My youngest child recently confided how she really doesn’t like the goriest Halloween decorations. She’s 11 now and though she’s not scared of them, she’s in good company finding them distasteful. I feel similarly and have no doubt many of you do too.
This conversation led to her first out loud exploration into how we as Christians reconcile our beliefs with observing trick or treat night annually. She’s far from the first or the last person to think through this issue and I believe that’s a good thing.
It’s when we become complacent and apathetic that we lose sight of our moral compass, right? So we choose to tackle the issue head-on and get intentional about following Jesus’ example in how he responded to the lost, lonely, or hurting.
He didn’t fear others and their baggage. He didn’t step back and complicitly become a part of the problem – he stepped foward to implicitly become a part of the solution. Remember WWJD? Yep, it’s (as always) a great time to ask ourselves – What would Jesus do?
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others….” Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
For our family, we see occasions to connect with neighbors to be an opportunity to build relationships and spread kindness. So the question of whether to acknowledge Halloween begs a deeper question. How are we supposed to “be a light” if we hide from the darkness?
So why not set up a fire pit and apple cider in the driveway to give something warm and yummy to the moms & dads? Why not embrace an opportunity to grill out for neighbors every Halloween? Can you imagine the conversations that could grow out of fellowship over free drinks, hotdogs and chips, along with candy for the kids? Oh what memories are waiting to be made just through providing a hang out spot for neighbors & friends!
It’s normal to think and re-think over the decisions we make to shepherd our kids in the way they should go. We all want the best for our families, knowing the choices we make today have implications for tomorrow. Knowing your parental influence has eternal significance and will span across generations is incredibly humbling. So when my daughter questioned me on our family’s perspective on Halloween this week, I found myself with another opportunity to reevaluate as I explained – hoping to embrace the teachable moment for us both.
But then I found this article and was encouraged that indeed, Halloween really is just another opportunity to shine the light of Christ, just like every other day! 😉
“I find it interesting that we are to be light in the world, yet on Halloween Christians literally turn off their lights in their house and ignore kids as they come up to their door. Shouldn’t we shine our light even more brightly on Halloween? Isn’t Halloween a Christians dream? Tons of people come together, have fun, and willingly coming to your door. It’s an opportunity to be Jesus to them without having to do anything except buy some candy beforehand and hand it out.” You can read more here for another perspective.
For the Christian, it’s not about winning a culture war. We win through how we engage our neighbors. The fact that scripture says we should live honorably among others means we must indeed be among the lost. I like the way John Piper puts it:
“Being exiles does not mean being cynical. It does not mean being indifferent or uninvolved. The salt of the earth does not mock rotting meat. Where it can, it saves and seasons. And where it can’t, it weeps. And the light of the world does not withdraw, saying “good riddance” to godless darkness. It labors to illuminate. But not dominate.”
I’m always interested in the perspective of others! How does your family mark Halloween night? Do you celebrate the same way you did as a child or are you forging a new path for your own family?
AMEN to this message, Sybil!!! I know that not all Christians are supportive of this holiday- but I too, find it a perfect opportunity for us to open our doors, our hearts, and be the LIGHT while we have this chance to connect with so many in our community!!
My family focuses on the trick or treating, the fun imaginative way our kids can be someone they aspire to be- We took a family out with us from Czech Republic, new to the country and in need of connection. The kids had a fabulous time and I walked and talked with the mom enjoying our special time together and learning more about her culture and her struggles with this new world they live in! Her little ones learned how to say “Trick or Treat” and squealed with delight at this new tradition! It was absolutely a Divine appointment. We all had a big group hug at the end of the night!
Ok now that is amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing this inspiring example with us!!
We live in a rural area so trick or treating is a non-issue. Instead we minister to our many Christian friends who may otherwise choose to hide out in their basements.
Tonight we built a big bonfire, had a short program where we shared favorite Bible verses and sang hymns. Adults visited and children played. We were all spiritually fed and feel so joyful heading into the holidays.
I understand what you and others say about the need to let our light shine and I think there are some things to consider. When a child recognizes the gore and porn of this holiday I think it’s important to respect that discernment and take it seriously. (I’m not saying that you didn’t. In fact I love that you had a real conversation with her.) They may be at a point in their lives where seeing those costumes or neighborhood decorations are truly a violation of their spirit. I can appreciate the desire to encourage our children to shine but sometimes it’s more important to protect the fire within them and build it brighter and stronger before putting them out into the world.
As I consider the years we did the trick or treat thing I don’t think I can recall a real connection that happened at the doorstep handing out candy. Not one. Your idea of investing more effort and time in a gathering is a much better idea.
Ultimately, our loving Heavenly Father will let each of us know the best way to shine in our personal stewardship.
Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts. It is alot to think about and I appreciate your perspective! I read this quote from a friend last night I thought I would share also,
“People ask me my perspective of Halloween as a Christian. I will share this:
Last night, as a family, we walked around our neighborhood trick-or-treating. I saw devils, ghosts, goblins, and lots of creepy clowns. I saw dancing skeletons and haunted houses. I saw vampires, zombies, and a variety of other creatively dark things.
You know what else I saw?
I saw tons of my neighbors that I NEVER SEE ANY OTHER TIME. I SAW SMILES AND LAUGHTER. I saw joy. I saw people love on my son and tell him how special and cute he is. I saw a celebration of kids and their freedom to stay up way past their bedtime. I saw parents laughing and enjoying time with their children. I saw people sitting outside their homes to welcome people from all over the city, because our area is one of the safest and best areas to trick-or-treat.
I saw LOVE…
If I put the crap on one side of the scale and Kingdom stuff on the other… Way more Kingdom stuff happening. Way more Jesus opportunities than most of the rest of the year. Way more love being generally expressed in my neighborhood than…dare I say… Christmas!?!?!
In my city, Halloween is an amazing opportunity to love my neighbor. I don’t know if that is the case in your city or neighborhood. So before we/I start painting a broad stroke, generalized Christian stance on Halloween, perhaps we/I should think about how it gives us an opportunity to love well.
I think we CAN be amongst the people of this world, and not be “of” this world. (That’s the whole point of being a friend and Ambassador of the King.) I think we can love people well and not turn into zombies of darkness, somehow turned by being around too much bad stuff.
To close, with some raw questions that I’m still processing- if Jesus was a guest in my home, would He prefer to go to the fall festival at church or walk amongst the people in my neighborhood? What way would He tangibly love the people of my city?
I think that might be a good starting place as we consider our Christ-like stance on Halloween.”
It’s great to know there are thoughtful people out there thinking about this as they raise little children in faith 🙂
By God’s grace! Thanks Jessica 🙂
Amen! We were having similar conversations in our household this weekend (we are all students). Of course, Halloween is a chance to shine the light of Jesus ad help keep our brothers and sisters safe!
That is awesome, made me smile! Thanks for sharing Emma 🙂
I really agree with your views on Halloween! I’m from Portugal and Halloween is a very recent tradition in here, so most people don’t open their doors for children who go trick-or-treating, because they don’t want to celebrate it. However, I find it great that these kids are putting their TVs or computers aside for a night, and getting to know the people in their neighbourhood better instead! In my opinion, it’s a great occasion to shower them with Jesus’ light, instead of shutting our doors or being all grumpy about it. Just my opinion! 🙂
Love that! Very interesting to get a peek into things in Portugal – thanks for sharing your story, Mariana!
My husband and I talk about this one. I think its how we approach Halloween as you mentioned. Carving pumpkins and getting into the light parts of making it just fun and like you said another reason for fellowship and reaching out.
There are of course the scary way of celebrating it as well.