Q&A Do You Do Halloween? It’s Just Pretend, Right?
Readers ask us, “Do you guys celebrate Halloween?”
We had a lot of discussion about this when we were first married. We went back and forth between the fun we’d had as kids and the opportunity to perhaps share the gospel with neighbors who came to the door, and our discomfort with the whole celebration of gruesomeness Halloween was.
Many Christians we know find themselves torn, too.
Our friends who do celebrate Halloween tell us, “It’s just pretend. Ease up!” and “I give the neighbor kids really good candy and tracts.” Lately we’re hearing, “It’s a day to mock the devil and death. It celebrates that they have no power over us.” We’re not convinced.
Throughout Scripture, “just pretend” doesn’t cut it. It’s about our heart as much as our actions. Proverbs 26:18-19 says, “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!” In the New Testament, the Lord assures us that merely looking at a woman lustfully is committing adultery in your heart, and hating your brother makes you a murderer at heart. We don’t think you should play at sin.
Although the Lord can use a tract handed out at Halloween, we think it’s more likely to cause resentment than repentance in unbelievers. That sort of evangelism isn’t in any sort of relationship context, and it’s not really appropriate to the situation. When we build a relationship with those around us, they can see our love and concern for them and know we’re not trying to add a scalp to our church belt. They know us enough to understand we’re sharing the most important thing in the world with them.
We’d rather lift up Christ than put down His enemy. Though we appreciate the boldness of our friends that say they are mocking the devil on Halloween, Luke 10:20 tells us, “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” It doesn’t seem like “mocking the devil” is what we’re supposed to be doing.
Besides, the world doesn’t seem to be mocking these things as much as reveling in them. Demons, horrors, and death are not something to celebrate. Christ conquered sin and death, we don’t think they are things to celebrate.
Surely we can agree that Halloween, just across the culture, seems to be getting worse and worse, too. It’s not the same holiday we remember from childhood. Increasingly, it’s an adult holiday (representing over $2 billion spent in the U.S. each Halloween) and costumes are more and more troubling, with naughty nurse and sexy schoolgirl costumes even for young children.
Now, that’s scary!
Sure, it’s fun to dress up in costumes and eat candy, but those things aren’t limited to Halloween. Kids do love costumes (we talk about why here), so we shop online costume stores for fun things for our kids’ dress up boxes. The post-Halloween season is a great time to get good prices, too.
And we have our own celebration on October 31st, too. We celebrate a holiday older than Halloween – Reformation Day. It commemorates the day Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral. It was the start of the Protestant Reformation – October 31, 1517 – but we’ll tell you more about that tomorrow!
Want more? You might enjoy these other posts on similar topics:
Boo to All That! – Is the scary stuff real or not and does it matter?
Somebody’s Behind the Mask – Why do boys like to dress up so much?
Q: My Six Year Old is Obsessed with Spooky Things – Why and what do I do?
Hal & Melanie