“So, what are your kids dressing up as this year?” This question always gives me pause. You see, we don’t “do” Halloween. Never have. While I don’t have any reservations about our decision not to participate, I hesitate about the right way to answer the question. I don’t enjoy making people uncomfortable, and I’m not trying to convince anyone to change their own minds about it. We just have decided that Halloween celebrations are not for us.
Increasingly, I’ve heard more and more discussions among Christians about what our role is as Christians in Halloween. Some Christians, like us, choose not to take part in Halloween. Others see it as no big deal. Still others believe that Halloween is a great opportunity to engage the culture or reach out to their neighbors. There are many differing opinions out there.
While I’m aware of the arguments for the Pagan, as well as the Christian, origins for Halloween, I’m less interested in determining which origin story is the more important to today’s culture, and more interested in how Halloween is actually celebrated today. Halloween in today’s culture is a dark and disturbing celebration. From risque costumes to violent images, I just don’t see any redeeming factors in the celebration of Halloween.
Many people argue that Halloween is “no big deal,” that dressing up and eating candy are fun. Dressing up, of course, is a lot of fun, and who doesn’t love candy (actually I don’t really, but I know that makes me very odd. Now ice cream would be a different matter.) What’s wrong with having a good time? Nothing, in general, but what is being celebrated? The dead? Monsters? Evil spirits? Witches? The Occult? While there may not be anything wrong with celebrating Halloween, I just don’t see anything particularly right about it either.
I’ve read articles that say that Christians who choose not to participate in Halloween are letting fear rule them. They say that since Christ has defeated death and the evil one we have nothing to fear. Absolutely, we have nothing to fear from Halloween. I am not afraid of Halloween. However, I do believe that there is a devil and that evil spirits are both real and active in the world around us. Spiritual warfare is a reality, and it isn’t something to ignore or to take lightly. Along these lines, I have no desire to expose myself or my family to the darkness that runs rampant through Halloween.
I thought Dr. Al Mohler’s article really summed up my thoughts well on the matter:
While affirming that make-believe and imagination are part and parcel of God’s gift of imagination, Christians should still be very concerned about the focus of that imagination and creativity. …
Christian parents should make careful decisions based on a biblically-informed Christian conscience. Some Halloween practices are clearly out of bounds, others may be strategically transformed, but this takes hard work and may meet with mixed success.
The coming of Halloween is a good time for Christians to remember that evil spirits are real and that the Devil will seize every opportunity to trumpet his own celebrity. Perhaps the best response to the Devil at Halloween is that offered by Martin Luther, the great Reformer: “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him for he cannot bear scorn.”
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther began the Reformation with a declaration that the church must be recalled to the authority of God’s Word and the purity of biblical doctrine. With this in mind, the best Christian response to Halloween might be to scorn the Devil and then pray for the Reformation of Christ’s church on earth. Let’s put the dark side on the defensive.