Every year in October, people gear up to celebrate Halloween. And then the debates begin: should Christians celebrate Halloween or not? I’ve decided to throw my two cents in and share my reasons not to celebrate Halloween.
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My experience with Halloween is that of a person on the outside looking in. Halloween celebrations are not big in my country and until a few years ago we never even had Halloween or costume parties. But growing up, we had the Disney Channel.
I admit it—there were some Halloween movies that scared me and there were those which I enjoyed and watched every year. I liked the movies about magic especially the ones with “good witches”.
Naturally, it was just a matter of time before I started watching those types of shows throughout the year. And then there were the books. I was so immersed in the idea of "good magic" that it was a long time before I realized some of the programs I loved had taken a dark turn.
For a time, I thought magic and witchcraft were just harmless fun—if done for the right reasons or by a "good" person. Thankfully, the internet wasn’t as accessible then as it is now and some things were not as readily available in Jamaica as they are now.
But now that I understand the dangers of witchcraft and magic, I wonder how many persons have been drawn into the occult because of their participation in or love of Halloween?
There are a lot of arguments about why Christians should celebrate Halloween. Some people believe it's an opportunity to share the gospel with non believers and that not doing so goes against what God has called us to do.
Some churches open their doors and provide Halloween alternatives. They focus on fall festivals, harvests, community service and other Christian activities on All Hallows Eve.
Yet, there are churches that are adamant that Christians should stay very far away from Halloween and anything associated with it.
The Bible is frustratingly silent on the topic of Halloween. And what it does say can often be argued both ways. But God's Word does say we should not be conformed to this world and for each of us, that's going to look a little different.
I may be prone to reading books that do not give glory to God while another person struggles with overindulging in alcohol.
Still, there are some verses we can use to guide us as we navigate this tricky line between Christians and Halloween.
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons (1 Corinthians 10:21 ESV).
Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. (Ephesians 5:7-12 ESV).
Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God (3 John 1:11 ESV).
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12 ESV).
But test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 ESV).
The Bible tells us to shun the very appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), in my opinion, that includes celebrating Halloween or participating in any activity that could be misconstrued.
Should Christians celebrate Halloween? I think not. But I truly believe this is a decision every Christian family should make after much prayer and fasting. I believe the danger of celebrating Halloween is that it seems like “good, honest fun”.
I mean, what could be wrong with dressing up in costumes and going door-to-door to collect candy? What’s wrong with toilet-papering houses that don’t provide the types of treats that you want?
You tell me. Does the behavior above sound like actions that imitate Christ? Let me ask it another way: after you have knocked on the doors in your neighborhood on All Hallows Eve, when do you knock on those doors again?
If the support for Christians doing Halloween is that we can use it as an opportunity to evangelize, are we connecting with our community on the other 364 days in the year?
If your answer is that you only knock on your neighbors’ door once a year when you are heavily disguised, then where’s your evangelistic spirit?
What lessons are you teaching your children? That it’s okay to go around and collect candy from people you ignore the rest of the year?
If it is your decision to abstain from celebrating Halloween, you are going to get some resistance from the Christian community. A cursory search of the internet will pull up an almost equal number of posts supporting Christians who celebrate Halloween as there are denouncing those who don’t.
Here are some quick tips if you decide not to celebrate Halloween:
1. Prepare for opposition: When you make the decision not to celebrate Halloween, be prepared for opposition. Some Christians will condemn you for your un-Christian spirit.
Others will tell you that you're missing out on a perfect opportunity to serve your community. They may tell you that you can reach your community by showing hospitality.
You have to be prepared to have these--and many other--reasons thrown at you when you decide not to celebrate Halloween.
But a word of caution: Being prepared for opposition does not mean you should be antagonistic. Do not use this point of disagreement as a reason to condemn or start an argument with your brethren.
2. Know your reason. If you decide not to participate in Halloween, be clear on your reason for not celebrating. When you decide on a standpoint, you may have to be prepared to defend it. You can only defend something if you know what you believe and why.
3. Educate your family. As parents, we have a responsibility to educate our children on our family's viewpoint on various topics. This includes the history and celebration of Halloween.
Everyone in your family needs to understand your stance against Halloween so they know what to do when they are bombarded by decorated porches and seasonal candy wrappers.
When the Israelites were going into the Promised Land, God knew they would face temptation. They had spent the last 430 years surrounded by people who practiced necromancy, divination, and all manner of evil.
Their new neighbors had similar practices. In anticipation of the trials they would face, God gave them these words:
"When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you" (Deuteronomy 18:9-14 NKJV).
As you make the decision as to whether you'll celebrate Halloween or not, take some time to read this passage in Deuteronomy.
Seek God in prayer and have Him tell you what the right decision is for you. If you can't decide whether Christians should celebrate Halloween or not, consider these words:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8 ESV).
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