that the day can be celebrated and redeemed. I’d wager nearly all Christians who participate in Halloween do so without evil intent, spirit worship, or sorcery.
On the other hand, there are those who say Halloween is evil at its roots and should be completely avoided. They reference Scripture on avoiding evil, sorcery, and witchcraft and wonder why you’d want to go anywhere near it. How can a Christian celebrate such darkness?
This is a question many people ask.
“Can I celebrate Halloween?”
And the answer is, you can. You can do whatever you want as a free person and Christian who makes your own choices based on your own convictions. But I honestly don’t think that is the right question.
We need a better perspective
The truth of the matter is many families dress up their children, go get yummy candy, come home and go to bed. End of story. No worship. No sorcery. Nothing evil. This is their experience, and the experience they’ve had for the past 30 years, and that’s that. Anyone else must be wearing long skirts with long braids and going on about exorcism. Satan is relegated to a nuisance who causes some marital spats and tempts you to miss your quiet time.
And yet, throughout the world, Halloween (and the days before it and shortly after it) are universally recognized as days to worship the dead, offer sacrifices, conjure spirits (Ouija board), and place curses on others. This is not fantasy or a movie. I’m not dramatic or weird. If you don’t believe me then it is you, not I, that is deceived.
I lived in an affluent English county for two years. This area had active covens (groups of witches) who would “celebrate” Halloween by cutting heads off animals and leaving them on the property of believers. It was not a surprise to anyone. Especially not to Christians.
Participate, maybe?, but don’t try to redeem
As Christians we hate to give the devil any credit. In fact, may people suggest celebrating Halloween just to mock the devil. I think this is unwise and more importantly unbiblical. Jesus did not mock the devil, so I’m not sure who is leading this charge. If you’ve been exposed (whether in America or abroad) to the effects of witchcraft and the occult, you would not be laughing. Period.
I’ve long noticed a strange habits Christians have, myself included at times. It crops up when we’d like to do something, but aren’t sure if it’s “okay” as a Christian. Or when we find a grey area in the Scripture. Instead of just living in the grey and making our own choices, we try to redeem That Thing. We try to take it back for our own. We try to “redeem it” so we still feel sanctified.
- Hosting yoga classes inside the church does not redeem yoga. Even non Christians know yoga is spiritual, let’s not pretend it isn’t. Just do the stretches if that’s your goal, but hosting yoga classes in a church building won’t redeem it.
- Having a Harry Potter Bible Study does not redeem the occult. If you want to read the books for entertainment value then just do it. You might learn about God from any source, but that doesn’t redeem the occult.
- Hosting a haunted house in your church doesn’t redeem Halloween. If you want to dress up and eat candy, then do it. Don’t try to redeem it by bringing it into the church.
Jesus came to redeem people. Not books, bars, holidays or the occult. It’s a mark of maturity to be okay with your decisions without having to make them into something they are not.
We can make our own decisions, but we can’t bury our heads in the sand
It is too late, wise friend, to say that Halloween shenanigans are only superstitions. All over this country and the world evil things take place on Halloween night. Does this mean don’t take your kids down the street to get candy? That’s not what I said. Each family makes their own choices. But as we make our choices, we cannot do so with our heads in the sand.
Evil things that regularly happen on Halloween:
- blood rituals
- animal torture and sacrifice
- ritual sexual abuse on children and adolescents
- conjuring spirits
- Satan worship
- fertility rituals
I am not crazy, I am not exaggerating, I’m not making it up. If you don’t believe me or the many reputable sources who say the same, well, I just don’t know what to tell you. That said, there are a whole lot of non evil things happening on Halloween night as well.
Non evil things that regularly happen on Halloween:
- kids dress up in fun costumes
- pumpkins are carved
- families spend time together
- people pray for the lost
- hayrides are taken
- candy is eaten
- Reformation Day is celebrated
- saints are honored (All Saint’s Day)
- communities and neighbors come together
The real question you must ask yourself as a Christian
Let’s agree to stop asking if Christians can celebrate Halloween. Or to stop trying to take back Halloween as though it was ours in the first place. But instead to make grown up decisions we can all stand by. This may look different for each family, and that’s okay.
The question is not whether the occult is overactive on Halloween. Because it is. The question is not whether eating candy or dressing up is evil. Because it isn’t. The question is this…
“Do I feel okay taking part in the harmless, innocent, and fun aspects of Halloween, knowing its evil associations?”
If you can answer that question yes, then enjoy yourselves.
If you can’t, don’t.
No redemption necessary.
(I do not endorse Christians sinning, my point is that we often try to make grey things black or white just so we don’t have to live in the grey. Things that are not as blatantly black and white (like whether dressing up is okay) must be decided individually but with wisdom. )
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