As Christians and as parents, how are we to respond to and lead through Halloween? Take a poll of a few of your believing friends and I daresay you will hear every variation of response possible. There will be friends who quote scripture to say that we should come out and be separate from the world (2 Corinthians 6:17), avoid all appearance of ungodliness or evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), and have no association with the things of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Many people are wary of Halloween’s pagan origins. They believe it is a night where evil is glorified with ghoulish and ghastly costumes and decorations.
Other Christians are convinced that the naysayers are overreacting. They see Halloween as harmless fun, full of costumes and candy. They think that believers who isolate themselves by retreating and withdrawing are actually being overdramatic to an innocent night of entertainment, a childhood rite of passage. While some of these folks may be approaching the holiday with a little too much naiveté, could they have a point? Could it be that celebrating this day of fun with our neighbors and friends is acceptable, even purposeful for a believer?
As followers of Christ, we don’t have to place ourselves into one or the other of these two categories. We don’t have to decide between “going with the flow” of society, or retreating into seclusion from the festivities. We can instead approach this day with a third possibility.
David Mathis writes in Sent into the Harvest: Halloween on Mission – Desiring God :
“What if we saw October 31 not merely as an occasion for asking self-oriented questions about our participation (whether we should or shouldn’t dress the kids up or carve pumpkins), but for pursuing others-oriented acts of love? What if we capitalized on the opportunity to take a step forward in an ongoing process of witnessing to our neighbors, co-workers, and extended families about who Jesus is …
What if we resolved not to join the darkness by keeping our porch lights off? What if we didn’t deadbolt our doors, but handed out the best treats in the neighborhood as a faint echo of the kind of grace our Father extends to us sinners?
What if thinking evangelistically about Halloween didn’t mean dropping tracts into children’s bags, but the good candy — and seeing the evening as an opportunity to cultivate relationships with the unbelieving as part of an ongoing process in which we plainly identify with Jesus, get to know them well, and personally speak the good news of our Savior into their lives?”
Author John Piper has said, “ I’m willing to run the risk of attachment to worldliness in order to be biblically faithful in witness.” However you are convicted for your own household is a matter of keeping a clear conscience before the Lord. Be intentional in your parenting. Use every opportunity to talk with your children about the gospel, God’s truth and how it applies to their life. Be aware of your own heart, not judging others who hold different opinions is equally important.. Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to plan your evening with a Gospel-centered focus of loving your neighbors well.