Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

 

Should Christians even participate in Halloween?

My husband and I are in agreement when it comes to this topic.  But, I’m not going to tell you what our family does when it comes to Halloween (though you can probably guess where our convictions fall just by glancing through old photos from past Octobers).

I’m not going to tell you, because that really isn’t the point.

What our family does, may change as God raises conviction or transforms our hearts.

What our family does, may not be what God has designated for your family.

So how do we decide about Halloween?

We look to God’s Word (though as you’ll see below, even among Christians who truly recognize God’s Word as the Ultimate Authority…there is disagreement about this decision).

We honestly analyze our own motivation (self-deception is such a comfortable mask to slip on).

We choose humility over pride (knowing that we are a work-in-progress and God often convicts and changes hearts in His own timing).

We seek out wisdom from godly men and women (while acknowledging that no one is infallible and that God’s plan for each family or person may be different when it comes to matters-of-the-conscience).

We pray and ask God (with a sincere heart and listening ears that are ready and willing to obey).

We give grace to those with differing viewpoints (realizing that godly men and women fall on both sides of this discussion and that it isn’t an issue critical to salvation).

We seek God’s glory (above our own traditions and comfort levels and fears and needs).

After several profitable discussions about Halloween last year (with women I greatly respect), and after receiving requests from readers for a repost of  last year’s Halloween discussion, I want to share a few of the resources that we have-and-are-processing-and-praying-through as we seek God’s wisdom in this area.

My prayer for us and for those considering this dilemma is that this would be food-for-thought, but above all else, that honoring God and living as light in the midst of darkness would be our true aim.

And as always…

What is the best safe-guard against false teaching?
Beyond all doubt the regular study of the Word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible was given to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm. 119:105.)  The man who reads it aright will never be allowed greatly to err.
~ J.C. Ryle

 

What If We Approached Halloween as Christians On Mission? (From Piper’s church– Bethlehem Baptist)

John Piper on Halloween (video question and answer, but also in print)

What Christians Should Know About Halloween– (The Resurgence)

Christians and Halloween (from John MacArthur’s website–Grace To You)

Halloween and Leaving the Light On (Justin Taylor/The Gospel Coalition)

A Christian View On Halloween (from Courtney at Women Living Well)

Halloween Fast Approaches (Tim Challies)

Halloween– Trick or Retreat? (another by Tim Challies)

7 Reasons Halloween Judgment Houses Miss the Mark (Russell Moore)

We Do Not Celebrate Halloween (Many helpful resources listed explaining why a Christian would choose not to participate from a mom/writer whose genuine desire is to please God, not men).

Halloween (thoughts from Doug Wilson)

Luther Put a Nail in the Heart of Bad Religion–And 3 Other Holidays (from The Resurgence)

A Lens on Halloween  (from Adam’s The Gospel Lens)

Evangelical Definition and Halloween (Russell Moore at First Things…all in good fun)

Rethinking Halloween– (by my friend Elizabeth Johnson)

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?– (a thought-provoking post by Ashley Schnarr)

Why our Family Doesn’t Celebrate Halloween– (from Lisa Pennington)

What Christians Should Know About Halloween– (Justin Holcomb)

Would love to hear your thoughts…

 

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  • http://www.onefunmom.com Christy

    Thanks for your post on this! I remember it all last year, too! It looks like we do the same things. :)

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      I’m not surprised :)

  • http://dogfuranddandelions.com/ Elizabeth @ DogFur&Dandelions

    Good thoughts, Kara, and thanks for rounding up all those resources! I especially like your point about “giving grace to those with differing viewpoints.” It’s easy to have a strong opinion about halloween, and think every other opinion is just plain wrong. But we all have to seek God’s glory in our OWN lives, not in each other’s lives.

    Also, if you’re interested, here’s what I wrote about the subject last year: Rethinking Halloween.

    • http://www.barefoothippiegirl.com/ Barefoot Hippie Girl

      I just read yours, and left a comment. I don’t know if you will get notified, which is why I’m telling you here.=)

      • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

        Appreciate both of you!!! :)
        Great post Elizabeth…and what I love about it is that you clearly want to obey His leading in your life and response…thanks so much for sharing… Love, K

        P.S. Will add it to my list of resources :)

        • http://dogfuranddandelions.com/ Elizabeth @ DogFur&Dandelions

          Thanks friend :)

  • http://www.barefoothippiegirl.com/ Barefoot Hippie Girl

    Great post. We don’t celebrate, but we have to be careful what say to our kids on the subject. Grace, and others may, we may not. No condemnation. Just lay it out there-why we don’t.

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Totally understand where you’re coming from and have really close friends who share that same perspective…I love what you wrote about communicating with the kiddos. Jason and I feel the same way…want to make it clear that there are valid reasons for others to hold different convictions that we do as this point in our lives and walk with Him… Love that!

  • http://myevidentfaith.com/ Lori_MyEvidentFaith

    ooo, wow what a challenging and informative post!

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Thank you Lori :)

  • Lina

    Halloween- the day it self is of Druidic origin. The Druids celebrated two special nights of the year: Beltane in the spring and Samhain in the fall. Samhain, a night celebrating death and hell, was the Druids most important ritual. It was terrifying night of human sacrifices. And it was the original Halloween.
    There is good verse in the Bible Isaiah 28:15

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Lina, I very much understand where you are coming from and the history of Halloween I know has many evil and scary and horrible origins. If God has made it clear that for your family, participating in any part of the current traditions is not an option (and it really does sound like He has)…then I absolutely honor and admire your willingness to submit to Him and to obey.

      I have friends online and offline that share in your perspective…some that I included in the resource list because the heart behind this post is for families to be intentional, to ask God, to acknowledge that Christ-followers who are solid and in the Word differ in their conclusions and then to plead with Christians to be gracious in there interactions when it comes to this area, but also in other dilemmas that are a matter of the conscience.

      At this point in our lives…we feel like God has given us the freedom to “redeem” this time of year in our own way. We know in Christ there is victory over death and darkness. Our daughter Selah passed away a few years ago and though the pain was deep…it really solidified for me that we don’t grieve as those who are without hope. We don’t live in fear of Satan because through Christ’s death and resurrection…God has overcome, and nothing can touch the life of a Believer except for what has been sifted through the Father’s fingers.

      I hope I’m making some sense??? It’s difficult to have an online conversation and to communicate the tone and heart behind the words…but my heart is just to say to you…thank you for commenting and I love your willingness to obey God in an area where you feel He has clearly directed your family. In genuine love, Kara

  • Denise Oldham

    Thought provoking post.

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Thank you Denise… :)

  • Glenda Childers

    I like your intentionality.

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Thank you Genda…I appreciate that!

  • Jennifer

    We celebrate Halloween, just not mean/”scary stuff”. Growing up we wouldn’t and my husband and I said we wouldn’t. Then it hit me–If I do “Harvest” parties or whatever name they called it where kids would dress-up and collect candy, what is different? Changing a name but celebrating the same way isn’t really different. I don’t condemn those who do or don’t celebrate, I just have fun dressing my 2 y/o son. Be blessed:)

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Our family’s conclusions are very similar Jennifer…
      And how fun is it to see a 2 year old in costume?
      Our youngest, who is 3 wore a frog costume almost every day last week. Gotta love that! :)
      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting…

  • Margaret

    it is the one time I can dress up and have fun. I am 53 & like to clown around. We are too serious and need to lighten up.

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      I really enjoy 53-year-olds who are willing to dress up :)

  • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

    Random addendum response to a Facebook comment:

    I ♥ your heart to follow how He’s clearly directed your family and I so appreciate you sharing your wrestling…the process of laying this down before Him.

    I clicked on over to your profile before replying and your verse in the header is one of my favorites…it’s written right now on the white board by my kitchen table…and that is my prayer…that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my ♥ would be pleasing and acceptable in His sight.

    For us, it’s less about enjoying the costumes/candy etc. (though of course that is fun) and it’s more about the opportunity it provides to connect with people in our neighborhood. And I truly mean that.

    In Oregon, especially with our rainy weather (and maybe it’s not like that everywhere)…people typically drive in their garages and close the doors and aren’t seen much for 9 months out of the year.

    This is one of those strange times when it isn’t at all awkward to grab the kiddos, go knock on doors and talk with our neighbors…we met several of them for the first time on our trick-or-treating adventures.

    I have read through much of the history of Halloween and some of it is horrible and scary and repulsive…but at least at this point in our lives…we feel like God has give us the freedom to “redeem” it in our own, small way.

    And I guess I’m just convinced that it isn’t totally clear-cut-black-and-white because there are godly men and women I respect and admire who hold differing views when it comes to Halloween…all of them solid Christ followers, who are willing to submit to His leading. That’s why in the list of resources I shared…I shared all different perspectives.

    I do appreciate what you wrote though about the wrestling and if He doesn’t give peace…then my ♥ would lean towards thinking it best to avoid any participation.

    I guess my prayer is that Christ followers would be intentional and willing to ask Him for wisdom and that then, we’d approach each other with grace…

    (not its shallow-wishy-washy-easily-swayed-by-the-wind-counterfeit), but with true grace.

    Not a lack of conviction–
    For when God convicts, obedience is a must.
    Not unity at the expense of the true gospel–
    But a love that says-

    “My soul find yourself in Jesus and be free.” ~Andree Seu

    I guess that reading your comment just makes me feel this even more deeply…because I can tell you love Him and want to please Him…and I do as well. Hope all this comes across as intended and with ♥

  • http://simplystriving.wordpress.com/ Nikki

    Enjoyed this post, Kara! My oldest is 4 and we still have not put in concrete where we stand. (I’m not sure we have to as I’m praying the way we live will make the decisions natural for us.) I’m so far enjoying playing it by ear each year based on the opportunities presented!

    Can’t we all just say we practice love, not holidays?….

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Thank you Nikki….and I totally get where you are coming from…doesn’t need to be a concrete-never-changing-decision for us on this topic either. We’re open to God convicting and changing our hearts…moving us in a different direction since we don’t see it as clear-cut in God’s Word.
      But I know others do…
      And that’s why we’re trying to communicate to the kiddos that there needs to be grace on both sides and that ultimately we answer to Him for our willingness to listen and obey.

      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting Nikki… Love, K

  • sarita

    We didn’t let our kids trick or treat…. at the time our kids were young.. none of their friends did so it made sense. Now our kids are 22, 21, and 19 and I can say our decision had little or no impact on them as people…….. I tell them they can trick or treat now :)

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Yeah…and now you give out the best trick-or-treats out of anyone we know… :)

      And you dress yourself up in costumes…just another reason our kids love you “Aunt Nally”

      You and I have had this conversation a bit before and one thing I love about you is that you help me keep the “big picture” in parenting (since your crew is a little farther down the road than ours).
      All we can do at each stage is ask God for wisdom and try to follow through with His leading… thankful for you.Love ya Sarit.
      Wait–was that another actual online comment ?!? :)

  • Sharon

    When I was a kid, we lived in a big apartment complex and went trick or treating and it was so.much.fun!!! My husband didn’t celebrate Halloween as a kid and is not big on celebrating it now. So far we’ve taken our toddler to his “Harvest Carnival” work event and last year we “reverse trick-or-treated” meaning we dressed our toddler up and went to neighbors/friends houses and brought them homemade pumpkin muffins. I don’t know what we’ll do as our daughter gets older.

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      I love the reverse-trick-or-treating-idea because you still get to go knock on doors and connect with neighbors…I hadn’t even considered that option before…great idea! Thanks for stopping by Sharon and I just love dressed-up-toddlers. Our youngest is three and she wore a frog costume almost every day last week :)

  • Gabrielle Daigle

    Great post! Thanks for the resources. We’ve never done trick or treating before, but I love what you and other authors had to say on the subject. Great food for thought! Found you on the Raising Homemakers site, by the way.

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Thank you Gabrielle…I know God will make clear what is right for your family and I appreciate your willingness to process it all. Thanks for stopping by… Love, K

  • http://www.thewarriorwives.com/ Elizabeth @ Warrior Wives

    I remember reading this last year and thinking how much I appreciated your balanced and kind approach to this sometimes touchy subject. Thanks for compiling all those posts too…they are helpful.

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Thank you Elizabeth…
      We met over topics like this…
      Side note–I’ve been meaning to ask if you’d ever want to do a guest post highlighting the Warrior Wives…would love to have you?

      • http://www.thewarriorwives.com/ Elizabeth @ Warrior Wives

        Oops, totally missed this, sorry! I would love to do a guest post…email me and let me know details. Thanks, Kara!

        • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

          Will email you soon…just saw this and kiddos are waking up…need to check into real life :)

  • http://www.triplebraidedlife.com/ Brenda @TripleBraided

    My husband and I were just discussing this as we are about to welcome our first baby girl into our lives in a few short weeks. :-) I am looking forward to reading through your resources. Thank you!

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      I’m so excited for you Brenda…
      And I so remember how all of these decisions became so much more real as our little ones joined the family…
      I know God will give you clear direction.
      Really happy for you!

  • Living Waters by LeAnn

    I really liked reading this post. OK, I really never enjoyed Halloween and Easter Traditions and then you can throw in Christmas too. Easter Bunny and Santa Claus traditions should not overshadow the real reason. I struggled on this one too. One thing we did different was no masks, and no evil kinds of costumes. We even started for a few times taking goodies to the neighbors in a pumpkins instead of always just taking candy from the neighbors. They actually loved us coming with a treat. I loved your links; you left some questions to ponder.
    Blessings!

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Thank you LeAnn and it was a new idea for me to think about taking around goodies to the neighbors…I absolutely LOVE that!

    • Jess

      I love that idea too!

  • http://twitter.com/JenniMullinix Jenni Mullinix

    Wonderful advice and list of resources. My younger brother’s birthday is on Halloween, so we always celebrated that growing up…. So far our tradition as a new family (one whole year! lol) has been to go to our church’s party. Last year they did Trunk or Treat. I’m not sure what they are doing this year, but that’s where we will be. :)

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      We are very similar Jenni…year to year and it’s funny, but our youngest son’s birthday is October 30th…so we also end up with some sort of celebration! :)

  • Kaye

    Hi Kara, thanks for this post. I found it because I was making a list of resources for thinking about Halloween. You’ve done what I wanted to do – but so much better. If it’s OK with you, I’m going to put a link to it on my blog. Kaye

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      You are welcome to link to us Kaye :)

  • http://twitter.com/seamstostreams Amy H. Walker

    Thanks for sharing these links! Thankful for the input. We’ve been back and forth about this and I’ve never been satisfied with our decision. Need to put more thought and prayer into it! :)

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      I totally understand Amy…and there are scenarios I can think of where I could see our family making a different choice. He’ll give ya wisdom…I know it…I lean a lot on my husband’s conviction in this one. Thanks for stopping by and I hope the links help… :)

  • GailBP

    I appreciate the spirit with which you approach this subject. Would you mind if I put a link to this post in my post on Halloween? Gail (Bible Love Notes)

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Not all…go for it! And thank you! :) love, K

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bigcraz Craig Henderson

    Hey guys. Thanks for your blog on this. Although I have come to a different conclusion to you and your husband, I did like you approach to this and I trust that it will serve you well in other areas.

    Just a couple of things (if you don’t mind). WE LOOK TO GOD’s WORD; Have you read Thessalonians 5:21-22? It’s a small book and many people miss it.

    Also,I was a little confused by “We choose humility over pride (knowing that we are a work-in-progress and God often convicts and changes hearts in His own timing)”. What does this mean? I’m not sure how you’re applying it… But I take it as you saying “Hey, it might be wrong to you, but not for us because God hasn’t told us directly yet” – perhaps this is the part where I re-direct you to Thessalonians?

    I see Halloween this way:
    1) God hates it. It celebrates evil. We should therefore hate it too.
    2) Rather than celebrating evil spirits and their dominion over us, what if Halloween celebrated abortion. Would we still feel comfortable celebrating it
    with the world?
    3) We (the church) are called to be different to the world. We are called to be the salt. We are supposed to be ridiculed and hated. We can’t try and “fit in” with the world and please God, it just doesn’t work – and the Word of God reaffirms that.

    Anyway, I really appreciated your openness and honesty. I hope that this perhaps encourages you to reevaluate your position?

    Love in Christ, Craig.

    We choose humility over pride (knowing that we are a work-in-progress and God often convicts and changes hearts in His own timing).

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      I’m prayerfully processing…

      Will write back in a bit here :)

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Thank you Craig…I appreciate the kindness in your words. I can tell that you are trying to engage in a genuine discussion and I appreciate that.

      I understand where you are coming from and I do see how you are applying those verse in Thess. to this topic, but that is where we differ…in our application and also in our interpretation of what is means to “celebrate” a holiday.

      If we were actually participating in those evil deeds of darkness (the way some may be celebrating what is evil on Halloween day or really any day of the year) then I absolutely would agree…but in handing out candy and walking around and meeting our neighbors, my husband and I don’t see that as a means of participation in the dark side of Halloween.

      Our perspective is that reaching out and interacting with our neighborhood is a way of redeeming the day… not with the motivation of fitting in… but rather taking what Satan meant for evil and living out the realization that God can use that same thing for good. Christ is the victor. As a child of God, I don’t live in fear of “evil spirits and their dominion over us”…because Christ conquered death (and Satan) on the cross…and I know that nothing can touch my life except what has been sifted through the love-filled fingers of my Heavenly Father.

      My point in the other quote is that as I look back over my relationship with the Lord…I see areas where i was fully convinced of something, but that over time God convicted me of something different down the road through regular reading of His Word, and being under good teaching, and the Holy Spirit, and in His timing.

      The “humility over pride” part I apply to both me and to you :)

      I know that God could convince and convict us both in this area over time…and the humility part also comes into play for me as I look over the long list of resources that I linked to.

      A list full of men and women FULLY wanting to live as light in darkness…who want to live in submission to God & His Word…who want to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”…and live as the salt…who don’t want their ears tickled, but who cling to God’s Truth.

      That said–they disagree with each other.

      Which is one reason I feel in humility I need to be willing to say that this is a matter on the conscience. I would never encourage you to participate because it seems that God has genuinely spoken to you otherwise and your obedience to Him is encouraging to me.

      I hope this comes across in the tone and intent I so want to communicate and I appreciate your willingness to dialogue.

      In Him,
      Kara

  • http://www.facebook.com/kellywsmith Kelly Smith

    Great post, Kara! I love all the resources you provide and the fact that you leave it to the reader to pray over this, examine God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to speak in those “gray” areas that we’re often confronted with as we walk with the Lord. I love you and so appreciate you, sweet sister! :) Kelly

  • http://twitter.com/MockingbirdDont Tamara

    Mine and my husband’s family are of Jewish descent, and we were raised with the understanding that both Easter and Christmas (as we celebrate and recognize them) are rooted in pagan rituals early Christians sought to “transform” as a way of luring pagans away from their belief systems. Knowing this, if you think about it, Christians shouldn’t be celebrating any of the big “Christian” holidays because they aren’t rooted in true Christian beliefs.

    However, what is the intent? The intent of Easter and Christmas is not to honor the pagan holidays of old. For us it doesn’t matter how it started: it matters only how we choose to live. So, my husband, my daughter, myself, and our families celebrate Easter, Christmas, and Halloween. On Halloween we make it a point to host a party with our friends and neighbors, complete with a fire pit, impromptu jam sessions (my parents are folk musicians), food galore, and costumed children running hither and yon. I love our Halloween activities. For us we do not feel that God would be ashamed of our choosing to celebrate in our way. Each family is different, and we may in time change our tunes. But you made a good point in one of your comments: in the grand scheme of things, we personally do not believe that our choosing to celebrate Halloween will tarnish our witness or deny us access to salvation. To each his own, of course. But those are our thoughts. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/janedoeghost Jane Doe

    I don’t see how Christians celebrating Halloween is any different from Christians celebrating Christmas and Easter….both are days that originate from ancient Pagan religions. I’m a Christian myself too but I think what many fail to realize is a lot of our traditions, rituals, etc are taken from ancient Pagan religions…not necessarily “demonic” religions but you can’t ignore history.

    I’ve done quite a bit of research on demonology and the origins of Halloween are far from what is “demonic”. While I do believe that demons are indeed real, I also get the feeling many fellow Christians are willingly ready to slap anything that’s foreign to them as “unholy” or “demonic” and don’t take time to really study what it’s all about. JMO.

  • Teresa

    Thank you so much for sharing this Kara. I love how you laid it out. I also love your wonderfully humble and loving response to Craig Henderson. You are an amazing woman and a true inspiration to me. Thank you.

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  • Christina@toshowthemjesus.com

    What a helpful list of resources! Thanks for putting this together!

    • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

      Thanks Christina…meant to tell you, the “Reformation Link” at TBM today should go to your page. I thought I had it saved yesterday, but it was still directing to some Resurgence link. Fixed it just now, so it should go to your Reformation post. Thanks! :)

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