“From what I hear, the local witches go to the stores and put spells on the costumes before Halloween.” I vividly remember hearing this quote from a friend in Sunday School when I was about eleven years old. Just starting out in the world, and unsure of what I believed about most hot topics, I went on assuming what my family did was the correct way to live – which involved a non-scary costume and a bucket for the free candy. Let’s face it, the free candy was all that mattered to me about Halloween. If I could’ve trick-or-treated without a costume, I probably would have been just as happy – if not happier. (I think the free candy is what matters to most of the children.)
Twenty-six years later, I find myself leerier of Halloween celebrations than I did in my younger years. The more Bible knowledge I acquire and life experience I gain, the more I lean towards abstaining from Halloween altogether.
Still, I have no problem with other people giving out candy or taking their children trick-or-treating. I do think it is important for Christian parents to speak honestly with their children about how others celebrate and how to stay spiritually and physically safe through it. Most of my friends take their kids trick-or-treating in adorable costumes and are highly vigilant about what they watch and where they go. They do not celebrate the evil; they just have fun with the costumes and the treats.
With that said, I also have friends who will have nothing to do with Halloween and I totally respect them for that stance as well. Their convictions are strong on the matter and their children are just fine – perhaps with better teeth than the rest of us. ~smile~ At one point, a neighbor (hopefully well-meaning) brought the children Halloween candy and their dad kindly explained that they did not observe the holiday. In our culture, it is difficult to stand against the norm – especially to those who do not believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not envy him the awkward moment he had on the front porch with this woman, but I totally respect him and his wife for standing by their beliefs.
Imagine, though, if that married couple did not agree. Perhaps this neighbor showed up with candy and the dad tried to politely decline, but then the mom jumped in and graciously accepted. Can you guess what might have followed that uncomfortable episode? Most likely a fight. Maybe a loud fight. Maybe a day or two of not speaking. Maybe a long and exhausting debate. (Thankfully, that did not happen because Dad and Mom were on the same page and decided to stand together in unity.)
Unity is vitally important in marriage because there will always be principles to stand for or against. If you do not stand together, you will fall repeatedly – and take your children with you. Even when their parents do not follow contemporary culture, children feel secure when their parents consistently act in agreement.
Are you and your significant other in agreement about how (or if) to celebrate Halloween?
Pull Out Your Creed Notebooks
Print out the following questions and add them to your Creed notebook. Soon, we will begin work on your Couple’s Creed!
- When I think of Halloween, what are the first words or phrases which come to my mind?
- How did my family celebrate Halloween when I was a child?
- Am I comfortable continuing the practice?
- What, if anything, do I wish to do differently?
- Do I believe it is possible to separate the evil associated with Halloween with the more seemingly innocent practices of dressing up and getting candy?
- What do I want to teach my children about Halloween?
- Have I studied the holiday enough to feel comfortable celebrating it or avoiding it?
- What facts do I know about Halloween and where did I get my information?
- How will I address those who interfere with my children regarding Halloween (e.g., a relative who buys my child a gruesome costume against my will, friends who include children in Halloween activities behind my back, etc.)?
- How do my Christian friends who celebrate Halloween justify their involvement?
- Do they use Scripture in their justification?
- Do I agree with their points of view enough that I could adopt them myself?
- Are we in agreement about what part we want Halloween to play in our family?
- Are there other holidays which others celebrate that I would rather have my family avoid?
What Does the Bible Say?
Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. (3 John 1:11, ESV)
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:11, ESV)
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:21, 31, ESV)
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Romans 12:9, ESV)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, ESV)
Abstain from every form of evil. (I Thessalonians 5:22, ESV)
Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:31, ESV)
It is unlikely that you will specifically write about Halloween in your creed, but you may want to consider noting what place evil – serious, playful, or ‘innocent’ – will have in your marriage. Some of my long-time believing friends put up dozens of spooky decorations every year; whereas, other friends of mine want nothing to do with Halloween. Some think it is harmless and go all out for their children’s pleasure; whereas, others allow only cute or innocent costumes. There are those who say that the answer is cut and dry – no celebration of Halloween or anything which attaches itself to darkness. For others, Halloween involvement is on a situation-by-situation basis (e.g., “Yes, you can attend a Trunk-or-Treat at your friend’s church; but, you cannot dress as a demon for the Halloween party in your friend’s basement”, etc.).
If one of you takes the Halloween-abstinence approach and the other wants to look at each situation independently, there is likely to be some head-butting in your future. It is impossible to agree with your future spouse about everything, but the more you can agree (truly agree – not just give lip service), the easier it will be to obtain and keep unity in your marriage.
Your children will be watching you. They will notice how you interact in all manner of situations. What do you want to teach them about celebrations? What do you want them to believe about Halloween? If after discussing it, you realize you do not agree on how to observe Halloween, ask yourselves an important question. Is one or the other of us willing to back down?
Have a happy week, everyone. Try not to eat too much candy and enjoy a date, perhaps at sunset. ?
A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween. – Erma Bombeck
I’ll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween. – Charles S. Swartz
Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off you. He opens you up and scoops out all the yucky stuff– including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for all the world to see. – Unknown
Do you and your partner agree on how to observe Halloween?