The Halloween Question
Do We Participate or Not?
Joey and Carla Link
October 23, 2019
When I (Joey) was growing up, my parents felt that participating in Halloween activities was a celebration of the devil, therefore we were not allowed to participate in the many Oct. 31 activities. But as a 3rdborn child, I wasn’t told this, so after school one year when I was about 10, I went to an afterschool party and then my friends and I went trick or treating on the way back to my house. To say my mom was not happy with me is an understatement! But I didn’t know it was wrong, and I didn’t have all her beliefs.
It’s easy to expect our kids to have our convictions, but they don’t absorb them by osmosis. Convictions must be taught. And please note, teaching is not a one time or one year event. It can take several years for your kids to embrace your conviction about what is right or wrong with Halloween, especially when friends and relatives are pulling them another way.
Christian parents themselves are confronted with this question every year when many don’t have a feeling one way or another or one spouse grew up trick or treating to their hearts content and the other wasn’t allowed to.
Questions to ponder about Halloween to help you with your convictions:
- Is Halloween a celebration of the devil?
- If your kids participate in Halloween, will it be teaching them the devil is fun?
- Can they dress up and go trick or treating just for fun?
- Many churches have fall festivals and dress up parties, “Trunk or Treat”. If you participate at Halloween time, is this a celebration of Halloween?
- Carving pumpkins with your kids is a fun activity and lighting them and putting them on your porch is pretty. Did you know the jack-a-lanterns are supposed to be scary faces and are placed near doors in order to ward off evil spirits? How about letting your kids paint happy faces on them instead?
Hopefully this will not disappoint you, but our goal and responsibility is not to set your standards but to help you think through what are right and wrong standards for you and your kids.
The reason we challenge you with the above questions is because as your kids grow into the pre-teen and teen years, you will need to answer these kinds of questions because their friends both Christians and non-believers will be questioning and challenging them as to why they can’t or won’t participate with them.
The bigger questions are:
- Do your teens understand who the devil is and what it looks like when their generation celebrates him? 2 Corinthians 11:4 says “he masquerades as an angel of light.”
- Do your kids know how to fight the devil (temptation to do wrong)? Jesus did in Matthew 4 and he even had conversations with Satan as He was tempted 3 times over 40 days and nights to do things Satan’s way.
Jesus’ disciple wrote in I Peter 5:8-9,
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith...“
Do your kids know how to resist the devil’s temptations?
- When they are tempted to say something wrong or speak badly to a sibling, can they hold back until they can speak kindly?
- When they are tempted to speak disrespectfully to you or hit a brother or sister because they don’t like what they did or said, can they control their own actions?
- When they hear you call their name and they want to choose not to respond and say “Yes Mom/Dad”, can they override their feelings and do what is right?
- Can they hang around with friends who don’t have the same moral standards as they do and instead of talking like them or acting like them be a model of what’s right to them?
We aren’t sure we understood what October 31st meant to other cultures until we were in Mexico in late October one year. They call it “All Saint’s Eve” and they believe the dead can come alive again. They set up tabernacles to their dead relatives in their yards and in the street. We walked around for a bit and then went back to our hotel for the rest of the day and night due to the sick feeling in our bodies and souls. It gave us an entirely new perspective on that day.
Ultimately the questions about celebrating Halloween must be prayed over and you must be in agreement on what you choose to do. Then you need to lovingly be prepared to answer your kids’ questions by explaining to them why it is either right or wrong for your family.
Romans 14:5 is a good verse to work from when you are considering what to do with October 31st.
“One person considers one day more sacred than another;
another considers every day alike.
Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.”
One Final Thought:
We are called to love each other not judge other Christians for
what they choose to do or not to do with October 31st.