“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” Colossians 3:5
October 31 is one of the most awkward days of the year for Christians. Many of us just don’t know how we should respond to the “holiday” and all kinds of debate spring up this time every year. Maybe you’ve got a great Captain Jack Sparrow costume and you want to spend the night collecting candy and acting like an intoxicated pirate, but you’re afraid of running into your pastor. I feel ya. What do you do? What should you do? There are basically 3 main approaches Christian take when it comes to Halloween:
1. Fully Embrace it: These are the folks who have cobwebs and tombstones in their yards. They don’t have any problem at all with the history of the day, because they see it as a fun and harmless part of American culture. (Note: Even if your neighbors tell you that all the strobe lights and witches look really cool, they secretly think your yard looks tacky and can’t wait for November when you take it all down and replace it with even tackier Christmas decorations).
2. Ignore it: These are the people at home with their lights off praying for all the heathen children as they walk by. They might do some “outreach” by leaving out religious tracts condemning Halloween as Devil Worship. These are the homes that usually get hit with eggs and toilet paper by the end of the night.
3. Recreate it: Many Christians and Churches have tried to put on their own version of the day. The events are usually called “Fall Festival” or “Trunk or Treat” and vary from Biblical Character costume contests, to parking lot candy giveaways to full-scale carnival like attractions meant to be an outreach into the Community.
I’m not claiming to have all the answers here, and I fully recognize that Halloween creates some complex issues that should be addressed. As a Dad, a Pastor and as a Christian who wants to see the world reached for Jesus, here are a few thoughts I’ve come to over the years…
1. Halloween provides an amazing Opportunity. Most of us don’t interact with our own neighbors. We live in a world where front porches have been replaced by back porches and privacy fences. October 31 is one of the few days of the years that you can have meaningful interaction with your neighbors and I believe God wants you to be a positive influence in your neighborhood. Don’t squander this opportunity by sitting at home in the dark all night!
2. Satan does not own October 31…Jesus does! Christians should never cower in fear because of the Devil. Jesus has already conquered death, Hell and the Grave and He is the one who rules over every day. God has as much power and Glory on October 31 as He does on Christmas or Easter, so remember that He is bigger than anything the Devil can do on any day. With that being said, don’t give the devil a “foothold” by embracing anything that could potentially harm your faith or the faith of others. Use the opportunity to reach out, not to hide out.
3. Don’t be Stupid. I know this sounds harsh, but I don’t know how else to say it. Paul says, “all things are permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial.” It’s not beneficial for you to dress yourself our your kids up like zombies and prostitutes. It’s not cute…it’s tacky. I’m not saying you have to dress as a Bible Character (in fact, please don’t), but don’t use the day as an excuse to imitate something or someone who contradicts your own values. Don’t use the day as an excuse to put your values on hold by getting drunk and watching ten straight hours of graphic horror movies. You are Children of the Light no matter what night it is.
I know that there are a lot of people with a lot of great things to add to this discussion, so please feel free to post your own comments. We can all learn from each other. Whatever you do on October 31 this year, I hope that you make some lasting memories and even make some new friends in the process.