What does your family do for Halloween? It’s a question I hear a lot and ask a lot. It’s a great question. It makes us think. It gives us creative ideas. But it can also lead to uneasiness. Are we doing it “right?” Is there a right way when it comes to Halloween? While there isn’t a black and white answer, there are biblical principles we can apply to guide our decisions.
Don’t be Afraid
Halloween can be scary. It’s supposed to be, right? But as Christians, Halloween should not scare us. God has “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” (Colossians 1:13) Martin Luther got it right when he said,
“The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him!
His rage we can endure
For lo, his doom is sure.
One little word shall fell him.” (A Mighty Fortress, 1527)
What a great opportunity to remind our kids of Who’s in charge! When our kids see scary skeletons and mummies around the neighborhood, we teach them to laugh. Laughing reminds us that the domain of darkness has no claim on us. If we treated those things too seriously, it would communicate to our kids that there is something to be feared – that those things somehow have power over us. Instead, we teach them that God alone has the power over sin and death.
Halloween has less to do with a black and white biblical standard and more to do with personal context. How was Halloween treated in your family when you were growing up? What associations do you have with Halloween? God gives different convictions to different people. We don’t know what God is doing in another person’s heart. Rather than judging people with different opinions we should welcome them like God does. “Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.” (Romans 14:1-3)
Whatever you decide to do about Halloween should be a conscious decision. Why? Because your kids will ask you about it. You need to be ready with answers. Recently my son asked, “What is Halloween all about?” We tell our kids it’s a fun day to enjoy fall and build relationships with our neighbors. It’s about whimsy and imagination. It’s an excuse to revel in the beauty and joy of God’s goodness. We don’t get into the controversial origins and pagan traditions. The world can have that part. We’ll take the candy and costumes.
Do you take your kids trick-or-treating or stay home and have a cozy family movie night? Once you’ve prayerfully decided how to handle Halloween, be confident. Romans 14:22 says, “The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.” If people disagree with you, let them. Don’t let that be a reason to constantly second-guess yourself.
So here’s the good news: As a Christian, you are free to participate in Halloween or not participate. Free! But there are conditions to our freedom. Galatians says, “Do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13) The big question isn’t, “How should we handle Halloween,” but, “How can we use Halloween to love others?” Love covers differences with respect and kindness. Love doesn’t look down on others, but considers how to, “Stimulate others to love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)
A practical way to love your neighbors this Halloween is to hand out gospel tracts. Get your FREE kids gospel tract here!
Books by Sara Wallace:
“The gospel is the foundation for what it means to be a mother. It is always through this lens that Sara’s wisdom comes shining into our daily lives where joining all the dots can be tricky.” – Kristyn Getty, soloist; composer; hymnwriter; coauthor of Sing!
“The culmination of 30 years of evangelical thinking about parenting. Clear guidelines, great illustrations, and very practical.” – Pastor Steve, Atlanta
“The Gospel-Centered Mom is a huge gulp of refreshing air for moms who are in the thick of raising kids. It takes your eyes off of your performance and places them on the one who performed perfectly for us.” – Jessica Thompson, co-author of Give Them Grace