To start, this is a question many Christians wrestle with— especially those with young children. In today’s culture, there is a tremendous amount of peer pressure, even amongst the youngest children, as well as their parents, to celebrate Halloween. Go to any public grammar school and you’ll find classrooms, hallways, and cafeterias decorated with goblins, ghouls, and ghosts! The good news is that for most children, Halloween is a fun time to dress up and go “Trick or Treating”; getting to eat more candy than any other time of year.
For Christians, while the Bible has nothing to say about Halloween explicitly, there are Scriptures which teach against associating with habits and customs that are evil or have their roots in darkness. Ephesians 5:11—“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” In Old Testament Israel, witchcraft was a crime punishable by death, stating “you shall not permit a sorceress to live” (Exodus 22:18). Further, Deuteronomy 18:11-12, “…anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord.” From these and other Scriptures (ie. Acts 8:9-24; 19:19), it is clear that Christians should distance themselves from even a semblance of evil practices.
So then, should a Christian celebrate Halloween? Is there anything evil about a Christian dressing up as a princess or super-hero and going around the neighborhood asking for candy? I would say, in itself, there is not. However, there are things about Halloween that need to be avoided. Certainly any association with the occult or even in attending secular Halloween parties that feature troublesome pranks and rowdy behavior (extra caution here, especially for teens and young adults). Simply put, parents should keep their children away from anything that is not honorable, that is not pure, that is not lovely, that is not commendable, that is not excellent, nor worthy of praise (Phil 4:8).
Here are a couple ideas however, to make Halloween a redeemable occasion that honors the Lord.
- Many Christian families and even some churches hold “harvest parties” which allow for children to dress up (nothing ghoulish) and play games, get to have candy and enjoy what this fall season has to offer. This is also a great opportunity to invite friends and neighbors!
- Take this time to give the hope of the gospel to Trick or Treaters. There are some very creative gospel tracks that have a “Trick or Treat” theme that can be handed out with candy. (The bookstore at Island Christian Church, East Northport campus, carries some.)
- Use the occasion to teach your own children and those in your care that there is a spiritual battle raging (Eph 6:12); and life with Christ is power over darkness (1 John 4:4).
As a Christian, you must decide if your participation in Halloween is permissible before God. If you choose to participate in Halloween, remember it is your duty and responsibility to not associate with evil company (1 Corinthians 15:33) and to keep yourself separate from the world. As mentioned, it is also an opportunity to “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Against a backdrop of death, darkness, and hopelessness, what better time of the year is there to share the message of the Light of Jesus Christ, than Halloween?
-Pastor Joe Garofalo