Thursday, October 7, 2010


I'm going to do something that I don't typically like to do on my blog.  I'm going to bring up a controversial subject.  It's something that's been on my mind and I'm really curious to hear some different opinions & thoughts.

What is the Christian to do about Halloween?

My husband and I both grew up in Christian families.  But our families approached Halloween differently.

For me, we just avoided the scary stuff, but as kids we did dress up and go trick or treating.  And, since we lived way out in the country, our trick or treating was limited.  Our mom had to drive us to the homes of a few friends, family, & neighbors (maybe 6 or 7 houses tops).  Walking was not an option.  Our church also had 'Fall Harvest Parties' which we participated in complete with hay rides & hot cider.  And, occassionally we even dressed up in costumes for those.

For my husband, I'm sure he attended church sponsored harvest parties too.  But, his family did not participate in the costume/ trick or treating part.  Halloween and anything related to it was avoided completely.

Now that we have children of our own, I have felt very torn on this subject.  I think that wearing costumes & trick or treating is just plain fun.  We've allowed our boys to participate in this way, but very reluctantly on my husband's part.  And, now I'm not sure either how I feel about the whole thing.

Can we just enjoy the innocence of trick or treat and avoid the evil that goes along with Halloween?

I really don't know.

Our MOPS ( Mothers of Preschoolers) group is planning on addressing this topic at our next meeting.  And, I'm really interested to hear what other moms have to say.

(Oh, and the ironic part?  My husband and I actually met at a costume party one year over Halloween.)

How does your family handle this holiday?


  1. Well ... all I can do is share why we do what we do. It is so true that there are so many diverse thoughts even among Christians.

    It might help you to also know our backgrounds - I did not grow up a Christian; in fact, I grew up VERY MUCH not a Christian and I know a lot about things I wish I didn't... like the occult. My husband did grow up a Christian and was much like you described your family. They celebrated Halloween but were always tasteful in their choices.

    For our children, we used to let them dress up and go visit family for candy. More recently, as they have gotten older, we've decided to not participate in Halloween at all. There are a few reasons:

    First, the occult is real. There are real Satanists and the roots of Halloween are founded in this occult in some form. As Americans in middle class, we rarely see the effects of this occult, but nonetheless, it does exist. It is real and it is dangerous.

    Next, We want our children to respect that this occult is real. We don't want them to dismiss it. Honestly, it is tempting to let the kids dress up. It is tempting to let them go out for candy. All of this really is innocent enough. After all, the kids just want to dress up, get candy and have fun! But, then we remember we want to teach our children to respect the idea of spiritual warfare. We don't want to water it down or belittle the damaging influence of the occult, nor do we want to water down or belittle the power of the spirutal armor that Paul talks about in Galatians. I honestly want to create a fervent desire in my kids' hearts to live for their Heavenly Kingdoms ... to not be afraid to be strangers on this earth. Giving up trick or treating is just a small step - a small sacrifice.

    The Bible does talk about abstaining from appearances of evil and to stay away from these forms of darkness ... and forgive me for not quoting the references just now ... trying to type and keep these preschoolers out of trouble is a challenge : )

    Off topic but related, we also do not celebrate Santa or the Easter Bunny. We celebrate the spiritual reasons for those Holidays and again, we don't want to water that down for our kids. We don't think Santa or the Easter Bunny are evil or anything, we just have taught the kids that they are imaginary characters like any other. We do give gifts and even give out candy on Easter but we are clear about what we are celebrating. I once heard someone say, we excpect our kids to trust us, to believe us when we talk about our faith, about Jesus. If we mislead them for so long about Santa, the Easter Bunny or whatever ... why would they beleive us about Jesus, whom they also can't see with their eyes? I thought that was a good point and it was ultimately what led us to make our decisions regarding those holidays.

    I know our choices make us stand out. We seem weird and legalistic to some. I know a lot of other believers don't understand or agree with us and even think we are pious. That isn't what it is about, honestly. We aren't trying to be better than others - we just want to live for our eternities and be sober about it ... we aren't legalistic, goody-two-shoes or dull, boring people (seriously? We have 4 boys and 2 girls!). We are just a family doing the best we can with what God has laid on our hearts ... and if we didn't listen to those convictions, we couldn't teach our kids how to be servants of Him, let alone do such ourselves ... honoring the Lord Jesus Christ is what gives our lives meaning - we want to be sure we take it seriously!

    Sorry for taking up all of this comment space! Thanks for your challenge and thanks for visiting my blog, too : ) Have a blessed day!

  2. Ugh, this one is hard. Because I LOVE Halloween. It's my favorite holiday. And I really love dressing up.
    Honestly, I could do without trick or treating. I hate the sugar and the gimme attitude so many kids have. But I like taking mine around the block. (If they miss a thank you, we go home)
    But so many people have been posting about this and making me think, especially Stephanie's reminder to avoid the appearance of evil.
    I don't want to avoid the holiday all together, but can't really blame anyone who chooses to. Remember, Christmas and Easter both have roots in paganism as well if you put up a tree or dye eggs. I have no problem with those, but the ties to witchcraft in Halloween concern me.
    So I'm going to keep doing Halloween my own way for now: spiders, skeletons, cider & pumpkins. And now I think I'll try to be more vigilant about avoiding the evil in any form (like witches & vampires).

  3. Karen,
    Every year I debate whether or not to post about Halloween on my blog. Thank you for your courage:-).

    I grew up like you did- pretty much exactly, as did my husband. I always hated the evil things I would see at Halloween but figured it was okay to participate because my parents said we could.

    Then, in college, a video was shown one Halloween and it changed me forever. I have no idea what it was called or how to watch it again, but I'm going to try to do some research and find out. This documentary interviewed Christians who had been involved in witchcraft and Satan worship in the past. They recounted the ways that they celebrated Halloween. I will not repeat what that entailed because it is too horrible. One of them made the comment that they would have never celebrated Christmas and they thought it was ironic that Christians celebrated Halloween.

    That's where Halloween came to a screeching halt for me. I was dating Jamey at the time and told him my decision. He's been on board since, so our kids have never dressed up and we don't give out candy.

    It's easy to explain Halloween away by how it got started and to say that it's your attitude that counts. But when I think about what goes on on Halloween, I shudder and I'm reminded that God is a jealous God.

    That's how we handle it. I does get awkward at time and the kids see the costumes in the stores and want to dress-up, so we've picked up animals costumes that they use for dress-up throughout the year- but that's all it is dress-up and pretend play.

    That's where we're at. Now I'm off to investigate that documentary....:-)

  4. I'm so glad you posted about this because my husband and I have been discussing it a lot lately! Our children are both little so we are trying to decide what to do no before we get any habits started that are hard to undo.

    Jason and I both grew up trick or treating. It seemed like innocent fun at the time but as we became parents its kind of depressing to see a holiday based on "gimme gimme".

    As far as the occult, I was wiccan for 2 years and know the significance of this holiday. Thy Hand Hath Provided made an excellent point about God being a jealous god, it is something we should keep in mind!

    Church's try to make halloween innocent fun but I think they often fall short. Because there is no real Christian reason to celebrate it, why bother?

    The church we are joining and soon to be baptized in celebrates Reformation Day so that takes care of it for us.

    Off topic as well, we have decided to celebrate Christmas and Easter as purely spiritual holidays and reinforce the fact that Santa and the Easter bunny are NOT real. I like the point above about lying to our children. How can they believe us about God when they can't even see Him.

    Great conversation, again, so glad you posted about this!

  5. For years we did not do anything for Halloween and the boys were young and didn't know. When our oldest started school, we pulled him out on Halloween. Now we let them dress up (it's usually what they want to be, farmer, like Daddy, hunter....) and let them attend the school parade that day. Because that is the fun part of Halloween.

    I understand why people don't celebrate, I understand how it can be an evil day, I despise taking the boys to any grocery store to see scary things, I despise the commercials on tv.

    But I think it's better to show the boys that you can, in fact, live in the world and not be a part of it. It's fun to dress up. It's fun to go with our friends and trick or treat and meet all their friends parents in our little farm town. But it's also important to teach them that there are bad things about the day.

    And this is one Moma who is ECSTATIC when Halloween is OVER.

  6. We dress the kids up and trick or treat. The kids love it. Both my husband and I went growing up. We really enjoying taking the kids. I don't like the scary piece either though.

  7. Hey Karen,

    What a fabulous topic. I'm loving reading the comments, too. This is such a hard one.

    My husband grew up in a family that loved Halloween. His mom would go all out on scary decorations and would turn their garage into a haunted house. My family would dress up and attend a fall festival at church they called a "Hallelujah Party." We would occasionally go to a few houses to get candy.

    Now that we have kids, we let them dress up in non-scary costumes. We don't do costumes or decorations that involve death, gore, or witchcraft. We always go to a church fall festival and let them visit a few houses just on our street.

    But over the years this holiday has begun to bother me more and more. I got a flyer in my mailbox of costumes that sickened me--devil and witch costumes for babies all the way up to horror and seductive costumes for teens and adults. And when we saw on the calendar that this year Halloween was on Sunday, one of my daughters said, "But we can't celebrate Halloween on the Lord's Day." It made me think, then why should we be celebrating Halloween on any day? If my child can see that it's inappropriate to do so on a day set aside for worshipping Him, then why can't I see that it's inappropriate to do so on days that should only glorify Him. Have we made something gray that should be black and white? Much to think about.

    Thanks for checking on me! I promise to post more now that our adoption paperwork is almost done. Thanks for keeping in touch.

    I hope all is well with you and your sweet family.

    Much Love,

  8. I know my kids are older and we don't trick or treat any more but we always kept things nice and sweet nothing scary or mean. I think the holiday is what you make of it. But this is really something you and your husband have to agree on. Good luck in your decision. Thanks for stopping by and entering the giveaway. I always need new pans also. Good luck.

  9. Stephanie,

    Thanks for your comment. I just opened a discussion of FB about this same subject. A friend of mine responded that their church does an alternative event and invites neighborhood kids to participate. Her response was, "Jesus would be out there in the middle of it...don't you think?" I must admit, I struggle with that. While I know that Jesus was, in fact, a fisher of men...and welcomed little children to come unto Him, I'm also very in touch with His response to those in the temple marketplace. When I think of Jesus being "in the middle of it," I must admit that, upon seeing His face, I would definitely feel like a kid caught with her hand in the proverbial (and literal) candy jar...very ashamed, and totally remoresful for taking such a cavalier attitude when it comes to respecting Him. I know better. I've read the Old Testament. Our God is a jealous God. It makes me uncomfortable to entertain anything that would blur the line of honoring and worshipping Him with our choices, even if under the guise of "witnessing" and reaching the unchurched. Isn't that something we're supposed to be doing 365 days a year, anyway? I'm also well aware of the dark side of the holiday, having worked in mental health for 20 years. There is a spiritual battle going on, and I intend to keep my kids sensitized to that; participating in Halloween doesn't fall in line with that objective in the least. me weird, call me legalistic, but I love my Lord, respect His power, and choose to honor Him with this this choice.

  10. I tried to post earlier but blogger wasn't cooperating. I will try to remember what I said.

    I grew up the same as you. We didn't really celebrate it but we did go T or Ting.

    I try to concentrate my decorating on Autumn rather than Halloween.

    My kids like to dress up but they usually do something decent. We usually make our own costumes. MY son has been a police officer, a firefighter and an army guy. Oh, his most creative was a knight.
    My youngest was a princess, a cat, a dog. This year she decided to be a cool girl. When I asked what a cool girl dressed like she said, "You know, COOL!" I saw a photo of a hippie costume and she decided that was her cool girl costume.

    When we lived in the country, going T or Ting was never an issue. My kids knew nothing about it, but, when we moved into town, they all the sudden realized other kids were doing this.

  11. We don't celebrate- we give out candy because my husband insists we do and I feel like the only people who didn't give out candy when I was little was jehovah's witnesses.
    Our church has a harvest party and sometimes we go to chuck e cheese, just to get the kids out of the house.
    It is very hard and it seems like everyone at church has different ideas about trick or treating.
    This is hard as is a lot of things I have noticed as my children get older and I disagree with a lot of the parents within my own church.
    I do not like grey areas, but there seems to be a lot of them.

  12. Karen,

    A bit late, but I just found this article and I thought it was so fabulously written, I wanted to share it ...

    It it titled: "The Five Scariest Things You Can Do This Halloween" It is wonderfully thought provoking. Hopefully you'll think so, too.


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