The grown up world is much grayer than the black and white of childhood. And as I reflect on how many parents fail to instill in their children the difference between discerning and judging, I hope that we can get better about things like Halloween.

Because discernment is recognizing that not everyone feels comfortable with the supernatural and the unknown. Some people have difficulty understanding (or coping with) death, or they may feel uncomfortable about the role of “magic” in a modern Christian’s life. Discernment is recognizing that trick-or-treating in many neighborhoods is incredibly dangerous in this day and age. It’s acknowledging the highly irresponsible and sexual nature of many adult Halloween celebrations. 

But discernment is also recognizing that no two families are alike. That the Bible doesn’t say “thou shalt not celebrate Halloween.” That just because someone thinks spooky stories and ghosts are fun and harmless doesn’t make them “bad” Christians or devil worshippers.

It just makes them different people with different convictions.

People who celebrate Halloween can be prone to judge those who don’t. And those who stay away from Halloween tend to judge those who participate in it. But I bet if we can make the effort to discern with love, we can all be a little less crazy in October. And, most importantly, we can instill in our children a worldview of gentle discernment…not one of quick judgment and condemnation.

Debbie Wright is Assistant Editor for Family Content at Crosswalk. She lives in Glen Allen, Virginia and is an avid writer, reader, and participant in local community theatre.

Publication Date: October 26, 2012