(A different version of this article was posted
on October 27, 2014 and October 29, 2015)
As a kid I loved Halloween. So did my friends. We dressed up as friendly spooks, good wizards, silly pirates, and raggedy little beggars.
Our goal was candy.
The decorations on the doors we knocked on were of cute hunch-backed kittens, smiling little witches, toothy Jack-o-lanterns, and dancing cardboard skeletons.
Besides trick-or-treating, there were the Halloween parties -- many hosted by our churches -- with games, bobbing for apples, costume judging, apple cider, donuts, and more candy.
It was fun. Innocent fun. I agree that much of the innocence has been lost. Or, rather, ceded by believers.
But even back in the good ol’ days, there were those who were beginning to insist, because some were claiming Halloween had some dark roots, that the holiday was an anathema event for real believers.
There are always party poopers.
Halloween’s tainted muddled history
Yes, I know, there are the claims of our modern Halloween having origins in the Celtic fire festival called Samhain, a celebration related to the end of the harvest season. That it was picked up by the Druids, Wiccans, and other pagan groups and made one of their prime “religious” days. And that now there are those who make it a day of evil.
But Halloween is also tied to All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day.
In the day’s title is the clue to a better response from Christians. Halloween is merely a shortened version of All Hallow’s Evening. The definition of “hallow” is “to make or set apart as holy; to respect or honor greatly; revere” (American Heritage Dictionary).
Just as people can be made new and holy in Christ, so certainly can man-made holidays. We don’t need to hide from a calendar event.
Instead of ceding ground to the enemy and letting evil rule, we need to embrace what Paul was admonishing in Ephesians:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13, NIV).In other words, put on your costumes and let your light shine!
Fostering whimsy & joy over horror & fright
There are some churches who have grasped this truth and offer events such as “Holy Ghost Parties” or “Boo Bashes” or the semi-lame “Harvest Happenings.”
While these are moving in the right direction, they do so hesitantly by labeling these events as “alternatives” to Halloween.
It’s time to get over the skittishness and start having truly “Blessed Halloween” events.
The focus is to have fun and not promote fright. Keep things light and point to the “hallowed” aspect by dressing and decorating appropriately.
A simple rule of thumb here is to aim for whimsy and not horror. If anything depicts cruelty, it’s over the line and not appropriate. This eliminates blood, gore, and worse, including “Christian” haunted houses that depict horrible accidents and the like.
Taking back what was lost
I miss the days of truly “Happy” Halloweens. I abhor what’s become mostly a giant horror-fest. This is due in large part to Christians ceding the culture to unbelievers. We need to reclaim the innocence.
It’s time to push back the darkness and light a candle -- and put it inside a happy Jack-o-lantern. To come out from hiding, uncircle the wagons, take a stand, and put the “holy” into Halloween!
So, have a happy, holy, and blessed Halloween! Just go easy on the candy.
- Signposts: How Should Christians Handle Disagreement Over Halloween?
- Don't Waste the Opportunity: 4 Reasons You Should Go Trick or Treating This Weekend
Agree? Disagree? Why or why not? Do you enjoy or hate Halloween? What's your favorite Halloween memory from childhood? What's your biggest complaint about Halloween now? Don't be afraid! Sound off in the comments