Tonight, October 31, children across American will don costumes and take to the street to collect candy from their neighbors in the annual celebration of Halloween. As a Christian, I have struggled with whether Christians should (1) celebrate Halloween, (2) ignore Halloween, or (3) partake in an alternative activity, such as a Fall festival. I have given this much thought over the years and have decided that for me, as a Christian, providing a wholesome, safe alternative to traditional Halloween celebrations is most in line with my beliefs.
As a child, I looked forward to Halloween only because I received lots of free candy. Our family was never put up elaborate decorations or tried to scare young children. We simply dressed up and collected candy from our neighbors, then came home to examine our loot and start eating it.
When I hit my teens, our church began offering an alternative event to Halloween. Children were permitted to dress in “nice” costumes and were treated to an evening of fun, games, and food. It was basically like going to a party. I enjoyed these Halloween-alternative events more than our past tradition of walking around the neighborhood to get candy. As an adult, I have helped to put on many such events at my church.
Halloween isn’t all fun and candy, however. There is a distinctly dark aspect of Halloween. Witches, ghosts, and goblins are displayed throughout neighborhoods. Horror films abound on television. Haunted houses are erected. This scary, evil part of Halloween is what makes many Christians object to the entire celebration. They feel the day glorifies Satan, while at the same time teaching children that Satan is a fictional character. If the scary parts of Halloween are make-believe, then Satan probably is make-believe, also. Unfortunately, Satan is very real and he is using every opportunity to deceive people and keep them from believing the truth.
So, why then, would I as a Christian support and participate in any events on October 31? Psalm 118:24 tells us, “This is the day that the Lord has made.” Every day belongs to God. We have not been instructed to give over even one day to Satan. Therefore, I will not be silent on October 31. I will not ignore this day. By offering alternative celebrations, I believe we reclaim October 31 as a day belonging to God.
Additionally, by offering an alternative to children, we have the opportunity to provide a safe environment for children to have fun. Children need to see that the Christian way of life is not a life of restrictions but rather a life of opportunity and freedom. Jesus came “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) We are trying to introduce children to the freedom and joy that comes from making Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Having a event on October 31 is one way to do that.
Our church will host a Trunk or Treat event tonight. Along with candy, children will participate in games and be fed dinner. They will also get a brief introduction to Jesus Christ. We will not be celebrating Halloween. We will be celebrating the Creator of the Universe–the one who makes October 31 possible.
How will you honor God this day?