Is Halloween Inherently Sinful?
For many Americans, October 31st is the anticipated day for the darkest, spookiest holiday of the year. The question for many conservatives, especially Christians, is how to respond to Halloween? Is it wrong for parents to let their children trick-or-treat? What about Christians who refuse any kind of participation during the season – are they overreacting? What about Christian who go “all out” and have Halloween costume parties – are they sinning? These are questions that I’ve heard many people discuss. So what should we do? Like many things, I believe this is one of those decisions that Christians tend to make harder than it should be. There’s really an easy answer for this if we slow down and think about it.
I think for starters, no one should respond to Halloween with superstition. Superstition is silly and simply untrue. Christians have the truth of God’s Word, and evil spirits are active every day of the year. Not just on Halloween! Satan is prowling around seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5) every day of the week. Maybe more on Sundays, but probably not! But “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4). God has defeated satanic forces through the cross of Christ, so don’t be under the allusion that Halloween is a day that is darker than any other.
There are some who will opt for a “No Participation” policy. They will refuse to participate in anything remotely related to Halloween. They will stay in their home, turn off all outside lights, and resume their regularly scheduled activities. If that’s your choice, go for it.
Others will choose to participate in “Harvest Festivals” or “Reformation Festivals” where the kids dress up as farmers, Bible characters, or Reformation heroes. They will develop games based on the Reformation, or for the Harvest Festival just rent a trailer with some hay to provide a Hay Ride for the church and public. By the way, I’m all for Reformation parties and dressing up like a monk! On the flip side, some churches simply go into their community, giving needy families food baskets, gift cards, and the gospel message. I’m down for that, too.
Still others simply like having parties any chance they get, and they will use any excuse to do so, including Halloween! These folks will gather all their friends into their home, have everyone wear a costume (preferably not a witch, vampire, or Jason, although nothing sinful about that either), and either talk or play the evening away. I don’t have any problem with that, either, but I haven’t been invited to any of those parties…
Last, but not least, there are those who choose limited participation in Halloween. I would hope that most of you know that there’s nothing inherently evil about candy, costumes, trick-or-treating, parties, etc. In fact, all of those can be a great springboard to give the gospel to neighbors and strangers, plus it may allow you to get to know people you haven’t gotten around to yet. Furthermore, the neighbors will like you more for being so friendly, and it might lead to further conversations!
For the record, my wife and I normally host a Reformation party somewhere, where people can dress up however they like and we play a game relating to the Reformation. And we hand out candy and gospel tracts for the kiddies when they come knocking.
As long as the behavior does not violate Scripture, these activities can be used to further gospel interests. Ultimately, whether or not, or to what extent, you, as a Christian, participate in Halloween, is between you and God. There’s nothing in Scripture that forbids any of these things. If your conscience will let you do it, you should do it, and give the gospel to those who might not otherwise know about it. If your conscience does not let you participate, then you shouldn’t.
So, whatever you choose, honor God by showing mercy to those who are perishing. Halloween provides Christians with the opportunity to accomplish that because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a message from a merciful, forgiving God. What better time of the year is there to share such a message than the day which many people superstitiously believe to be un-forgiving?