About Brett: Brett was a classmate of Pastor Randy's at Cincinnati Bible College. He now is the minister at Southpoint Community Christian Church in Flatrock, Michigan where Randy's parents attend.
Should we be participating in Halloween?
I really enjoyed Halloween as a child. Who doesn’t love the fantasy of dressing up like a favorite character & collecting free candy?! But as I grew more in my understanding of the Bible’s warnings against the occult, I tended to avoid reveling in Halloween.
Some are very convicted that no Christian should promote a holiday so associated with evil & demonic things. Some who have become Christians after being involved in occult practices
&, yes, witchcraft will warn you that it’s a big deal in the world of pagan spirituality. I don’t think their concerns should be dismissed. On the other hand, others claim that Christians can participate in Halloween with a clear conscience. They would say it’s just harmless, spooky fun & we shouldn’t be such killjoys.
In the early years of our church, I wanted to provide an alternative to Halloween by offering fun church parties, carnivals & trunk-or-treats for kids where they could still dress up & collect lots of candy, but without all the negative overtones of the day—including devil, witch, & bloody costumes. However, because we offered these events on Oct. 31, the attendance wasn’t large.
In order to get more families to come, we eventually switched the “alternative” events to days before Halloween…& the attendance swelled. It all culminated a few years ago when our “Candypalooza” attracted over 3,000 people. It was so crowded at our Trenton location that people were parking across the street at the hospital & walking in the dark across 4 lanes of traffic going 55 miles per hour! But what we also noticed was that all these families who were coming for fun & candy were not returning for church services. We questioned why were going to all that trouble & expense if it wasn’t actually helping us reach people for Jesus? That’s our true purpose. Maybe other churches that do similar events have better success, but we decided to stop. Besides, now it seems like trunk-or-treat events are being offered all over the place all month long.
Instead, we began focusing on using Halloween to invite people to come for special family-focused message series & youth series in November. Instead of us going door-to-door old-school-style to invite people, they’re already coming to us on Halloween! So we encourage people to take stacks of invite cards we’ve printed, attach them to plentiful portions of candy, & stay home to hand them out to trick-or-treaters. Maybe they could also host something fun for kids at the same time. Simple, inexpensive, but seemingly more effective.
This still begs the question—should we be participating in Halloween at all? I maintain that it’s a matter of conscience. There’s no prohibition in Scripture about going door-to-door dressed as a superhero to request Snickers, Smarties, & Skittles. (There may be a problem though if actual threats are being made—will a true trick be perpetrated if treats are not surrendered?) Whatever the actual origins of Halloween, our culture has largely lost them. But my concern remains about Christians participating in the darker aspects of the holiday. I would like Christians to be aware of the reality of “the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil…” (Eph. 6:12).
Halloween itself doesn’t have to be avoided—but aspects of it should be. Sometimes “fun” can cross over into something sinister. God warns us: “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph. 5:11). You may think it’s silly & harmless, but when Halloween glorifies evil that’s not how our enemy sees it. He will take advantage of every foothold & open door he’s offered.
It’s concerning to see the growing popularity & promotion of Wicca & witchcraft; the fascination with psychics, seances, & fortune-telling Tarot cards; the desensitization (especially of children) through the “entertainment” of horror movies filled with gratuitous gore & torturous violence. We have to question: Are we glorifying God? Are we filling our minds with what is good (Phil. 4:8)?
God tells us to stay away from the occult—which refers to “hidden” things in the spirit realm—because you don’t know what you’re truly dealing with. Occult activity invites demonic presence—a minefield with hidden dangers. Remember the original costumed person: “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14).
People are spiritually curious & often look in the wrong places for supernatural help. But we need to be discerning…& teach our children to discern fantasy from occultism. Instead, trust in Christ—the bondage breaker who gives victory over darkness, demonic harassment & oppression. Fill your life with His Spirit, His Word, & prayer. When we stick close to Him, we don’t have to fear or worry about demons, the future, or the afterlife!