Halloween: What Can Parents Do?
- Dr. J.L. Williams New Directions International
- 2005 10 Oct
What is a concerned Christian parent to do in the face of such strong cultural pressures to friends observe Halloween?
Let’s face it, if you are a parent of small children, you have got a tough problem on your hands every October 31! You don’t want to unnecessarily make your child an “oddball” and “outcast” with his or her friends. But you also don’t want to mindlessly give in to every social and cultural pressure exerted over you and them by a non-Christian world just to be popular and accepted.
It has always been easier for Christians to either condemn the enemy or “baptize the opposition” than to come up with truly Biblical alternatives. Let me therefore try to suggest some possible creative alternatives to this current Halloween paganism so we can perhaps substitute good fun for bad.
1. First, do some study in the Bible with your children on what God says about dabbling in any occult practices. Look up with them words like “occult”, “witchcraft,” “mediums,” “fortune telling.” It may be a real eye-opener for both you and your children. Here are some places to start: Genesis 40:8; Leviticus 19:26-28; Leviticus 20:6; Deuteronomy 4:19 Deuteronomy 7:25-26; Deuteronomy 17:2-5; Deuteronomy 18:9-14; 1 Samuel 15:23; 2 Kings 17:16-18; Isaiah 47:13-15; Micah 3:6-7; Zephaniah 1:5; John 3:19 1 Corinthians 10:16-21; Ephesians 5:5-11; 2 Peter 2:1-3.
2. Next, try substituting a different type of party for the usual Halloween party—perhaps some type of “Fall Festival,” one with games, costumes, refreshments and perhaps a good movie. As long as good food and fun are available, kids will be happy.
3. If the children are at the age that they still like to dress up, substitute the traditional Halloween costumes that honor the demonic realm for ones with no negative connotations: clowns, animals, old fashioned clothing, etc. Or you could have an “All Saints Party” with everyone dressing up like saints from either the Bible or Church history. They could even dress up like Bible characters and act out the roles. A good film could be added like “Pilgrims Progress” or one on the Reformation since the first Sunday in November is Reformation Sunday.
4. If you decorate your home, do it with colorful seasonal Fall decorations, avoiding the usual Halloween symbols. If you do let your children carve a pumpkin, do so with smiles and happy faces.
5. Try to use the “trick or treating” time as an opportunity for witnessing. Take a humorous or cogent tract—not a negative, condemning one and tape it to the candy you give out. You can usually find them at your local Christian bookstore. Most will probably not be read, but we are called to faithfully “sow the seeds.” If you sow enough good seeds, some will fall on “good soil” (Matt. 13:23).
Well, I hope that I have been successful in my task of “unmasking Halloween.” I also trust that I have put something Biblical and creative in its place.
For educated people—to say nothing of Christians—to continue to celebrate Halloween makes about as much sense as a group of Jewish survivors from the death camps yearly celebrating the birth of Adolph Hitler and the atrocities of the Nazi Holocaust.
I think it is high time we parents awaken and stop Satan’s unchallenged influence in the lives of our children. Halloween is just another one of those opportunities for him to work unhindered in an area that we have too long ignored. I know that when we stand up and speak out against it, we are always in danger of being called narrow-minded religious fanatics or fundamentalists on a witch hunt! But Christ did not call us to be popular—just faithful.
As Christians, let’s be done with ghosts, witches, vampires and monsters! Let’s leave that to the prince of darkness. As Christians, we must focus on Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, who has “shone into the darkness” (John 1:5). And let’s heed Paul’s admonition: “Be imitators of God, as beloved children … for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:1,8).
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