Three Guidelines For Christians Regarding Halloween (repost)

Halloween is coming up.  And of course the question for Christians is "How much should we participate in Halloween, if at all"?

Truthfully, I don't know.

My personal choice would be to have nothing to do with Halloween, except for eating candy.  (Thankfully, my boys never wanted to dress up in costumes.)  I don't feel comfortable participating in anything that "celebrates" death, violence, demons, witches, the occult, etc.  Those kinds of things are very real in the world and shouldn't be encouraged, laughed at, or glorified at all.

But I also don't think there's anything wrong with meeting with friends, having some good clean fun, eating candy, enjoying God's wonderful Autumn blessings, etc.  Even dressing up just for fun isn't inherently wrong.    

But is that too close to "celebrating Halloween"?  

(I will admit that I am uncomfortable with the idea of "dressing up" for Halloween.  To me that seems to be the hallmark of Halloween.  And yet, as I said, dressing up for fun isn't inherently wrong.  Kids play dress-up all the time.  But it still makes me uneasy to "dress up" at Halloween.  When is it "for fun" and when is it "for Halloween"?  How do we differentiate?)  

Where do we draw the line as Christians when it comes to Halloween?  How much Halloween can we do without it being too Halloweeny?

I'll be honest ... I'm not sure.  

But I would guess that this isn't really an "all or nothing" thing.  I think there's a bit of gray area in there, a sliding scale from "acceptable to unacceptable."

So maybe the best thing to do would be to set a "bottom line," to determine what's absolutely not acceptable first, then to contemplate the grayer activities after that.

I would say that the first guideline is our "bottom line":

Guideline #1:  If it's wrong, it's wrong ... and it doesn't magically become acceptable one day a year.  So on Halloween, just as on every other day of the year, have no part of anything that celebrates or encourages evil, the occult, violence, or other things that are completely contrary to God and what He stands for.  

And of course, some Christians would say that Halloween itself is completely contrary to God, therefore we should have nothing to do with that day.  And I would agree, to a degree.  But God made October 31.  He gave us every day to enjoy, to work for Him, to glorify Him.  

And since it's not practical to shut ourselves into our house all day, pulling the shades down tight, plugging our ears and closing our eyes, avoiding contact with everything and everyone until the day passes ... we need to have some practical guidelines for what we can and cannot do that day.  We need some ideas for how to be in the world, but not of the world.  (That's what a Christian needs to learn to do every day anyway, in every situation, not just on Halloween.)

And for starters, we need to recognize that there are some things that are completely unacceptable for Christians all year long - things that glorify evil or the occult or death or violence, etc.  I would stay far away from evil decorations, horror movies, evil or occultic costumes, witchcraft movies, seances, tarot cards, palm reading, haunted houses (not necessarily the silly kind, but the serious, scary, demented kinds), Ouija boards, etc.  

A lot of people think it's "acceptable Halloween fun" to engage in these kinds of things on Halloween.  I recently read a blog post by a Christian who encouraged some of the worst horror movies as "the best movies to watch on Halloween."  (I will get into this in another post.)   

But does supporting or encouraging or engaging in occultic/evil things suddenly become acceptable for Christians one day a year, because "it's Halloween" and "everyone else is doing it" and "it's just for fun"?  

I don't think so.  If it's wrong the other 364 days a year, it's wrong that day too!  

Besides, do we want that stuff to be part of our witness, showing those who are watching us that it's okay to dabble in evil, violence, and the occult just because there's a special day set aside for it?  

And do we not know that certain things - occultic things, evil things - can be "welcome mats" to demons and to demonic harassment?  The invisible spirit world is watching everything we do, and we give evil demons the right to harass us when we do things that invite them.  And we bring glory either to Satan or to the Lord with everything we do.  

Who gets the glory when we engage in or support evil, violent, or occultic things?  When we lead others into it by our example?  

It sure isn't God!

And I don't think Christians take these things seriously enough.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true ... noble ... right ... pure ... lovely ... admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."  (Philippians 4:8)

"... whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."  (1 Cor. 10:31)

"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written:  'Be holy as I am holy.'"  (1 Peter 1:15-16)    

"Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith ..."  (1 Peter 5:8-9)

"Submit yourself, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you."  (James 4:7-8)

Guideline #2:  Ask yourself "Who does this glorify?  God or Satan?"  And pray about it, asking God His opinion on it.

Now, once you've weeded out the clearly evil or occultic things, now we get into the grayer areas.

Should kids be allowed to dress up and eat candy with their friends at the church's youth group, or have an "Autumn party," or get together with friends that night for some family-friendly movies and games?  (Does getting together on Halloween automatically mean you're participating in Halloween?  I wouldn't think so.)

I'll be honest, part of me is afraid that totally denying kids the opportunity to have fun that day might make them resistant to Christianity later, making it seem too stringent, too oppressive.  We know a Christian man who rebelled against his parents' faith for years because of how strict they were about things like this.  Christianity was all about what they shouldn't do, not about the joy of knowing Christ and living for the Lord.  I don't want to be overly restrictive where God isn't.  That pushes people away from Him.

So how do we draw the line when it comes to the grayer Halloween activities?

The best thing to do is something we already looked at ... Ask yourself whom it glorifies?  God or Satan?  

While the answer is very clear for the clearly immoral, evil, and occultic things, it gets a lot less clear for the grayer things.

So pray about it!  Pray about it and ask God His opinion.  (It's amazing how many times we don't ask God His opinion about the things we contemplate.  And yet He is so willing to guide us into godly wisdom, if only we would desire it and ask.)  

And if it's not something that is unglorifying to God, then I don't think you have to worry about it too much.  If it's something that would be okay for Christians to do the other 364 days a year, then it's something that would probably be fine for that day, too.

I don't think we have to stress about letting the kids have candy, play dress-up, or get together for a movie night on Halloween if it's something that would be acceptable other times of the year.  As long as there is nothing evil, occultic, immoral, or unglorifying-to-God about it.  

I think the best option is to be the one planning the get-together, or at least know who is planning it and what they are planning.  I wouldn't just send your kid off to other people's houses for Halloween parties unless you know that they are not going to include ungodly things.  

I remember going to a sleepover once - it wasn't even Halloween - and the kids were watching horror movies all night long while I huddled in my sleeping bag, squeezing my eyes tightly shut and trying to plug my ears.  For hours!  If I had known that's what they were planning, I wouldn't have stayed.

In fact, hosting a get-together might be a good alternative to traditional Halloween activities.  It gives them a safe place to have some good clean fun and fellowship on a night when they could be visiting haunted houses or watching horror movies or playing with an Ouija board.  It helps teach them how to live differently, as a Christian in a non-Christian world.  

And this leads us to the last guideline ...

Guideline #3:  Find ways to redeem this day for good, for God!

Instead of simply hiding from that day or doing things the way the world does, we can do things differently while still having fun so the kids don't feel left out.  We can do things to spread God's love to others, the joy of Christ.  

Let your kids get together with their Christian friends for a hang-out that has nothing to do with Halloween, if they don't want anything to do with it.

Or invite the neighborhood kids over for candy and fun movies and maybe a costume contest (if you are comfortable with it, specifying no violent or evil costumes).  Have some godly decorations up.  Pray with them all before the night starts, thanking God for the wonderful Autumn blessings He's given us and for Jesus who loves us.  Let them see that Christians can have fun, that we care about giving them a safe place to have fun.  Let them know that we love God and that God loves them.  (Maybe google some videos by Christian singer, Carman, if they want a little fun, campy, "Halloweeny" videos to watch.)

Maybe just have a family movie night.  Or go out to eat.  Or pass out candy but pray silently for each person you give candy to.

What my family has done for years, instead of spending money on costumes to trick-or-treat, is to go see (or buy) a good family movie we all want to watch.  We buy a bag of candy and enjoy some family time.  The kids get to do something special so they don't feel left out, but we don't actually do anything "Halloweeny," other than eat candy.  (And my kids have never had the desire to dress up in costumes, so they don't feel left out in that area at all.)

But we do pass out candy.  This is one way for me to try to "redeem" that day.  I don't want the neighborhood kids to think of Christians as stingy, unfriendly, "go away and leave me alone" stick-in-the-muds.  I want them to see that Christians are friendly and generous, that we won't judge them for what they choose to do that day.  So we pass out candy.  But with a silent prayer for every person we give candy to, as much as I can remember to.  And one year, I taped a little "God loves you" note to each piece.  It's my way of trying to spread a little light and goodness on that dark day.

I think there is room for fun and fellowship and candy on that day, but don't do it like the world does.  Do it like Christians should do it.  Do it like Jesus would do!

And bottom line ... if it's celebrating anything that's evil or violent or occultic, then it's celebrating things that are in direct opposition to God and holiness and righteousness.  And I think this is inappropriate for Christians every day ... including Halloween.

So when deciding what to do October 31, pray and ask God His opinion about whatever you're thinking about doing.  Ask Him to reveal to you if it's something that's acceptable for Christians to do, ask whom it glorifies (God or Satan), and ask if there is anything you can do to redeem that day for Him and for good.

[And Halloween is a good time to teach your kids about the dangers of the occult.  Teach them to never touch an Ouija board, never go to fortune-tellers, never dabble with magic, never watch horror movies, etc.  Teach them that demons are behind these kinds of things, that we can invite demons into our lives through certain activities.  Teach them how to pray and how to use Jesus's name if ever they sense evil ("Jesus, help me!"  Or "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave.").  Teach them to be very careful about what they put into their minds, because they can never take it back out again.  I'm not kidding!  Teach them!  How else will they know?  It's amazing how few Christians take the spiritual world seriously - demons and evil.  Take it seriously.  Be active against it.  And teach your kids to, also.]  

[And for those who are interested, here's some articles about Christians and Halloween, to help you decide what to do that day:

11 Reasons Why Christians Absolutely Should Not Celebrate Halloween

Former Satanist Warns Christians About Celebrating Halloween

What To Do With Halloween

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? Pastors Discuss Scripture And How To Use The Day For Good

Churches Celebrate Halloween With Zombies, Dancing Skeletons, Haunted Hayrides and Spooktaculars]

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