Valerie Gordon is a Christian Apologetics Enthusiast. Also, a wife and homeschool mom of two.
Halloween is a delightful tradition, that I and many other Christians, still support. It is full of merit and even inspires good will. Both reason and the bible, reveal that perhaps we should not dismiss it so readily.
Last year, as I trudged along, trick or treating with my kids, going door to every 3rd door, I finally decided it was time to start speaking out on this matter before it was too late. Halloween has become a contoversial subject among Christian parents today. But growing up, my parents never questioned it. Halloween was fun and so, naturally, we celebrated it. Everybody did; even with the urban legend floating around about razor blades found in apples. Surprisingly, it never seemed to deter anyone I knew from trick or treating, and we didn’t even have snopes.com yet to verify it. But then again we didn't need it because we knew our neighbors. Which brings me to reason number one...
1. Halloween is an Opportunity to Meet One's Neighbors
There is no doubt that social isolation is becoming a problem in our society. Halloween can be a start to changing that. Trick or Treating is a great ice breaker and an excuse to meet our neighbors. These days, we meet them, sometimes for the first time, while trick or treating.
2. Halloween is a Tradition
The fact that something is traditional, in and of itself, should cause people to stop and think before dismissing it. Sometimes tradition has merits that society has forgotten. Prudence dictates that we should take time to explore those merits before discarding something that we don't understand. Admittedly, it is the roots of Halloween that have many Christians up in arms. It is tied to a Pagan holiday that celebrates dead ancestors and wards off evil spirits. Therefore, it is contrary to Christian beliefs. The bible clearly warns against Pagan idolatry. However, if we use that logic, then don’t we have to throw out the other Holidays too that have traditions rooted in Paganism? Like, I don’t know…Christmas? Mainstream Christians are certainly not advocating for that. And believe me, I am not advocating for idolatry. My point is that Halloween is not idolatry and in fact can even glorify God.
3. Halloween Celebrates Diversity
Christianity was spread, throughout the world, through evangelization, to places with diverse cultural and spiritual beliefs. The early church did not overtake societies and then banish all traditions that were not rooted in Roman Christian culture. The good things about these Pagan celebrations were assimilated into Christian Holidays meant to teach about The Faith. Christianity culturally appropriated things, just like every other entity. If anyone finds Halloween threatening or offensive, perhaps it should be the Pagans who have had their holiday culturally appropriated by the Christians. To Pagans, Christians celebrating Halloween might just be considered nerdy, not PC, or inauthentic, kinda like Christian Rock. But evil? Sorry, I'm just sayin'. (Again, I'm sorry, I just don't care for Christian Rock, okay? It just ruins Rock for me.)
4. Horror is Thrilling
Whaaat? How can a Christian say such a thing? Just hear me out. Now, before I became a Christian, naturally, I thought horror was horrifying. But now that I've experienced the redeeming power of Christ, my outlook on life is completely different. Sin is what's horrifying to me now. And when a neighbor sacrifices lots of time and money to create an amazing Halloween display and ambiance, I see it as a loving gesture. Scary decorations and costumes have merit in my eyes now, because Christ triumphed over death. Instead of running away in fear, we mock death. On Halloween we scare each other and laugh. If not for Christ’s redemption, we could never laugh at death. Perhaps this was the logic behind the early evangelists' decision to combine the Pagan traditions with the Christian. Christianity is unique, in that, it is the only religion where God incarnated as Man to redeem us. All of the other world religions, including even Judaism, are only a start. They show us our frailty and need for salvation but do not provide it. Other religions provide only a method by which we might save ourselves but history shows that it doesn't work. Halloween certainly does remind us of our human weakness. Recognizing our weakness is the beginning of conversion to Christ.
5. Halloween can Provide an Opportunity to Evangelize
Buying and giving out the candy is a sacrifice of time and money and therefore, an act of kindness; Complimenting a child on his/her clever costume and/or nice manners is encouraging; sacrificing time spent with your favorite church people at the fall-festival-hay-ride-coffee-bar-rock-concert-extravaganza-for-Jesus, in order to stay home to show love for your literal neighbor, in your actual community, is loving. Peace and joy are the marks of a Christian, not fear. Christians believe in the existence of both God and Satan; Heaven and Hell; demons and angels. But when they go looking for demons under every rock and try to distance themselves from anything that might possibly be associated with them, they make Christianity seem unpalatable to the unchurched. Fighting demons is a losing battle, which seems like a form of spiritual OCD. It's as futile as obsessive hand washing and attempting to eradicate all germs. A better way to protect oneself is to strengthen the immune system. The spiritual equivalent of that would be to repent of sins, forgive others, attend church, study scripture, pray, and find Christian fellowship
6. Halloween can Encourage Social Skills
When trick or treating, parents often encourage their kids social skills by getting them to use eye contact, say hello/trick-or-treat, thank you, goodbye etc.
I was a shy teenager, but Halloween just gave me permission to come out of my shell. Actual friendships were started because of my elaborate costumes, which turned into conversation pieces; especially the year that I dressed up as my boss. Not only was comradery developed and morale improved amongst my coworkers but, as the saying goes, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. My boss was actually pleased with me!
7. Halloween can promote Family Bonding
Everyone in the family tends to work together to make it happen: Getting the costumes ready, decorating, taking the kids trick or treating, and giving out the candy. Usually everyone participates in at least one aspect; that’s family time.
A personal example of a family bonding moment, was when we attended the Halloween festival at our church. No, it's not a Pagan church. Also, the festival was before Halloween and did not deter from trick-or-treating in the least, so I can’t be accused of hypocrisy either. Anyway, we came early, dressed in costume. Our daughter was dressed as a ghostly old woman, playing the organ for the haunted house, which was hosted by the youth group. I was a witch, not planning to participate, but got roped in, last minute, and ended up as the tour guide for the haunted house. My husband and little boy got in on it too. It was a spontaneous, memorable experience. It must have been the “Halloween Spirit” because it is one of our favorite family memories. I felt that we were setting a good example of a Christian family by cooperating together, creating a joyous atmosphere, and even earning some money for the church's school.
I believe that Halloween is a tradition that can provide healthy social activity, but most importantly, it is an opportunity to demonstrate love for neighbor. Instead of jumping on the church haywagon and abandoning the tradition of Halloween; instead of creating diversions from trick-or-treating, Christians might want to consider staying home and uniting with the rest of their neighborhood. After all, Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. It's kind of hard to show love for your neighbor if you aren’t even home.
einron from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on October 31, 2018:
Halloween: A Pagan Rite
Bob Koster on October 29, 2018:
The article is detailed and helpfull, ive been wondering this for ever. I my self celebrate Halloween but Ive always wondered other people's thaughts about the matter
Jack on October 29, 2018:
Hello blog is amazing and better then one ive seen in a while.