The cultural holiday of Halloween is officially upon us. What does this mean for Christians? For believers, cultural norms should be measured by God’s truth. Of course there are some gray areas. For example, the Bible says as much about Halloween as it does unicorns. So, what should we do?
Christians can react to culture in 3 ways: receive, reject, or redeem. Mark Driskoll, who lives in Arizona, has taught this and I find it to be very thought provoking and helpful! I will explain these options in regards to Halloween and you can prayerfully and carefully make your choice.
Receive: This would mean to take the holiday of Halloween as is. Is it a sin to dress up, go to parties, and pass out candy to strangers? Jesus attended plenty of parties in New Testament times, after all. In response, the religious elite complained that He was hanging out with sinners. Thankfully, He still does to this day! Jesus went to those parties and he never sinned. He was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard, so you could imagine some of the things going on at those parties. The Bible also says for you to live by your conscience (Romans 2:14-15). If any of this would make you uncomfortable, you don’t have to receive every part, but maybe some parts. Instead of dressing up as a zombie, someone could dress up as a firefighter, police officer, or superhero.
Some would receive the holiday as a way is to reach people who don’t know Jesus. This is the one time of year where it is socially acceptable for your neighbor, who you presumably don’t know that well, to come up to your door and ask for candy. If this happened in July, things could get weird really fast and the cops will probably be called.
Reject: This is where a person totally rejects the holiday because of it origination. Black cats originate in Voodoo. Jack-o-lanterns were used to ward off evil spirits that may come to your home. The saying “trick or treat” originated from the idea that someone on Halloween would come to your door and say, “you will get a trick if you don’t give me a treat.” The “trick” I am speaking of is casting a demonic spirit on the person’s home to play tricks on them. The idea of zombies is literally a demonic spirit possessing a deceased person’s body to make a mockery of the resurrection. The origination, and even some of the things practiced today in association with Halloween, would lead people to reject the holiday completely. They would look to verses like Romans 13:12, “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Christians who reject Halloween made a much lesser known holiday on November 1st called “All Saints Day.” Instead of dressing up as a zombie, devil, or witch, they would dress up as Jonah, Moses, Peter, etc.
Redeem: This is when a person sees the holiday and turns it into something that can be used for good. Just as God redeems us, Christians can redeem things and days as well. One example would be Christmas. We don’t know the exact date of Jesus’ birth. The Bible says that the shepherds were out in their fields when Jesus was born, which would be very unlikely during the winter months in Israel. December 25th actually started out as a pagan holiday called Saturnalia. Christians wanted to redeem that holiday since they were already off of work and began celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25th. Christmas trees and even gift giving were pagan in nature, but Christians turned the holiday around to worship and celebrate the God of the universe. A pagan holiday was redeemed into a Christian holiday celebrated by billions around the world.
Prayerfully and carefully consider these 3 choices and what the Lord would have you do this Halloween. Make a choice that doesn’t violate your conscience and show grace to those who choose differently!