Halloween is a debated topic among Christian families. Some say it’s a day of fun and dress up. Others say it is a celebration of the demonic. You will find supporters and dissenters throughout the church body. If you are a first generation Christian family, it can be very difficult to figure out what is right for you. It is my hope that this post will give you some guidance to discern how the Lord is speaking to you about Halloween.
So what are Christian parents to do about Halloween?
I like to call upon Scripture to answer these potentially legalistic and divisive areas of the modern day Christian walk. And I always turn to Romans 14:13-23 for help in these “gray” areas of Christian living. Here is the passage in full from the Contemporary English Version:
“We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone’s faith.(a) The Lord Jesus has made it clear to me that God considers all foods fit to eat. But if you think some foods are unfit to eat, then for you they are not fit.
If you are hurting others by the foods you eat, you are not guided by love. Don’t let your appetite destroy someone Christ died for. Don’t let your right to eat bring shame to Christ. God’s kingdom isn’t about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ in this way, you will please God and be respected by people. We should try to live at peace and help each other have a strong faith.(b)
Don’t let your appetite destroy what God has done. All foods are fit to eat, but it is wrong to cause problems for others by what you eat. It is best not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that causes problems for other followers of the Lord. What you believe about these things should be kept between you and God. (c) You are fortunate, if your actions don’t make you have doubts. But if you do have doubts about what you eat, you are going against your beliefs. And you know that is wrong, because anything you do against your beliefs is sin.”(d)
You may be thinking: What does eating meat sacrificed to idols (which this passage is about) have to do with Halloween? Well, the same principles apply.
When you are trying to make decisions on issues where the Bible is silent, you can adhere to the following guidelines outlined in the passage above:
1) If the event, action or behavior would cause someone else (including your children) to stumble spiritually or question their faith or yours, don’t do it (see point (a) above). We are to be caretakers of those whose faith is new or still in development. We don’t want to cause anyone to turn their back on the truth because of our actions.
2) If God has convicted you that something is wrong, don’t do it. For you, it would be wrong (see point “d” above). The Holy Spirit is our counselor and part of His role is to help us discern right from wrong – specifically in grey areas. If He is convicting us that something is wrong, we need to listen to His leading.
3) Make decisions about “grey” areas based on a quest for peace (see point “b” above). If it causes dissention or division, don’t do it. We are to be peacemakers.
4) Don’t flaunt your freedom in Christ in front of other people (see point “c” above). If you have made a decision based on convictions, peace or the spiritual health of another, then keep it between you and God.
It seems to me that Halloween is one of these grey areas. No where in the Bible does it say “thou shall not go trick-or-treating” or “thou shall trick-or-treat.” Therefore, we need to employ the criterion set out in Romans 14 to make our decision.
We can ask ourselves the following questions:
Would celebrating Halloween cause my child to stumble spiritually? I know someone who asked her newly Christian parents when she was a young child why they celebrated a holiday about ghosts and witches. That one simple question was enough to convict her parents to not celebrate Halloween again. On the other hand, I know a number of very strong Christian families who have had no such crisis of belief and continue to celebrate together (by celebrating, I mean trick-or-treating, dressing up and passing out candy – clearly all demonic aspects of Halloween should be avoided by any follower of Christ). If you see that your participation in Halloween is impacting your children’s faith, it may be time to evaluate your involvement.
Has God convicted me on this matter? If He has, then follow your convictions. You don’t need to justify or explain to others. Simply trust that if God has convicted you of something that is enough. Obedience is better than being understood.
Will celebrating Halloween (or not celebrating Halloween) bring conflict or division in any relationships I have? Make peace your goal. If you are finding year after year, Halloween has become a divisive issue in your circle of family or friends, it may be time to reconsider your motives and ask God to show you if there is another way to make peace your primary goal.
In the end, this is a personal family decision, discerned by prayer and petition to the Lord. If you ask, He will show you. Consider using this piece of Scripture as a wonderful tool to help you discern the Lord’s will. Invite God’s Spirit to your decision-making processes and follow where He leads.