I grew up in a little fundamentalist community, one in which any mention of Halloween was met with a hellfire and brimstone sermon about how trick or treating would send you to hell. It may come as no surprise that my parents forbade my sister and I from telling people that we did, in fact, go trick or treating.
My parents believed that Halloween was a harmless holiday that was purely for fun. It had no spiritual bearing. Because everyone else hyped their concerns up so much, we’d often facetiously say, “Man, I hope I don’t end up a child sacrifice tonight” as we walked out the door in our costume.
As an adult, I’ve looked into the origins a bit to determine if there was anything to worry about. The only “proof” friends could produce of it being the devil’s holiday was from blogs with no footnotes, resources, or references that looked like the sites had been designed in the 90s (so, not gleaming beacons of credibility, to say the least).
What I found was that there are people who have left paganism and know a good bit about what goes down on Halloween night. The day is a big one for them and, understandably, many of those who have left that faith will not go out on Halloween.
I don’t believe that either side is 100% correct, but I think they both hold some truth. I think that folks who are convicted against participating in Halloween are valid in their concerns because there can be spiritually damaging activities in the holiday, but I also believe that it is just another day that the Lord has made and we shouldn’t fear it.
I think that this is an area in which certain Christians will have vastly different beliefs. Consider this passage that talks about believers eating meat that may have been sacrificed to idols. Some are confident that they may eat, but others are not. I believe this has applications to Halloween for believers.
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess[b] to God.”
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. – Romans 14:1-12 NIV
I have certainly changed my convictions on certain aspects of Halloween as I’ve grown, but I am comfortable with taking my son to the Reformation Carnival at church. That said, I fully support my friends who do not partake in Halloween and those who fully partake. I believe that this is an area in which we will have different convictions as Christians based on what is and isn’t spiritually good for us as individuals. As my former pastor says, let us be slow to define sin for our neighbor.
What do you think? Have your convictions on Halloween changed as you’ve aged?
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.