Christians have been boycotting Halloween before boycotts were cool. Understandably, in many ways Halloween is a celebration of darkness and sin. Antithetical to the gospel’s message. Yet, not everyone feels this way. Which leaves many believers to ask the question: “Is it okay to celebrate Halloween?”
When I’m asked that question, I first like to clarify there are absolutely actions that ought to be avoided. As Christians we never want to glorify or take part in sin. Some of these type of actions include dressing up as murderers, demons, or provocatively. We also should avoid watching movies about such things. As Christians we are called to be different and we shouldn’t be making light of sinful behavior. It is hard to be the light to your community when you are literally dressing up and partaking in darkness.
But what about your daughter dressing up like a princess or your son dressing up like his favorite football player? Maybe you got invited to a Halloween party and you picked out a wholesome and fun outfit, is it wrong to even partake in those things?
I like to zoom out from October 31st itself and ask: is the action wrong in and of itself? Meaning, is it sinful for a little girl to dress up like a princess on any other day of the year? No! In fact, using her imagination is a wonderful gift from God. So if it is okay for her to do the other 364 days of the year, then I don’t think it suddenly becomes sinful because of what other people are doing on that day. In the same vein though, would it be wrong for that same little girl to dress up like a murderer stained in blood carrying a fake knife to scare people on the other days of year? Yes! That is making light of sinfulness and ought not to be done by Christians. So if it is wrong to do on October 30th, it is wrong to do on October 31st, if it is not wrong on the 30th then it is ok on the 31st as well.
Romans 14:1-8 also guides us in this area. In it Paul explains that people were eating meat that was offered to idols. Personally, I think I would have a problem eating food offered to some evil idol, if I’m being honest. Yet Paul teaches that it was actually a perfectly acceptable thing to do, unless one believes it is sinful or wrong then they ought not to do it.
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:5-8)
With the Halloween discussion, I encourage Christians to ask themselves, can I help redeem this situation? Can you live unto the Lord, as Romans 14 says, by bringing light to the darkness? Some Christians will reject Halloween so much that they will turn off all the lights to their home so everyone knows not to come near their home to trick or treat. Others will fully embrace and think there is nothing wrong with being associated with the dark and sinful parts. I don't believe either of these options are best. Instead, let's ask how we can redeem the day.
Here is how my family and I do this: Unbeknownst to us, after we bought our house and moved in we were told that we live on the most popular street for trick or treating in all of Hernando County. And it is the truth! We literally have hundreds and hundreds of people stop by our house every October 31st. Instead of turning off the lights, we literally crank up the lights. We bring out bright flashing lights, carnival games, and invite people over from the church and have a mini carnival right in my front yard! We give out flyers for church, offer to pray for people, and try to engage them with the gospel. We aren’t running or hiding from the darkness, we are trying to confront it with the light of Christ. What an absolute gift that we have that literally hundreds of my neighbors come to my house! I would be foolish to not use this opportunity to be the light that God has called me to be. You might not live on a trick or treat street like me, but I am confident there will be many opportunities on Halloween to share the love of Christ to your friends and neighbors.
So this Halloween, don’t settle and celebrate the dark sinful parts of Halloween, also don’t run from it; but rather ask yourself how can we redeem Halloween and share the love of Jesus on this day like every other day.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)