Halloween is a very festive time in our culture. A spirit of ‘spookiness’ manifests itself during this holiday. If you were to drive through a neighborhood, you’d see house covered with witches, skeletons, spiders, jack o’ lanterns, and other grisly creatures. On the night of Halloween, children dress up and go door to door saying “trick or treat”, receiving candy as they go. It’s the time of year where many people get cavities from excessive candy consumption.
What does this holiday mean to people? What is its purpose? For some, Halloween is just a fun social event and some candy – nothing more. Too others, Halloween might be an opportunity to reach out to their communities with the Gospel. However, others often within occult circles, consider Halloween to be a religious holiday. So what should Halloween be to the Christian?
Christians tend to ask the question “should we celebrate it?” when discussing Halloween. Generally, there are two groups – those who celebrate and those who don’t. The ones who celebrate Halloween say it’s ok, that dressing up and getting candy is innocent – as opposed to those who say we shouldn’t celebrate it; pointing to the holiday’s roots in the occult and pagan spiritualism. However, I believe that both groups begin answering this question on false premises. One claims innocence and the other evil. But should this be the battle? Is it necessary to produce arguments about inherency (whether dressing up and trick-or-treating is inherently wrong) or arguments from history to make a decision regarding whether we should celebrate this holiday?
No, I contend our first consideration before answering this question – or any question for that matter is – does this glorify God? So, does Halloween glorify God?
“whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” -1 Corinthians 10: 31
Is the celebration of Halloween glorifying to God? Well, first, what does it mean to “celebrate”? In the context of a holiday, to celebrate is
“to observe (a day) or commemorate (an event) with ceremonies or festivities.”1
So in the context of Halloween, ‘celebrating’ would be observing/commemorating the day with either ceremonies or festivities.
What would those ceremonies or festivities be? To the secular person, those festivities could be entirely different then say, someone practicing the occult. While trick-or-treating and dressing up could be for one person ‘celebrating’, to another celebrating could be dabbling in magic, witchcraft, demonism and other pagan practices.
From what we know, participating in the occult side of Halloween is detestable to God and surely doesn’t glorify Him.
“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD – Deuteronomy 18:10-12
Christians aren’t supposed to celebrate with the occult, but what about those other things? Dressing up and trick-or-treating; is that side of the holiday glorifying to God?
As with everything we do, we must ask ourselves these questions: “am I seeking Christ in this thing?” “is this thing profitable with my walk with God?”, etc. The underlying principle is this – do everything for the sake of glorifying and loving the Creator.
Does trick-or-treating glorify God? Does dressing up honor Him? I’m not just talking about the act; I’m also talking about the celebration. Does the “celebration” glorify God?
These questions may sound absurd: “it’s just fun, so what’s the deal? Are you saying it’s never ok to have fun?”
No, I am not saying one can never have fun. But what I am saying is that the “fun” one partakes in should be in congruence with the scripture; “is it honorable to God?” “would this set my mind on the things of the world, or lead me astray?” These are questions that we should ask regarding everything – even fun.
Collecting candy, dressing up, going house to house – is it God glorifying? As a practice – by itself, I don’t see how it is. Is celebrating a holiday the rest of the culture celebrates for the sake of ‘fun’ honoring our creator? Unless someone can make a good case, I don’t see how. However, what about using Halloween for evangelism? Sharing the Gospel, reaching out to the community? Unless actual evangelism is being done – real evangelism. Evangelism that is not compromised – (compromised with pragmatism, worldliness) – evangelism that is solely done for the glory of God and the desire to win people for Christ; if this type of evangelism is done – then yes, Halloween can be used to glorify God.
But what about the history behind Halloween? Isn’t it a godless holiday? Yes, if you research the history behind Halloween2, it is filled with many evil things. Can a Christian redeem Halloween? Maybe. Is it a way for a father and mother to use it for the glory of God and the education of their children? Possibly.
All things considered, I encourage and exhort everyone to live and make their decision to participate in this holiday based on this one simple thing: the glory of God.
Celebrate or not celebrate – have in your heart that every moment of your life, every holiday, every task, every job – be used to glorify god and make Him known.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. -Psalm 19: 1
If the skies proclaim the glory of God, why not you – a child of God – proclaim His glory as well? Because ultimately, living for that, is worth more than every piece of candy in the world.
- Which is not within the scope of the article.