Halloween: How My Thoughts Have Changed Over Time

Satan is constantly trying to twist and distort Christian celebrations for his glory. Why can’t we do the same to one of his “celebrations”?

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It’s that time of the year again. Temperatures are falling, leaves are changing colors, pumpkins are decorating porches . . . and Christians are participating in the never-ending debate about the celebration of Halloween.

Is it right for a Christian family to join in the secular celebration of Halloween or not?

A Christian view of HalloweenI understand the debate. As a child, I went trick or treating with my family. As a teenager, I delivered tracts door to door on Halloween as an alternative to trick or treating. As an adult, I struggled with this question with my own children and, for many years, decided not to participate.

I have been through years where we turned out the lights and watched movies in the basement.

I serve at a church where we have a Fall Family Festival as an alternative and outreach to the community.

I know the dangers of the occult and the warnings to avoid even the appearance of evil.

I get it. I really do.

But I let my children go trick or treating in our neighborhood last year and I am going to let them go again this year.

Why?

Because I believe that the opportunities for good far outweigh the appearances of evil.

Last year on Halloween, I couldn’t help but notice that many of the houses in our neighborhood had their porch lights on. As I looked down the street, I could see neighbors who were normally inside their homes standing on their porches or right inside their front doors waiting excitedly for children to come asking for candy. These were our neighbors . . . people within our sphere of influence . . . people we are called to share the love of Jesus with . . .

and they were all waiting . . . inviting us to come up to their doors with our children . . . inviting us to be part of their lives for this one night.

What other night is there when our neighbors actually WANT us to come to their door? What other night is there when it is EXPECTED that we approach them, that we are INVITED to their homes? What other night is there when we can open OUR doors and other families will actually WANT to come to us?

But so many of us spend this night in the basement with the lights off.

What message does that send?

When I looked down my street last year, I couldn’t help but notice the opportunities that were there, and I couldn’t help but think of the message we were sending by keeping our children inside. Were we somehow communicating to our neighbors that we felt that we were better than they were, that we were too “spiritual” to associate with them on this night?

“Hey kids,” I said enthusiastically, “Why don’t you run and get on a costume and go trick or treating at the neighbors?”

And that’s how our 12 year avoidance of Halloween was broken.

Yes, I know that Halloween is a pagan holiday. Yes, I know that Satan is very real. I understand the struggle that takes place in the spiritual realm.

But I believe that our God is bigger. Our God is stronger. Our God is much more powerful than Satan and his forces.

Satan is constantly trying to twist and distort Christian celebrations for his glory. Why can’t we do the same to one of his “celebrations?”

We are called to be the light of the world. But the light of the world can’t shine if it is hidden under a bushel . . . or in a dark house . . . or in the basement with the lights off.

We are called to be the salt of the earth. But if the salt never gets out of the shaker, how can it do any good?

What does it look like to the world when we are so concerned with whether or not Christians should participate in Halloween activities that we miss the opportunities to be light and salt that this very night provides?

pumpkin_cuteMy kids will not dress like ghosts, goblins, or witches. We will not attend haunted houses. But we will reach out to our neighbors on this night. We will walk down our street, say “hello”, build relationships, and show our neighbors that we do not think we are better than they are, that we do not have a “holier-than-thou” attitude.

We will stop judging the world and start loving our neighbors instead.

And maybe, just maybe, we will begin to make a difference in our sphere of influence as a result.

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Author: Cheri Gamble

Cheri Gamble is a minister's wife and mom to five boys who lives in Southwestern Lower Michigan. She and her husband, Tom, have been married for over twenty years and they have been involved with vocational ministry for just as long. Cheri enjoys working with the children and youth at her church as a Sunday School teacher, children's worship leader, and children's music and drama leader. She also works as the Project Manager at the local Pregnancy Resource Center. In her free time, Cheri enjoys reading, writing, working on her blog, and watching football with her boys.

21 thoughts on “Halloween: How My Thoughts Have Changed Over Time”

  1. I think that I’ve had a similar debate within myself in recent years. I do not want to look worldly or make a decision that points someone away from Jesus, but the question is – what will point them to Jesus? Today, I’m planning on celebrating Halloween with my daughter. We will decorate the house and dress up. We will avoid witches, etc. but have fun playing dress up and being part of the community.

    1. This can definitely be a tough issue to resolve. I think every family needs to decide this issue for themselves. Sometimes Christians spend so much time debating topics like Halloween, though, that we forget about the more important things . . . like being a part of our community. Thanks for your comment!

  2. We also changed our minds about Halloween. I wrote about it last year and a reader shared an excellent link that gives a more accurate look at the history of Halloween if you would like to read it. 🙂

    This is my post: http://sallieborrink.com/why-we-changed-our-mind-about-celebrating-halloween/

    This is the link: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/10/halloween-orthodox-christian-perspective.html

    (I found you via the Inspired Bloggers Group!)

    1. Thanks for your comment! I read your article and smiled through the entire thing! I did have to wonder if the weather held out and you were able to have a fun night together 🙂

  3. Cheri, Thank you so much for visiting CMB. It’s nice to meet you! I agree with your post completely. We’ve done Halloween, and for years lived on a street with only three houses where we had the only children, so we didn’t participate then. Now we’re back in a busy subdivision and our puppy loves having the children come to the door and we love talking with them and oohing and aahing over their costumes. It’s a great way to let our light and love shine. Blessings!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I think that the potential for building relationships with our neighbors is so great on Halloween. And I love what you said about “oohing and aahing” over costumes. Parents LOVE it when we do that and it’s a great way to show interest in their lives!

  4. I agree wholeheartedly. As believers seeking to be in the world but not of it, it is far too easy to let go of one side or the other of this tension. I think it is possible to use Halloween as an opportunity to intentionally engage our neighbors in loving, non-threatening ways while not participating in the dark spiritual aspects of the holiday. We did the same thing with Hindu holy days when we lived in South Asia, visiting our neighbors with the appropriate gifts and using the open doors that their festivals provided as opportunities to build those relationships. What’s more, we then played up our own Christian “holy days” by inviting them around for special Christmas and Resurrection celebrations. Wise as serpents and innocent as doves. And above all, viewing “others” with the love our Lord feels for them. If he was willing to “eat with sinners,” how much more should we be willing to share in the celebrations of our neighbors.

    1. I think what you said is truly the key . . . viewing “others” with the love our Lord feels for them. Sometimes in our zeal, we forget the love part! And I think it is great how you were able to serve as such a great witness to your South Asian neighbors. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I love this post. Sounds kind of like what my parents went through when we were kids! I think I will be allowing my future kids to trick or treat. What my parents did I think is a good idea too: have your kids go to a seniors home! It made the older people SO happy to hand out candy to us, see costumes, etc. We spent time playing cards and stuff with them too 🙂 Turn it into something good.

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Cheri. I so appreciate your reflections and perspective. As foreigner now living in the USA, it has been hard to try and figure out what Halloween means – there is so much faith and culture and parenting baggage associated with this. I wrote about my experience with halloween last year (http://bronlea.com/2013/10/30/its-halloween-and-im-confused/) – but your post gives me some new things to think about. I think I’m on the road to being a little less confused 🙂

  7. Certainly we shouldn’t be in our basements with the lights off, and you make a valid point about the availability to share with others. We don’t celebrate Halloween, and don’t plan on it in the future, but neither do we judge others who do. Alternately, I don’t live in town so that makes it easier for our family not to be involved. What I have learned is most important is praying and seeking the Lord in each decision.
    May He always guide you.

    Blessings
    Dawn

  8. Yes, it’s so confusing! I’m a PK, so of course we never participated in Satan’s holiday. Then, as a young mother, I took my kids to Fall Festivals at church. Personally, I think that is the best option. But , I love your perspective. Go out and be salt and light- yes!
    I love the senior home comment too. How wonderful to minister to the elderly!
    I found you from FibroMom.

  9. This is a great article. As a former wiccan priestess, I can say I know both sides of this annual conundrum. I get the reasons to avoid this “holiday.” Here’s my now Christian take. The Lord God created every day. Every. Single. Day. They are all His and satan doesn’t get any. Not one. No matter what people on either side want to think. Thanks for sharing this.

  10. My kids were allowed to trick or treat in our neighborhood then we went to our church festival years ago. Over the years The festival became something we didn’t enjoy. Too many kids, scary costumes, kid that would not follow the rules, not enough manpower. My daughter just moved into a new neighborhood and they plan to trick or treat and meet the neighborhood.

  11. Unfortunately we are not supposed to get out of the shaker by joining in with a dark world. We are supposed to do so by maintaining God’s standards and sharing the gospel in a way that honors Him. And by directly disobeying Him and what we know to be right is not doing that. The world doesn’t think you a wonderful Christian, it thinks you a hypocrite. You can’t win in the eyes of the lost. I also agree that keeping your lights off does not do anything for God. But rather than JOINING them in their wrong doing we can hand them a tract when they knock. Or better yet, tell them why it is that you won’t be taking part. Doing so with love is not judging it’s being separate. As we are commanded to be.

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