A Tricky Holiday: Should Christians Ignore or Embrace Halloween?
- Wednesday, October 12, 2011
The Wier family uses Halloween as a springboard to talk about the history of the early church and its martyrs. “Let’s start by letting our kids know the stories of these great men and women,” she says.
“If I did have children, I would focus on teaching my kids ways they can take advantage of secular holidays like Halloween to be a genuine witness for Jesus Christ--a light in a dark world. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of Halloween, parents can turn the holiday into a positive, relationship-building tradition for their family using creative alternative ways of celebrating,” says Fairchild, who lists several ways to do so on the Christianity site of About.com.
Above all, Christians should follow their conscious and remember that you don’t have to embrace every aspect of the holiday. “Some aspects of Halloween—the partying, the demonization of the holiday, the darkness—are not appropriate for Christians,” Allen points out.
Christians can use Halloween in a positive way. “We should see our culture as a mission field, and we can use Halloween to talk about how the whole world is held captive to the fear of death—it’s in all the literature, movies and media, especially around Halloween. People are afraid of death, and rightly so, because at the other end of death is standing before a holy God,” says Allen. “What a great entry point all this death imagery is to talk about the Gospel.”
“I love this season,” adds Wier. “It’s the only time of year that neighbors come knocking on our door. What a wonderful opportunity to make our home a place of hospitality.”
Weir doesn’t preach at her guests, but instead uses the holiday to set the tone that “we’re a family who loves people. We might have little crosses hanging around, wrap our candy bars quotes from the Psalms, but the predominate message of the night is that we are generous givers and that we love them.”
“I do believe some Christians are missing evangelistic opportunities when they try too hard to remove themselves from the world,” says Fairchild. “They might choose to ignore Halloween or celebrate it with other believers only. But 1 Corinthians 9:22 suggests … that we’re not called to live in a safe and protected environment, guarded against the evils in the world. No, we are called to reach out into the world and be the light of Christ. Halloween brings people of the world out into the streets and to our very door steps. We should be thinking of creative ways to seize this opportunity for developing new relationships and sharing our faith.”
Halloween as Evangelism
In the end, whether or not an individual or family should celebrate Halloween in any fashion should be carefully considered in relation to their own situation and heart. “If someone comes to the Christian faith from a background in the occult, then perhaps the best practice is to refrain from celebrating Halloween. If another believer has freedom in Christ to participate, then we should not condemn them,” Fairchild recommends.
We also should keep in mind that “often our negativity toward Halloween does more damage than good, alienating the very people we seek to reach,” says Fairchild. “Our neighborhood has a very family-oriented, active night of trick-or-treating each Halloween. When we first moved in, we used the holiday as way to get to know our new neighbors, sitting outside on our front porch while handing out candy.”
Allen reminds us that in Christ, we should not be fearful of Halloween. “Jesus said that the truth should not be afraid of the world, that none of this stuff—the scary and death-oriented things of Halloween—has any effect on the truth. God’s truth stands like a pillar that cannot be crumbled by the occultic practices of Halloween,” he says.
“We don’t have to surrender our beautiful faith heritage by eschewing Halloween celebrations,” adds Wier. “This holiday gives us an opportunity to show Christ to our neighbors and friends. I’ve always found it striking that Halloween is followed by the International Day of Prayer. We can make it a season to remember the early church martyrs and to pray for those still suffering for their faith in the world today.”
Sarah Hamaker is a freelance writer and editor, and author of Hired @ Home: The Christian Mother's Guide to Working From Home. She lives in Fairfax, Va., with her husband and four children, who are looking forward to trick-or-treating this Halloween. Visit her at www.sarahhamaker.com.
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