Today’s post is not for everyone. I’m writing with a very particular reader in mind- the parent who feels unsettled about celebrating Halloween and is looking to hear from others on the topic. If you love Halloween and have no conviction and have decided there is nothing wrong with Halloween, today’s post is not for you. I am not writing to convince anyone that my thoughts are right and yours are wrong. I’m simply sharing the conviction I had over Halloween and the path our family has taken. I have to get that out there because I’ve written on this topic before and had a storm of opposition.
I didn’t want to write on this topic again but God had other ideas. I tried ignoring Him. He wouldn’t let up. So here goes.
I grew up loving Halloween. I trick or treated until I was much too old to go door to door. We didn’t celebrate evil. It was good clean fun. We’d set about our neighborhood with friends and family, spending hours combing the neighborhood. Sometimes a Halloween party. Games, costumes, laughter, friends. Nothing harmful. We weren’t casting spells and summoning the dead.
Fast forward to adult life. We began celebrating Halloween with our children giving no thought to evil. After all, we weren’t doing Halloween that way. We were dressing as lions and firefighters. We were having bonfires with friends. We were laughing and strolling the streets doing our wholesome thing.
God convicted me. Jacob was about 4 years old, I was driving and a sermon came on the radio about why christians should have no part of Halloween. Initially, I listened and scoffed. How ridiculous. Halloween is evil for some but not for my family. I turned the channel.
Another sermon on Halloween. This one a bit darker, more eye-opening. This one about the satanic worship that goes on that night. I listened then went about my business. That is for people who have dabbled in the occult. That isn’t for me and my family. We aren’t doing Halloween this way. But something kept gnawing at me.
I began asking myself some questions. I spend my time telling my kids not to take candy from strangers, now I tell them go to that stranger and take candy. I’m taking my kids out on a night that truly there are those offering human sacrifices and worshiping satan. It’s real whether we want to admit it or not. We live in a time that I don’t trust walking down the street with masked people. Really am I ok with surrounding myself with people in costume in this day and age? I have my kids gather candy only to throw it away when they aren’t looking. What is the point really? Those were side gnawings, the rolling over in my spirit though was the darkness I was placing my kids in. The mingling of dark and light by choice.
God wouldn’t stop. He began to bombard me with articles, testimonies of friends, and sermons. I shared with a friend that I felt convicted about Halloween and thought God was trying to get my attention. She laughed and said, “Oh it’s just that time of year. Of course you will see so much out there about the dangers. That’s not God getting your attention.”
I don’t know about you, but when God wants me to get a message, He is pretty persistent. It comes at me from every direction. It didn’t stop. Then I received the transcript of a sermon from someone that God used to open my eyes in such a way that we stopped Halloween and never turned back.
I wish I had that sermon to share with you. If I find it, I’ll update this post. He explained the history of Halloween and how christians began celebrating it. When you have knowledge about something, you can’t un-know it. When you know, you know. At that point, you are responsible for the knowledge. God brought me knowledge. Now that I knew, what would we do with that knowledge?
You can research Halloween and form a solid case on either side. I mean a firm, solid case. I did just that. I’ve also had the debates with friends in the early days. I’m not interested in debating this topic because it’s settled in my heart. I know God wanted our family out of Halloween.
I had friends argue about Christmas and say if we didn’t celebrate Halloween we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. They both have pagan origins and demonic practices attached to it.
Spend about 5 minutes searching if Christians should celebrate Halloween and you will be convinced on both sides of the argument. Kirk Cameron is a huge proponent of Halloween. I couldn’t disagree with him more. I agree we should be reaching out to our neighbors with the gospel, but why does it have to be tied to Halloween? How about a non-Halloween block party any other time than Halloween. What happened to being ok with not being in the world?
Relevant Magazine has a very interesting article that uses a condescending, belittling tone to those who question the celebrating of Halloween. I’ve read John Piper responding to Halloween as if it’s no big deal. You can find whatever you want out there and make your case. From people you respect and admire and agree with mostly.
Churches have embraced the world’s holiday. They host trunk or treats.
I would urge you to lean only on God. He will make clear to you if you are in the place I was in.
The sermon that really changed how I viewed Halloween said if you remove something, you should replace it with something better. In other words, if you take away Halloween, replace it for the kids. That is what we did. We take the kids out to eat, we rent a family movie, make popcorn, eat candy, and spend the evening together. Doesn’t sound exciting but our kids love our tradition.
I have other friends who don’t celebrate Halloween and early on I asked if their kids rebelled against that. Not only did our kids never fight us on it, they embraced our convictions. We shared honestly what Halloween represents, the realities of what happens on Halloween around the world regardless of how one chooses to celebrate it. And we read from the Bible what God says about witchcraft, occult practices, etc. We talked about how we are instructed to love what is lovely and praiseworthy. We discussed that the Bible tells us we are like aliens. We will not always fit in and be popular, doing what the world does.
Our family isn’t new to making choices that are unpopular with the world. Satan would love for us to make decisions that help our kids fit in the world. But God is good and He honors our convictions. We don’t explain to our kids in a way that makes us feel we are missing out (because we aren’t, we are actually gaining something). Instead we share the why’s behind what we do. We share our hearts with them. When they understand the heart and passion, when they see that we live out our convictions, something happens in them that is pretty amazing. They begin to make decisions based on God’s Word, convictions of the Holy Spirit, and principles. They are growing up being ok with being set apart, which is what I hope for them anyway.
This isn’t legalism, which is what some argued. We’ve shared with our kids that God convicted our family, but we are not to judge others. God speaks different things at different times to people as they are ready to hear it. Sometimes people operate out of lack of knowledge or lack of conviction. We don’t judge their decisions. Some of my best friends adore Halloween and disagree with me completely. I still love them and don’t change my opinion of them or think them less of a christian. Not at all.
This is a good article – What is Halloween and Should a Christian Celebrate?
We found a book at the christian bookstore when our kids were little that we read every year. Mommy, Why Don’t We Celebrate Halloween?
We’ve been made fun of, called legalists, laughed at, but it’s ok really. I know without a doubt God asked our family to stop celebrating Halloween. I don’t try to convert people to join the non-Halloween camp. God can do that. When people ask if we celebrate Halloween, I share a simple, “No, we don’t.” If they want more, I offer more. Usually, they look at me strangely and quickly change the subject.
If you have felt a gnawing in your spirit over Halloween, don’t ignore it.
When we settled on our decision to step away from Halloween, we realized that choosing not to partake is something we would never regret. When I step into eternity, I’m not going to look back and say, “Man I wish I had dressed my kids up and gone trick or treating.”
Do we have freedom in Christ to participate in Halloween? Yes. Does it mean it’s good for us? Not necessarily. I have no regrets from our decision. At 13, 11, and 7 our boys don’t either. They don’t feel they’ve lost anything. They’ve had family, movie, treats, and memories. What more would they want?