Happy Halloween

Well, it’s that time of year again. I know this is a big deal with some Christians. It’s not for me. IMHO, Halloween is all about candy and kids dressing up in cute costumes. But if you are one of those Christians who thinks otherwise, I just respectfully disagree with you. I don’t think you are self-righteous, have a weak faith, or anything else.

The first argument against Halloween is one of origins. It began as a pagan holiday honoring pagan gods and spirits, not all of which were very nice. To some extent, these traditions have been carried over to our Halloween celebrations.

However, Christmas and Easter have similarly dubious origins. The church has turned those two days into Christian holidays, but in the same way many of the original traditions are maintained. Can anyone tell me what bunnies, chicks, and boiled eggs have to do with Christ’s resurrection?

If you want to be consistent, you’d have to do away with Christmas gift-giving, do away with Rudolph and Santa and Christmas trees and all that, and replace it with a nativity scene and maybe a “Birthday party for Jesus”. All of our Easter traditions would go away – no more egg hunts! – and we’d celebrate Resurrection Sunday instead.

The other argument against Halloween is that it _continues_ to carry the same (or similar) signficance as it originally did, that it’s a day devoted to glorifying evil and Satan. And here, I think those who oppose Halloween have a point.

I believe that a lot of the things associated with Halloween are, in fact, celebrations of evil and improper for Christians (though I won’t even speculate as to whether or not they are sinful). Ghoulish, evil costumes, haunted houses, all that sort of stuff – I think Christians should not participate in that. Maybe I’m a neo-Pharisee legalist, but I think that’s a bit too close to imitating evil.

In the same vein, though, Christmas is often about toys. And just like we can celebrate Christmas without being too caught up in the commercialization, and retaining lots of extra-Biblical traditions, we can celebrate Halloween without sinning.

If it’s wrong for my 3 year old tiger and 1 year old lion to get bags of candy from our neighbors and family, well, I just don’t see it. And I’m sure that my life has many worse unrecognized sins than that. I’ll trust in God’s mercy and grace to forgive my ignorant sins, and in His Spirit to convict me of this if I’m wrong. But as far as I can tell, if you leave out all the gruesome and evil stuff, Halloween is about candy, children, and costumes, not the devil.

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4 Responses to Happy Halloween

  1. Jared says:

    Nice post, and I agree. Of course, this makes you re-think your stance, but oh well . . .

    I just don’t understand how the exchange of candy and letting our kids dress up in (non-evil) costumes pleases the prince of the power of the air. I don’t care if people don’t celebrate Halloween. In fact, I grew up not celebrating it for the very reasons I make fun of today.

    My b-day is November 1, so when I was little-little, we always had my birthday party on the night of the 31st and had a costume party. And part of the party was trick-or-treating.
    This was in the very early 80s.
    Then of course, the church “discovered” that such things were evil and nobody did them anymore.
    I don’t think I missed out or “suffered” or anything. Honestly, I don’t remember caring that much. I was probably thankful I wasn’t celebrating a pagan holiday.

    And I don’t think my kids will miss out if we don’t do what we do now. But I don’t think there’s any harm in it. So now it’s just a fun day to look forward to. We don’t normally let Macy eat candy, so it can be a rare treat for her.
    We just let them dress up in “nice” costumes — Macy will be a princess, Grace probably a cow (b/c that’s the only baby costume we have) — and let Macy eat lots of candy.
    No trick or treating this year, mainly because I think Macy’s too young and it’ll take us FOREVER just to cover the cul-de-sac. But we’re giving out candy, and that’s always fun.

    Anyway — more than anyone cared to know about me.
    But it’s good to know a neo-Pharisaical legalist like you can have Halloween-related fun today. ;-)

  2. Regan says:

    As a matter of fact, I don’t celebrate Christmas or Easter either, mainly because the amount of time actually spent of celebrating the actual cause can be measured by the length of grace before the meal. There is very little remembering. In fact, people usually remember the holiday for years to come more than they do the reason why they have the holiday in the first place.

    While we don’t celebrate Halloween too much in New Zealand, commercialism is trying to drive it more and more here which tends to make me more concerned about creating more consumerism around a dark event. Whether you want to dress up only in princess costumes that doesn’t detract from the fact that Halloween is based on evil traditions. Dress it up with candy all you like but that doesn’t change the fact. Besides, you can give your kids candy any day of the week. Unfortunately it appears that more and more often, people need an excuse to be nice to one another and it only happens on anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. Any other time, being nice and caring seems to be forgotten.

  3. Jared says:

    Whether you want to dress up only in princess costumes that doesn’t detract from the fact that Halloween is based on evil traditions. Dress it up with candy all you like but that doesn’t change the fact.

    But how exactly does dressing up my daughter and giving her candy honor the evil of the tradition?

    Besides, you can give your kids candy any day of the week.

    Well, I can. But actually I don’t. My daughter is rarely given candy. So Halloween can be a different and fun day to look forward to.

    Unfortunately it appears that more and more often, people need an excuse to be nice to one another and it only happens on anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. Any other time, being nice and caring seems to be forgotten.

    I guess I agree with this, but I’m unsure on how it is relevant here.
    Are you saying we’re not nice any other time of the year.
    Just because some people have commercialized Christ out of Christmas doesn’t mean others can’t celebrate it authentically and reverently. Feel free to abstain. Nothing wrong with not celebrating any holiday, in my opinion.
    But I’m unclear on how this last statement of yours relates to anything here.

  4. John says:

    “the amount of time actually spent of celebrating the actual cause can be measured by the length of grace before the meal”

    So only time spent in prayer is acceptable celebration? I think that’s ridiculous. I think the gathering of your family (and friends) together, sharing a meal, sharing fellowship are all celebratory. Consider the Jewish religious holidays, which were celebrated by feasts (which is mentioned in the Bible). Were they not celebrating the holidays properly?

    Whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.

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