Christian, Stop Being Scared Of Halloween

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Every year at this time my news feed is filled with Christians making their yearly declaration of disdain for Halloween; listing off the supposedly sanctified reasons why they’re opting-out and volunteering their kids in the process, as if protecting them from the dangerous, corrupting evils of the day.

And every year, I simply don’t get it.

It always makes me so very sad when I realize how small their God has become that His security and influence are somehow threatened by a third grader going door-to-door in zombie makeup, snagging free Charleston Chews.

Growing-up, Halloween was (dare I say it) a magical time; a time to become something that you weren’t for a couple of hours, a time to get soundly scared in a safe setting, a time to be a kid and be wild and be spoiled with a pillowcase packed with undeserved chocolate, and then to stuff said chocolate down one’s throat to the point of giddy, twitching, sugar-fueled hysteria.

It’s the stuff lifetime memories and massive dental bills are made of.

The fact that many Christians have found a way to make this the enemy of God and God’s people, just shows us how distracted we all are, how puny our religion has become, and how much we’ve lost the plot. That’s downright scary.

Christian Moms and Dads, if you’re truly afraid that the devil is going to get a foothold in your child’s life by a one-night free candy run through your subdivision, you haven’t taken a walk down their school hallways or heard their playground conversations or read their text messages lately.

There’s a truckload of stuff you should be fearful of out there for your kids; terrible, horrifying things that they are drowning in 365 days of the year: racism, poverty, gun violence, sexual pressure, bullying, domestic abuse, addiction, bigotry, depression, suicide, and divorce, just to name a few. These are the things to be terrified by and rail against.

I think maybe Halloween is actually a gift.

I think it’s a necessary escape from all this real evil.

I think it’s a chance to feel the weightless joy of imaginary terror and phony fear, instead of the worry and stress and impossible heaviness of the real nightmarish stuff they walk through every single day.

Some of the sweetest memories of my childhood were of this holiday, and they had nothing at all to do with demons or witchcraft or evil, but of being a kid and getting to act like one.

That’s why this Halloween I’ll be accompanying my children in the raucous,  meandering flashlight parade through our neighborhood; braving faux graveyards and spray can spider webs and creepy animatronic demon babies, just to snag a few free (poorly named) “fun-sized” candy bars.

We’ll laugh and get scared (and secretly judge those giving out fruit snacks or popcorn balls) and then we’ll dump our ill-deserved booty out onto the living room floor (minus my fifteen percent “parent tax”) and we’ll watch a scary movie together or tell ghost stories.

And to us, it will be a holy, beautiful moment of a family being a family; making memories and enjoying the beauty of crisp Fall evenings, the divine gift of chocolate and peanut butter together, and yes even of creepy animatronic demon babies, who make us jump and then feel ridiculous for doing so.

Grace after all, is defined in Christianity as getting something wonderful that you do not deserve, simply for asking for it.

In light of this, consider October 31st a “fun-sized” token of God’s greatest gift, and maybe lighten up a little too while you’re at it. When you do so, you’re teaching your kids that fear isn’t always the right response. 

If you insist on opting out, that’s okay too. It just means more candy for us!

Happy Halloween.

 

59 thoughts on “Christian, Stop Being Scared Of Halloween

  1. I had a pastor that would say, why should we go hide in fear and “give” God’s day to the devil. God is God 365 days a year even if people dress up scary and act silly. Thanks for your words and have fun with kids, costumes and too much candy.

    • It amazes that God’s power is taught from the pulpit, yet that same pulpit also teaches a God who is scared of certain days, celebration, and human ideas.

  2. I hate the way my fundamentalist upbringing made spooky, scary, imaginary evil such taboo for me. Mom did her best to resist the goofy doctrines, but Dad was the pastor, so we lived in that stereotypical ‘glass house’, and had to sneak around the church lady’s house for our Halloween booty. Gladly, I’ve delivered my children from the nonsense. I still don’t enjoy the silly Halloween festivities as I should. But my children are teaching me to chillax. Refreshing. Thanks, John!

  3. “you haven’t taken a walk down their school hallways or read their text messages lately.” Ah, so true! As a middle school teacher, I can tell you that what happens every day at school is far more threatening than and, dare I say it? – “demonic” – than participating in Halloween. Too often we refer to it as “celebrating” Halloween, but is it a celebration so much as participation? Parents, communities, Christians, would do well to reevaluate where the true demons are at work. Why would demons need to operate out in the open on Halloween when they can operate under cover of darkness in the ways you have mentioned? But it’s easier to find a problem where it doesn’t exist rather than deal with the real problem.

  4. John, you rock my world! I am so glad you speak so much truth. The ridiculousness of the Pharisaical world has driven me bananas at times. Keep writing, keep speaking and Happy Halloween!

  5. I’ve been a Christian most of my life, and like you, I never got the irrational fear many Christians seem to have about Halloween. You put rational thought into words in just a great way. I’ve experienced 58 Halloweens now . . .and God is not diminished in my life whatsoever. And let the people say it . . . “Amen, and Happy Halloween.

  6. I love this part: “Christian Moms and Dads, if you’re truly afraid that the devil is going to get a foothold in your Middle Schooler’s life by a one-night free candy run through your subdivision, you haven’t taken a walk down their school hallways or read their text messages lately.”

    My daughter is in the eighth grade. She’s already been exposed to fighting, cutting, bullying, extreme profanity, questions of sexual orientation, significant racial tension and stereotyping, death of classmates, and so much more.

    This year, she is dressing up as Harlequin (Joker’s ‘girlfriend’ in Batman’s world). I suppose that’s a fairly evil character, but she and her father and I had a lot of fun making her costume. It looks great – in a homemade kind of way!

    We won’t be trick-or-treating though. This is Texas, which means there’s a football game – and she has to march at halftime. I’ve paid off her little brothers for not getting to trick-or-treat. Then again, it’s hard to trick-or-treat here because so many houses don’t participate. Way too many people who worry about the devil getting that foothold!

  7. A very interesting view on Halloween.
    I love your posts however I disagree that we should be celebrating it. I read an article by the reverend J John which pinpoints 6 reasons why it shouldn’t be celebrated, and his argument is very strong…

  8. Sadly, Halloween is a fading event that, when gone, will leave future generations with far less wonderful memories of their childhood. I only had 4 trick-or-treaters last year and there probably won’t be any this year due to predicted rain. I do understand parents becoming more and more frightened for their kids (I bag up treats and seal them with my name and address in an attempt to assure safety. I don’t think it is just “Christians” banning Halloween. It may just be parents reaction to all the horribly things that are happening in our world today.

  9. John…you aRe such a gift to this olde man (72) and all the rest of us. Thank you for this. You might look at what I’ve already said on my FaceBook page (Wes Roberts). How does one get a phone/Skype/FaceTime conversation with you? Does it really take a two week vacation in Hawaii? For that you’ll have to ask someone else. lol BUT…I would welcome some conversation, sincerely. Again…finding your blog has been like finding rare and unexpected gems!

  10. I don’t get it either. If you poll a random sampling of people on the street, I’m sure they’ll all tell you Halloween has been redefined as a holiday for dressing up and eating candy. It’s not about the witchcraft anymore (at least not for most people).

    Finally, I feel like I’ve said this so many times already, but it never gets old: it’s ironic how the sample people who hate Halloween because it’s “pagan” have no moral issues with Christmas trees. Pot, meet kettle.

  11. John, every time I read one of your posts I feel blessed to have found your blog. Seems to me that not many seem to understand that Christ came to solve a problem that could not be even minimally addressed by the efforts of well meaning people. Grace may be a favorite word of many Christians, but it seems to me that very few truly understand the overwhelming power of it.

    • If you are a Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical, I would suggest that you start this quest on your side of the religious fence where the beam in your own eye is not a thick plank of wood—but rather—all the wood in all the world’s rainforests combined.

  12. Romans 14:5-13 is why.

    In my view everything you posted here is mere opinion with no scripture to back up what is being opined. Lets hear what God through The Holy Spirit reveals to us by Apostle Pauls record.

    “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his “own mind.” He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. “But why do you judge your brother?” Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written:“As I live, says the Lord,Every knee shall bow to Me,And every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”

    I would recommend one leave issues like this up to the individual so they can work out their own salvation. Opinions can be very dangerous when in fact we have the truth to share as Pauls words above. And to say their God is too small… Hmmmm, I’d be careful about that. Just sayin.

    Eric

    • Agree! Just because we decide that it is approved or unimportant to God does not make it so. We do Halloween – but we do fun Halloween. My Lord died and was raised to conquer death. So we don’t dress up as the “undead” or the devil. We don’t mock what Christ has conquered at great expense.

      To balance out the evils of everyday, it is not necessary to make light of other forms of evil. The way to balance out those evils is to shine light on them by filling our lives with the Word.

      Halloween can be fun. But how far others might go to be careful of the impression they leave with their children – and how they observe that “to the Lord” – is individual spiritual maturity. We are not in a position to say they are not giving God credit for being big enough anymore than we can say one is wrong for observing it.

      I would suggest that each of us needs to be wary of anything that “should be” done by all – because the path to Heaven is a narrow one, so something done by “all” is not likely to be a credit to that walk.

      • Diligent Woman YES!!!
        My decision to NOT celebrate Halloween has Nothing to do with Fear at all! Nor does it have to do with My view of God’s size. I Love your Blog writings John and I understand where you are coming from, when I saw the title of this post I could No wait to read it! But I got to say I thought this post was a bit of a stretch!
        I think because you are fiercely generalizing that ALL the NON-Halloween participates in the church are “living in fear of Demons” Really dude? Not so much!
        So here is what I did for MY family. I was Anti-Halloween and my hubby was Pro-Halloween. So when the kids were first born I told him GO FOR IT! If you want too spend the time, money and energy parading them around the neighborhood for Candy you have my blessings! 🙂 Well guess what? He NEVER DID! He just wanted ME to do it and This Mama was NOT Havin it! Cuz I did Not care, and yes some of my feelings were initially based on my upbringing about the History of that day, but others had to do with the fact that I realize the GREATEST thing about that day as a kid was…..THE CANDY! So (since I confess I am cheap:) Why do i want to waste $ on a costume they will wear ONCE, when I can just take them to the store and have them Pick out what ever candy they want!
        So our family just redefined the day, and we call it Family Fun Day! This year we spent it with friends watching Monday-Night football while our kiddos played together and Ate a BUNCH of candy! They had a blast! I saved, money and time and alll was right with the world 😉
        So, John I would challenge you to open your mind to Other Reasons people aint down with Halloween. We can STILL make memories withOUT making a “FULL-Halloween investment.” I certainly do NOT preach to others or do any “Thou Shall Not Celebrate FB Posts” I just simply tell folks I ain’t down with it,.. but ENJOY!

        • PS.
          Let’s just remember this “Holiday” IS Optional! Just like visiting the Easter Bunny or Sitting on Santa’s Lap. Those are ALL fun activities. But didn’t nobody DIE for me to be able to participate in them so I CLEARLY do NOT feel compelled to participate and I have a choice in the matter.
          I know many Christians can be Extreme about Halloween, so I understand why a post like this is necessary, I just wish John would have considered the NON-Extreme Christians or even the Non-Christians who don’t celebrate Halloween b/c quite frankly we may not want to! We shouldn’t preach down to others who do OR defend our reason for not. It just IS! And That should be ok…. OK, I’m DONE! 🙂

  13. Totally agree with you, John. I lived my teens as a fundamentalist Christian, and as such, was taught that Hallowe’en, among many other fun traditions, was evil, satanic, and would send us straight to Hell. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties, dating and eventually marrying a nice girl from a different church, that I came to realize that I had been taught … improperly, to say the least. Really, like any other pagan-turned-Christian-turned-pagan celebration, it is what you make it.

  14. Reblogged this on cgw629 and commented:
    Thank you for bringing some sanity to a holiday that I see as an opportunity for children to emulate people, things or objects of positivity they admire. And take a break from the first weeks of school. We adults have hijacked and either hypersexualized or made awful what could be a holiday celebrating the fruitful bounty God has given us in at harvest time.

  15. The driving need some in the Christian community have for pretentiously trying to show the rest of us that their values and priorities are superior (holier than thou and failing) by robbing themselves and their kids of the joy of trick or treating is laughable to derision, and I’m not normally given to it. Halloween is one of the few safe opportunities/traditions we have left in North America to visit and meet our neighbors, a segway to community in a time where technology is in some ways making interaction less personable. It’s about a good time for the whole family, about creativity and community, a celebration, as all good celebrations are, of life.

    An interesting comment posted here mentioned it was easier to deal with something imaginary than to deal with a real problem, also, I would add, easier to define morality by what we don’t do than what we actually do.

  16. I loved Halloween…it was great fun. Not just the piles of candy that you got for free (how could anything be better!!!!) but there was something special about being given permission to knock on every door in the neighbourhood and be warmly welcomed. The ‘grownups’ always seemed like they enjoyed it as much as us kids, commenting on all of the costumes, and how cute the little ones were. I have wonderfully fond memories of Halloween and felt like the whole community opened it’s doors so that the kids could have fun! From carving the pumpkin and roasting the seeds in the oven the night before to rushing home from school to get our costumes on and have an early dinner so we could get out as early as was reasonable, it was all fun. I remember the smell of fall leaves and the crisp coolness in the air as we went from house to house in the dark, it really was magical in the best of ways. I have never understood why people would see it as evil or the devil’s day…I always just figured they had never gone out on Halloween and so didn’t know what they were talking about. 🙂

  17. I think, to be fair, most Christian families boycotting Halloween have been taught that it was a “pagan” holiday where people offered treats to prevent malevolent spirits from acting against the people offering the treats. Back in those times, the people were not celebrating a fun, festive, harmless time connecting with neighborhood friends and families and dressing up so much as truly believing this ritual would spare them malevolent spiritual activity.

    Its understandable that we want to throw the baby out with the bath water (condeming Christians for trying to uphold a belief that God is bigger than the spirits who would require such appeasing works)…Easter being chosen to celebrate Christ’s death/raising from the dead but the easter egg tradition being a celebration of Ishtar in earlier days, and the date of Christmas and Christ’s birth being several months off according to studies that suggest March as a truer date. Even symbols that Christians have adopted were used in earlier Celtic times as symbols of other things. People mock the Fall Family Festivals that Christians also choose to use to try to refocus on neighborhood/families/comeraderie vs Halloween etc.

    My uncle is a pastor and his wife and he open their home to trick and treaters, enjoying the evening and revellers, and my folks took us for a while then opted to take us to dinner and the movies vs trick or treating when my younger brother couldnt have the candy and it seemed unfair to let the rest of us go. Either way, i dont think deciding Christians who object to Halloween make their God seem small is any more accurate than saying people celebrating the birth of Christ in the wrong month make Jesus’ birth obsolete. Or that people who have Easter baskets on Easter negate the celebration of Christ rising drom the dead. Its more, I believe, a matter of Christian people sincerely trying to uphold a faith and celebrate markers of that faith. Maybe becoming more educated in our American holidays would truly be eye opening for everyone- Columbus Day’s meaning to Native Americans, etc. and most people dont know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. But those who have served know it’s about more than bbq’s and beer.

    I understand that it is easy to say Christians are acting scared of Halloween, but as Christian families do try to sort out their salvation on a daily basis and work through the school shootings and sex trafficking of children, sexual predators online and all the other offensive and deplorable things happening in the world today, its unfair to say that if they choose to draw a line with Halloween that they are too simplistic and blind to the other issues facing all of our families today. Sometimes drawing a line for your family doesnt make sense to another family. They can opt out and you can opt in. Celebrating or not celebrating Halloween is like celebrating or not celebrating Cinco de Mayo, in my honest opinion. Margaritas and Coronas and mexican food…candy, trick or treating, and costume parties…

    The only thing made small at this time is the mind of the person over simplifying and belittling others- revellers or not. You dont need a reason to take your kids trick or treating (or to be a kid celebrating) any more than those who choose to not take their kids out, who choose alternative festivals. Not all the non revellers are small minded, scared, threatened, pious people.

    • Excellent. Celebrate what you wish and don’t be fearful of anything. We disdain Columbus Day in our house and avoid Halloween because of both a fundamentaist preacher back in the day and regular child abuse of one of my family members when s/he was a child. We’ve dropped the religious objection, but many of our friends have not. However, others are having parties for their kids to have a safe and fun exoerience. Do what the Lord tells you. You may not be ready for “too much” liberty.

  18. I’m Christian now but I spent two decades as a Wicca. Samhain is the night that the dead who passed that year are remembered and honored, along with those who passed before them. The celebration of Halloween (which I have no problems with then or now) makes me roll my eyes in the same way the “celebration” of Christmas is focused on the gift giving.

    What churches are banning now are the parodies of the archaic ritual the old churches had on these nights, to wear masks so you would be mistaken for what they were sure was out there and left alone instead of being devoured. I forget how the candy and tricking came about.

    God forgives us our superstitious and judgemental paranoia, no doubt.

  19. John, I agree that Halloween should be fun and focused on the kids, but sadly, it’s not that way, anymore! Halloween has become a holiday for adults, with a strong focus on all out debauchery! I, like you, remember how much fun it was decades ago and it was a true family affair — but not today! You can’t trust people like you used to, and that’s why more and more churches have Harvest parties and festivals because the intention is to bring the focus back on the kids and families in a safe, secure place. It is much easier to take your child to your local church where you know the people, than trick or treat neighbors or residents in your town you have no clue about their behavior.

  20. It is such a blessing to live in a country where we can all have differing opinions and beliefs. On that note, I have to disagree with this message. I too, see it as opinion and nothing more. Scripture is very clear on how God’s children are supposed to act and react when it is pertaining to things of this nature. We are told to even avoid the appearance of evil.(1 Thess. 5:21-23)(2 Cor.6:14)(1 Cor. 10:20-21)(Eph. 5:11) Members of the Church of Satan and active participants in Wicca and the Black Arts Magic will all tell you that this day is the day they observe as their high sabbath. (“It gives even the most mundane people the opportunity to taste wickedness for one night. They have a chance to dance with the Devil, either stumbling, tittering and nervous in the arms of the Black Prince, or boldly, ravenously sharing in the sensual excesses and fright of others on this magical, unholy night.” Blanche Barton,Magistra Templi Rex of the Church of Satan)
    The comments about Christians who don’t celebrate Halloween because of their convictions is immature and unGodly.(Titus 3:1,2)(2 Tim. 3:3) You may not agree with it, but who are you to say that God hasn’t placed this conviction on someone’s heart? (Romans 14:4-6) And isn’t it what God’s people are called to do when we have been shown something by God, we are told to share it with others.(2 Tim. 4:2)
    I do NOT consider myself an evangelical Christian and I do NOT consider myself fanatical. But I do believe that when God calls someone to do something, to not do something, etc. it is in our best interest to take heed.(Prov. 1:24-26) (Eph.2:1-10)And it is also in the best interest of other Christians not to make fun of them and ridicule them.
    I didn’t participate in Halloween as a child and I didn’t raise my kids to participate in it either. None of us suffer from a lack of an imagination, creativity, or interest in scary things. We all are quite blessed in those areas, even the idea of being scared.
    The main issue is the night. The time in which this holiday is placed falls in line with deep rooted pagan and occult rituals and activities.(“New Years Day October 31st at sundown Also known as Samhain or All Hallow’s Eve. This is New Years on the Druid calendar. The wall between earth and the underworld is thin at this time of year. On Halloween night, the wall opens. Samhain, the Lord of Darkness, rises from the underworld. He roams the world looking for lost souls. It is an evil and wicked night, a perfect night for a witch to celebrate New Years!” http://www.holidayinsights.com/halloween/witchcal.htm )
    Why would anyone who claims Christ as Lord want to partake in that?

    • Honey, you and others with that whole “fear the devil” attitude need to pull that corncob out of your derrière. Kids get to dress up in costumes and get candy from neighbors. What’s so evil about that?

  21. I understand your argument, John, and I respect it, but I think you are looking at it at the wrong angle. I don’t think Christians are scared or fearful of halloween, because our God is bigger than that. I had some fond halloween memories growing up as well until I found out the truth about our holidays.

    If you really go back in history to see where halloween originated, and no, it goes back further than “All Saints Day.” You will come to find that many many people take this day seriously and that it is all focused on the very real, evil spiritual, entities that wreak havoc in the world. We have simply put a Christian seal of approval because we don’t actually crack open a satanic bible on this day.

    Yes, God created every day of the year, but the Bible states very clearly to stay away from pagan traditions and halloween is every bit pagan and changing it to trunk or treat, all saints day, or fall festival isn’t going to change that. It might be harmless to you as it was harmless for my family growing up, but the more you know God, the more you will understand that what He doesn’t create, He doesn’t want you to partake in. I simply suggest you do some research in both history and scripture before making the argument, “because it’s harmless, family fun.”

  22. I have long wondered at those who shun Halloween as an evil, pagan celebration. Yes, its roots are not Christian, but that is true of almost all Christian celebrations. The genius of Christianity was its ability to absorb existing traditions, thereby easing the transition for those unfamiliar with Christian teachings. Without that willingness to absorb and transform existing traditions, Christianity might never have spread so far.

    • Maybe if death has lost its sting it is reason to celebrate. However adopted or otherwise these celebrations are so far removed from their original intentions and have become an opportunity for fun and money making. What would happen if we really celebrated or observed Christ-mas.. .I mean took away the tinsel and the tree and tradition…the same with Easter.. . What if what we were regarding was more important than the date or the time of year the candy, the spending or the party…what would that look like…

  23. When I was a kid in primary school (New Jersey in the ’60s), the Methodist Sunday School I attended asked us to collect for UNICEF when we were trick-or-treating. Wouldn’t THAT be a triple whammy for the fundamentalists today: UNICEF, Hallowe’en, AND Methodists?!?!?!

  24. The only thing you missed was the forced erasure of Halloween from schools to bow to pressure from these small Christians. Instead we get “Harvest Festivals” with all of the Halloween trappings except costumes.

    But then a week later my kids are told to wear camo, wear tie dye, dress like a book character, dress like a superhero for Red Ribbon Week. The hypocrisy abounds.

  25. The pure and simple truth is that the protestants among us don’t get it. Halloween is All Hallow’s Eve, that is the evening before All Saints Day. If you don’t keep All Saints Day there’s really no reason to be for or against Halloween. The history of the holiday is buried in the deep past. Our family focuses on All Soul’s Day too, also known as the Día de los Muertos. It is a time to mock Death–oh death where is thy sting, oh grave where is thy victory? and we bring out photos of our dead ancestors and remember them, light candles for them, and observe other traditions of the celebration. We are not Mexican, nor even Latin. But we see value in this and appreciate this way of remembering loved ones, just as some take flowers to their graves.

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