So I wasn’t going to talk about Halloween here, I reaallllly wasn’t. I want this space to be full of happiness, positivity, yummy food, and moments to remember. Yes, there is great tragedy all around us every day, and those big things that really matter, the scary things that change lives and reset directions, seem to be more and more at the forefront of the lives of those we love every day, but I want this blog to be an escape from that, temporary though it may be.
But when enough people I love and respect have a strong opinion on something that I neither love nor respect, I get pretty uncomfortable. And when I get uncomfortable I am not the type to be quiet. This is definitely not one of my greatest strengths, so I held off writing this post for another week, and another week, convinced that this time I could stay quiet rather than throw my opinion into the melee.
But alas, as in many a classroom, Bible Study group, or party setting, I was wiggling in my chair with the effort it took to mind my own business, and after much prayer and thought, writing and rewriting, I had put down my thoughts and wanted to share them and there ain’t no stopping me now :)
So Halloween is this week. Do you have plans?
We don’t dress up our kids, we don’t trick or treat or hand out candy to people at the door, we don’t decorate with spider webs, bloody fingers, cackling witches, or even jack o’lanterns…we just don’t.
But why? What’s the harm in Halloween? It’s just for fun and candy, right?
Sure it is. As much as Easter is about a giant bunny and colourful eggs. As much as Christmas is about Santa Clause and presents.
Which is to say, NOT AT ALL.
“Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)
One Christian Dad laid out some basic Halloween camps, and I’m sure most of you fall into one of those camps.
Yes, my neighbours may think I’m strange and no fun. Honestly, I’m pretty sure they already at least think I’m strange. I go to church every Sunday. I have 3 kids born within 4 years and yes, I know how it happens. My daughter goes to a Christian school she needs to be on a bus for 20 minutes to get to instead of the great neighbourhood school a minute up the street. I don’t let my 5-year-old daughter sell lemonade at the roadside with their kids in bikinis.
It’s not going to take Halloween for them to notice I’m different.
But it might take Halloween for them to think I’m really no different at all.
And that would break my heart.
Who do you think smiles when you dress up your kids oh-so-cutely and head out to say, “Trick-or-treat!”, nothing on your mind but how cute everyone looks and how good the haul will be? I’m pretty sure it’s the same guy that smiles when I yell at my kids, complain about the weather, get too busy to read the Bible, or ignore my husband. The same guy who smiles when I ignore the evidence of an impending end, with news reports of tsunamis, earthquakes, and civil wars barely registering in my thoughts or prayers.
And even if that’s NOT the case, even if the Devil only smiles at people dressed like witches, demons, and devils and ignores those dressed like bunnies, princesses, or tigers, I still don’t think my God and Saviour would get any pleasure from my participation in Halloween, regardless of my “motives”. If the motive isn’t God-centred, it’s not a motive worth considering. And I’ve yet to hear an explanation for “why we celebrate Halloween” that wasn’t completely person-centred. (If anyone HAS a well thought out argument for how they think celebrating Halloween pleases God, I would love to hear it!).
Please don’t think I consider myself so much better than those who participate in Halloween – I don’t. Nor do I think all who participate in Halloween are evil – not even close. I know most people have no evil intentions or associations relating to the day, and I like candy as much as the next guy, so free candy definitely has its appeal. I know people aren’t dressing up in order to placate the evil spirits or ward off the god of the dead. I have also never participated in Halloween, so I didn’t have to give up any fond memories or warm feelings – maybe that makes it easier for me to ignore it, as much as something can be ignored in just about every store window and front porch.
But personally, I don’t celebrate Halloween, and maybe this well help you understand why it makes me uncomfortable. One of the most powerful sayings I’ve ever heard is this: The Devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.
Those little words, “Trick or Treat”, spoken by a child guided by a parent into celebrating Halloween “just for fun” literally give me chills when I think of that quote. The Devil is real. He’s scary. And he wants our children. Let’s just turn the lock and not open the door.
If you’re prayerfully considering “giving up” Halloween or want to know more, I highly recommend this article. I do not have the way with words and explanations that some people do, and I tend to get too tied to emotion. This woman lays out 10 very clear, Biblically supported reasons to just leave Halloween alone, and I hope you take the time to read it if you’re on the fence.
November can’t get here soon enough :)
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” —Ephesians 5:6-10
I am impressed with how much thought that you have put into this, and your grammar is astounding! lol.
My opinion on this topic is somewhat of a different spin however. My wife and I have not decided whether my kids will be allowed to go trick or treating this year, simply because I can’t decide if this is a ” Pagan Holiday”, or if this is an extremely clever attempt from the Devil to make us focus on the wrong thing as it pertains to important dates in Christianity. I’m talking about celebrated dates that we hardly think about anymore because the world has polluted Christian holidays with something else. I would like an answer from everyone on this blog to answer me on this one. Which “holiday” is more worldly, self centered and greed filled, Christmas or Halloween? As Christians, our focus should be on nothing more than celebrating the fact that our God is so merciful that he would send his son to this world for us. But do we actually spend the proper time and meditation on what exactly this means to us as Christians? I know that I sure don’t. It is so easy to get distracted by Christmas vacation, presents, the tree, the family dinner and that ” Oh so special time of year.” On Halloween, what exactly are we being distracted from? Reformation day, yes, and it is an important day that we should spend more time reflecting on. I bet most people ( including myself) don’t know what Reformation Day is truly about, and as Christians that is a little sad.To me, its fairly simple and basic. People dress up, get candy, blow off fire crackers and go home( Again, I’m not saying I agree with this), but at Christmas, we get distracted from remembering the true gift that was given to us. Not by “trick or treat” but by “Ho ho ho”, or ” Hey mom, can we get a picture with Santa?” Talk about tricking the world into thinking he doesn’t exist! He has masked himself behind a big red robe and white beard and all of the presents that come along with it. Christ has been taken right out of Christmas, but yet, we all participate. I mean, why wouldn’t we, it’s Christmas!!!!!!
I guess my point is, if you are going to have a hard time with Halloween, which is blatantly portraying itself as an “evil” day, should we not be spending even more time trying to figure out if we have been “tricked” into thinking that other holidays are harmless because it is not evil to a worldly standard? We don’t measure evil by a worldly standard, but by a Godly standard. In my opinion, Halloween should not be singled out, just because its looks bad, doesn’t necessarily mean that we haven’t been tricked into thinking that way to make something else look good or less harmful.
I certainly agree, thank you for your thoughtful comment. Christmas has been taken over in a major way by commercialism and greed (and absolutely the Devil is behind those things, as is our own sinful nature). However, I still believe it comes down to our motive for celebrating. As Christians, our motive for celebrating Christmas should be thankfulness for the birth of Christ that allowed the fulfillment of what was foretold. It may take a lot of conscious effort to keep our Christmas focused on that, but it can certainly be done. Our motive for celebrating Halloween, however, would be what? The fact that Reformation Day falls on the same day is no coincidence, but that doesn’t mean Reformation Day should be celebrated the same way everyone else is celebrating Halloween, with candy and dress up. I don’t think we have been tricked into believing other holidays are harmless, but yes, many people have and it is scary. I’ve heard that people who live in countries where they are heavily persecuted for being Christian wonder why we pray for them – they think WE are the ones who need prayers, as the devil sneakily works his way into our lives by making us too busy for God, and by lulling us into a false sense of security where we never have to stand up for our faith and then, when we do, we find ourselves unable because we haven’t spent any time preparing for that moment.
For Halloween, ultimately I think everyone has to examine their own motives and make their own decision. Personally, I would never be able to shake a sense of guilt and discomfort, so I wouldn’t do it. Others are comfortable and confident in their approach to the day, and I respect that.
Maybe I’ll have to start working on a Christmas post soon :)
Cindy T says
Thank you Anna! I’m a firm member of the same camp as you. I reeeeeeally enjoyed the article you linked to as well. I hope people take the time to read it. Thank you!
Love this!! The part where you said “it might take Halloween to make them think I’m really no different at all,” I had to pause to figure out what you were saying. But once I figured it out, I realized how profound & true that statement was! Thanks for a great article!
I agree! Well said.
Well said :).
I think its great you wrote this, its well written. I don’t agree, I am probably in a similar ‘camp’ to Corien…lol. The quote “The Devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.” , totally doesn’t apply to Halloween, for me. Why? because that is the one night when everyone is very aware of who the devil is and what he is about. It is the one night when people are very aware he exists. I hope its a real ‘kick in the pants’ to the devil when i take my kids out around the neighborhood on ‘his’ night and make it a night to let Jesus shine through when we show HIS love. Its the one night a year that my kids will meet all our neighbors from the very young to the very old and talk to them, and the possibilities of sharing GODS love are endless. HA! in your face SATAN! “your day” PFFFT!…
Its the other ‘christian’ holidays that I think the quote applies to. Christmas, Easter, oh I think he gets a kick out of those holidays. Look what they have turned into, santa, decorations, bunnies, chocolate…etc and all the while the devil rubs his hands in glee because “he doesn’t exist”.
I think each family has to come to a decision that works for them and the relationship they have with God. He uses us all in different ways.
Thanks for your comment, Sherry. I definitely agree that each family needs to be convinced in their own mind, not do it (or not do it) because that’s what everyone else does or because that’s what they’ve always done. However, I don’t think people are especially aware of the Devil at Halloween any more than Christmas – if so, it’s to enjoy him and the other things they fear, like chainsaw massacres and being buried alive. Thinking it’s fun to be scared by something as eternally threatening as the Devil just makes no sense to me.
Thanks for your opinion. I’m not in the same ‘camp’ when it comes to this event. I wouldn’t say we ‘celebrate’ it per say, but we do participate and use it to talk about the devil, what it means to show your faith, how we are in the world but not of it, who the devil is, and how God is in control. We meet many people, are able to talk to them and get to know them. Yes, we skip the creepy houses and we laugh at the adults fully dressed up with a dressed up pet beside them. (And if it is super cold…which it always pretty much is…we completely skip the occasion.) We enjoy the candy and appreciate some of the creativity people have in dressing up. When it comes to Halloween, at least you know where people stand and it’s fairly clear what kind of belief system they are tied into. When it comes to the holiday season (notice I’m not saying Christmas) I am physically ill at times at the hypocrisy and false goodness our society has fallen into. So much of the glitter and decorations has covered up our ugliness and the devil’s work that is just as busy at that season as any other time. Maybe even more. Plus the day itself was chosen by the church to cover up a pagan holiday. So in and of itself there is dressup at Christmas! Every day we need to think about how we honour God and carry out our thankfulness for his grace in our lives. Whether we are thinking about the day Luther began reform in His churches, whether it is celebrating the birth and life and death of Jesus, whether it is a birthday in the family, a special day to remember something ALL things are redeemable in Christ. There are no cookie cutter answers to life. Thanks for getting the brain thinking again and for kick starting some good discussion.
What a great article Anna – I’m so glad you decided to write a blog post on this (or perhaps I should say I’m so glad God nudged you to do it) :) ! And so thankful to call you such a dear friend – true Christian friends are a wonderful blessing. Love you!!
Bravo, Anna! Reformation Day can use some celebration on October 31, right?
That is something worth celebrating!
I think it is really sad for your kids to be left out of a day that is about fun and imagination and being kids. It’s a tradition that is harmless and there’s no God out there that is going to judge children for dressing up and being silly. The only way that Halloween is an evil sinful day is by you making it that way for your kids and excluding them from their peers.
I agree that I don’t think God will judge those who are dressed up for fun – but I don’t think it pleases him either. As Christians, there will be many things my kids don’t get involved in that other families do, but we remember that this life is temporary and much greater joy awaits us. So far they hate the idea of trick or treating anyways since they ran into some scary decorations and awful masks last year – I’m sure that won’t last and they will want to participate with friends eventually, and then hopefully they will be able to understand and respect the decisions we make.
Very well written! I am firmly of the same opinion, but I’m not quite so good with words. I am making a costume though… It’s a 16th century fancy ladies dress for the reformation day play at the school. :-)
Very well written, Anna, I agree completely! Thanks for taking the time to write that down!
Well said Anna, and that is a very powerful saying about the Devil’s trick.