This question comes up every year. Some Christians are adamant that Halloween should NOT be celebrated. Others have never given it a thought. If you’re in the latter category, maybe you saw a post on social media and it sent you looking for an unbiased, Christian opinion. If that’s you, welcome.
I’m not trying to sway you one way or another. Celebrate Halloween. Boycott Halloween. I don’t particularly care which camp you end up in. What I do hope to do is give you some food for thought so you can make a decision that you feel comfortable with, and most importantly, that you feel God is comfortable with.
Before we jump into anything else, let’s just check out the…
History of Halloween
If you’re interested in learning more about Halloween’s history, check out this article by The History Channel. Or do your own research. There’s a ton of information out there! For the rest of us, here are the cliff notes…
Halloween began as a pagan holiday.
Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.History.com
It was definitely not Christian.
Druids [Celtic priests] built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.History.com
Then, the Catholic Church hijacked Samhain.
In A.D. 1000, the church made November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It’s widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, church-sanctioned holiday.History.com
Halloween had a slow start in America, until…
In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft.History.com
In the 1900s Halloween morphed into what it is today.
By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide Halloween parties as the featured entertainment.HIstory.com
Is that an extensive explanation of the history of Halloween? Not hardly, but it gives you a very general overview. It started out very pagan and was eventually neutered of its true roots, though the shadow of its origins is very much alive and well.
Why Some Christians Boycott Halloween
The pagan roots and devilish decorations are enough to cause some Christians to skip Halloween, but what does the Bible say?
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Just like giving you an in-depth overview of the history of Halloween was not going to be ideal, going in-depth on this passage is unnecessary. If you want to read a great commentary on this passage, check it out here.
If you want the cliff notes, here are the big takeaways…
- Christians SHOULD be different.
- Christians SHOULD reject darkness.
- Christians SHOULD conduct themselves in a way that honors the Holy Spirit living inside of them.
Does that mean you should reject Halloween? I don’t know if I’m ready to say yes, since this passage is about way more than choosing to celebrate Halloween. However, I’ll definitely say maybe. If you have a background in the occult, then rejecting Halloween may be in your best interest. If you feel “icky” during the month of October (because of all the ghoul-ly decorations and such) then you should feel no pressure to participate.
But what about people who joyfully take part in Halloween? Is that ok?
Why Other Christians Celebrate Halloween
Paul is not suggesting that Christians never associate with unbelievers (he makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13). The principle is that we are to be in the world, but not of the world, like a ship should be in the water, but water shouldn’t be in the ship.enduringword.com
Sure, the pagan roots and devilish decorations are there, but some Christians feel completely fine celebrating the holiday because for them it’s about the community. Remember the historical information above? In the 1800s and 1900s, Halloween became less pagan and more community-centric.
For Christians who have considered whether they should celebrate Halloween or not, the decision comes down to being in the world, but not of the world. Quite a few churches have decided to redeem the holiday by offering community trunk-or-treats. Other churches encourage their congregants to take advantage of the opportunity to connect with their neighbors by creating fun and welcoming environments at their homes on Halloween.
There’s quite a bit of ungodliness in the air around Halloween, but that’s true every single day. We can’t just hide out in our houses all the time. As Christians, we have the ability, and the calling, to take hope to the world. If you’re in the ‘Boycott Halloween’ camp this next sentence is going to make your eyes bulge.
Halloween can actually be an opportunity to connect with non-Christians and put the Kingdom of God on display.
My Personal Story
When I became a Christian I had to reject a LOT of things. Personally, my mind was so confused on what was right and wrong, good and bad, that I had to get super extreme. I cut things, people, and placed out of my life in order to “come out” and “be separate.”
If you find yourself in that camp, or if you just feel convicted to not participate, you can make the decision to boycott Halloween this year.
Personally, after a decade and a half of following Jesus, I’ve found there are certain things I cut out of my life at the beginning of my walk that are unnecessary now. I couldn’t have non-Christian friends at the beginning. That’s much different now.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.1 Corinthians 10:23-24, 31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
The choice to participate or not participate in Halloween should be looked at like every other choice in life. Is it a salvation issue? If so, that’s yes or no, and the answer is the same for every single person for all time. If it’s not, a salvation issue the answer is different from person to person.
We simply have to ask if it’s beneficial for us and others around us. Whatever choices we make should always be for our good, for others’ good, and ultimately for the glory of God.
What do we do…?
There have been years where we didn’t participate, years where we’ve joined in with a church to put on a trunk-or-treat, and years where we’ve handed out candy and things at our house.
Our perspective is that Halloween is an opportunity to make connections with our neighbors. A couple of years ago, I went around the block with our daughter and introduced myself to over a dozen people I had never met before. Each year at Halloween our neighbors come out and I haven’t wanted to miss the opportunity to connect.
This year, we’ll be joining some friends at their house, since they live closer to our church. We want to take the opportunity to connect with families that need Jesus in that neighborhood, this year, and that brings me to my final point.
The choice you make this year doesn’t have to be the choice you make for the rest of your life. Celebrate this year. Don’t celebrate next year. Separate yourself one year. Show the love of Jesus the next.
Whatever choice you make, don’t do it out of fear. Don’t do it to please anyone other than Jesus. Consider if it’s good for you, if it’s good for others, and if it brings glory to God. If the answer is yes, then celebrate away! If not, shut off your lights and do something that does 🙂
Because there’s a better way,
question: what’s your perspective? Do you celebrate or boycott halloween, and why?
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