Here are some things to consider when broaching the subject of zombies, vampires, ghosts, and other creepy, crawly and scary things.

Take the lead. Christian parents shouldn’t avoid talking to their children about the dark stuff. “It is essential that parents see the great need to be the voice in their child’s life, to tell them that the images and dark themes are not normal—no matter how many TV channels are making stars out of the undead. If parents are silent, the void is filled with whatever voice (or channel) is speaking the loudest.”

Focus on the Light. The best place to start is with God and what his Word has to say about following Jesus (see John 3:16-19). “An obsession to seek the darkness is a judgment from God’s perspective of those who refuse the Light. Understanding Jesus, his goodness, righteousness and holiness, is real the issue. To focus only on the darkness, and its dangers and risks, is to still miss the Light. God did not warn us with scare tactics to follow him, so we need to follow his example and not use fear to scare our kids away from the scary stuff,” says Wier. “Our kids need to hear truth from someone who knows the source of Truth—and truth, like love, casts our fear.”

Reinforce that evil is real. Sometimes, if we only mention that Halloween depictions of wizards and ghosts are not real, we forget to talk about how there is a very real, evil being inhabiting our world—Satan. “You should explain to your kids how the devil and evil are real and what sin is,” reminds Jagears. She suggests using Bible readings as the basis to then extrapolate into storytelling and what-ifs for situations they may come across in real life.

Be creative with the holiday. Think about how your family can take what the world has corrupted and instead participate in a life-giving way, suggests Wier. “For instance, trick or treating is not evil, but dressing like the undead glorifies what Jesus came to conquer. So trick or treat in costumes that celebrate God’s good creation, creatures, noble people, fun characters, etc.”

Know your family. This might seem obvious, but as adults we forget that what seems harmless to us can be very scary for kids. Some children like to be scared, while others don’t. “Although kids might put on a tough façade, and act like they are enjoying it, they may still be frightened,” says Henson. “I’d advise parents to be mindful of that, and perhaps wait until the kids are a bit older to get out the scary decorations.”

Especially when your children are young, take special care to shield them from the scarier side of Halloween. “With small children, I’d take great pains to keep them sheltered from the dark stuff until their imaginations and their ability to understand have matured enough to see it and process it rationally,” adds Jagears.

Make it a heart issue. If your child seems to be drawn to dark things this time of year, ask him or her why—and take the time to remind the child about how we’re to live every day. “If whatever they chose to embrace on October 31 is not acceptable to embrace the other 364 days with your whole heart and a clear conscience before the Lord, then that probably settles the issue,” says Wier. “A family can look at Halloween through the same redeemed eyes that we look at everything under Christ.”

Take a stand. Sometimes, our position at Halloween can be at odds with our neighbors, family or friends, but we should strive to find a balance between not violating our conscious and extending grace to others. “The tough thing is to explain the seriousness of your stance against dark forces and evil being glorified in your family’s costumes and activities and not condemn the many people who find darkness and scary things fun for Halloween, which will likely include friends of your child,” says Jagears.

With black in abundance and scary images and costumes the norm, Halloween can take on the appearance of darkness without any lightness. We can sit back and let the darkness continue to creep over our neighborhoods or we can seize the opportunity to shine the Light were it’s needed most on October 31.

Sarah Hamaker is a certified Leadership Parenting Coach™ through the Rosemond Leadership Parenting Coach Institute. She’s also a freelance writer and editor, and is currently working on a book about sibling rivalry, scheduled for release from Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City in the fall of 2014. Sarah lives in Fairfax, Va., with her husband and four children, who are looking forward to being Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Mary the mother of Jesus, Robin Hood and a dragon for Halloween. Visit her at

Publication date: October 25, 2013