Halloween: Redeem or Retreat?

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I posted this at the article site but wanted to add it here. I appreciated the tone, but I have to disagree with thought that doing nothing is awkward. We turn of the lights and close the front gate. Since I am a teacher, we still have a couple of students who come by every year, and I simply let them know we are not celebrating the holiday or handing out candy. It provides an open door for discussion. This is the same discussion we have at stores when clerks ask our kids if they are excited about halloween approaching. I just think there's too much baggage with halloween to participate in good conscience. You simply cannot avoid the occultic influences unless you isolate yourself, which negates the holiday anyway. I don't participate in church substitutions for some of the same reasons I disapprove of CCM. If the church is going to say halloween is a holiday to avoid, adding a little Jesus doesn't suddenly make it alright. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Julie Anne's picture

do the same as Chip as far as turning off the lights and not handing out candy.  We'd go downstairs in the basement and watch a movie together as a family and have a family night.  

Not anymore.  Now I enjoy going to the door and meeting children in my neighborhood.  I ask about their costumes, where they go to school, give them some candy and make a connection with them.  Later in the summer, I might see some of them at my community pool.  

Most major holidays have pagan symbolism attached to them.  Do you have a Christmas tree each year?  That has pagan origins.  You can decide how your family will celebrate the holiday - - changing the symbols so they have Christian meanings (ie, using a red and white candy cane can represent sin/blood and white - forgiveness "white as snow") and His truth or as the pagans did.  

I liked this video I recently saw on the topic.

Jim's picture

Halloween and Evangelical Identity

An evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for Halloween.

A conservative evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for the church’s “Fall Festival.”

A confessional evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as Zwingli and Bucer for “Reformation Day.”

A revivalist evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as demons and angels for the church’s Judgment House community evangelism outreach.

An Emerging Church evangelical is a fundamentalist who has no kids, but who dresses up for Halloween anyway.

A fundamentalist is a fundamentalist whose kids hand out gospel tracts to all those mentioned above.

Jim's picture

  • Our neighborhood only has about 70 homes. 
  • There are many older (some retired & some empty nesters) couples in our neighborhood and not many kids
  • Plus in Minnesota the weather can be nasty (see 1991 Halloween blizzard
  • I see the holiday as an opportunity to connect with the few neighbors who have young children. 
  • Almost every visitor is a young child not in a demonic-themed costume. In most cases the parent(s) are standing nearby
  • We have had Halloweens when no one visited (because of rain or wind or cold)
  • So I welcome the kids who will visit tomorrow night. And I will greet their parents
James K's picture

We don't celebrate Halloween for the same reasons we don't celebrate Christmas or Easter.  Christianity was not supposed to merge with paganism.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

christian cerna's picture

Agreed. Halloween is a completely pagan and demonic holiday. It is the celebration of death. It should not even be acknowledged by Christians. Best to just stay home and ignore trick-or-treaters. If every Christian home were to do this, eventually Halloween might become less popular, as kids find they are not getting much candy.

I know some churches try to have a service on Halloween to give Christian kids something to do on that night. But it is just another way to celebrate the day. 

A lot of evil stuff happens on that night. If you really want to make a difference, you should be praying for the safety of all those children walking out there in the dark. 

 

 

 

Ron Bean's picture

I'm expecting trick or treaters at my place tomorrow night. I wanted to buy a big bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and then hope no one shows up. (My wife got fruit snacks instead.)

It appears that the demons and Halloween have as much in common as Ashtaroth and Easter or Thor and Thursday.

When I hear of the "Dress up like Bible characters" party, I remember the teenager who came dressed as Rahab the harlot.

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

dmicah's picture

This is not to crack on anyone's personal convictions, but rather logic.

If Jesus had applied some of the reasoning here, he would not have come in bodily form. The entire cosmos is a reverberating symbol of sin's effects on God's glory. You can shade this "holiday" as occultic in origin, but death reigns among all men. The children of disobedience are inherently of their father, the devil. As a believer's life points to a righteous Messiah, everyday, those without Christ by nature point to the evil one. Why does one particular date really matter?

Jesus entered, and conquered a world pulsing with evil. He didn't avoid. He didn't stay home and have family night. In fact, Jesus seems to prefer dominating Satan face to face. He embarrassed Lucifer with a showdown in Job. He rebuffed his temptations on earth. Soldiers don't fight in their base, they go to the battlefield.

Churches offering a safe alternative makes a lot of sense as communities can gravitate toward a family friendly environment where Jesus is celebrated. The church become a light and takes kids off the "dark streets". Handing out candy and engaging children and parents is a way to share light. It's not a celebration of evil. It's active. Like our Savior.

James K's picture

dmicah, by your same logic, Paul would not have forbid the mixing of the Lord's supper with eating with demons.  Despite the fallen world, the NT does strictly forbid participation with certain things.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

dmicah's picture

James K wrote:

dmicah, by your same logic, Paul would not have forbid the mixing of the Lord's supper with eating with demons.  Despite the fallen world, the NT does strictly forbid participation with certain things.

I'm not certain this really addresses my point. First, Paul said avoiding the food offered to idols was about our testimony to the unbeliever who offered the food in the first place. It wasn't a problem on our side. Idols are fake in the first place. Second, 1 Cor 10 is a sum of an expansive two chapter argument about idolatry, not merely a prohibition on specific food. Third, I agree that the NT can make prohibitions, and our behavior can/should be limited by biblical parameters. But I'm not sure we can extrapolate that to Halloween specifically. The food offered to idols was specifically involved in known false worship. Halloween, despite its roots, is now a cultural event no different than March Madness or Black Friday or July the Fourth. Thus it is not specifically a matter of false worship.

If we take Halloween to be idolatry, does that mean I must throw away all of my kids' candy? Please say no. Biggrin

 

J Ng's picture

dmicah wrote:

If we take Halloween to be idolatry, does that mean I must throw away all of my kids' candy? Please say no. Biggrin

 

To speak nothing of your Ishtar/Oester eggs and Christmas presents and yule logs!

Jim Welch's picture

Brilliant presentation!  I don't know if dmicah liked it; but I did.  Thanks Greg for sharing it with us.