God’s will for us is for good, not for evil (Jer. 29:11). We’re to refrain from even the appearance of evil. Halloween is evil at worst and gives the appearance of evil at best. Involving ourselves in this celebration of evil is a direct violation of our covenant relationship with God. It is my conviction that celebrating Halloween is wrong and has no place in our lives. Does the Bible specifically forbid it? Directly, no. So how did I arrive at this conclusion? Through God’s Word.
Leviticus 19:26, 31 tell us that God despises anything evil. Divination, sorcery, mediums, and spiritists are listed in this passage and Halloween employs them all. It’s the celebration of evil whether or not that is the emphasis we give to it. I Thessalonians 5:19-22 tells us to hold to good and run from evil. Halloween centers around evil. One reason it’s such a concern for God is because the witches, ghosts, and other hideous creatures are representative of the enemies of God. If the Bible tells us not to have anything to do with evil, how can we imitate the enemies of God when we’re called to imitate Jesus?
God’s not concerned because He fears that the combined forces of evil will overpower Him; He’s concerned that we might become insensitive to the Spirit; that the things of God will diminish in significance and that the enemy will deceive us into thinking there’s nothing wrong with a little hell on the side.
It’s the heart that concerns God. If Satan can persuade us to take lightly today that which God despises, what will he be able to persuade us to do tomorrow? There’s the sense in which the things of Halloween are the very things from which Jesus set us free. Why would we want to trifle with that to which we were once enslaved?
Celebrating Halloween harms our witness. What kind of witness do we present when children of the Light gleefully participate in the darkest night of the year? Is it any wonder that our nation is confused, that our witness has lost its effectiveness if we live no differently than the world? As the line distinguishing the difference between light and darkness becomes more blurred in American life, the need to take a stand for the things of God becomes increasingly more important. The unchurched need to see that there’s something different about being Christian.
It also wounds our spirit. In James 4:17, we read: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” Our sinning hurts our spirit and grieves His. Sin ruptures our relationship with God. We are simply hurting ourselves when we ignore the quiet promptings of God’s Holy Spirit.
In addition, it could cause others to stumble. Here’s a good reason to consider not observing Halloween. Concerning meat offered to idols, Paul said that if his eating meat made others stumble, he’d gladly give it up (1 Cor. 8:13). In relation to the observance of Halloween, there are many who take offense to our “dabbling in darkness;” they can’t understand the paradox. Paul would encourage us to consider the seriousness of offending others, and to refrain from it.
Here are some Halloween helps that you might find useful in your quest to honor God:
• Understand fantasy in childhood. Children naturally fear the hideous and unusual. They’re often frightened by costumed characters, even Mickey Mouse or Chuck E. Cheese. Imaginative preschoolers only vaguely grasp the difference between fantasy and reality. School-age children understand more abstract ideas as they reach the middle elementary grades, yet continue to weave very detailed fantasies. So it’s important that we guide our child’s fantasies toward things that honor the Lord.
• Encourage positive creativity in children. Holidays provide a healthy outlet for the development of creativity through pretend and play. We should tell our children that because of our commitment to Jesus, we do other things to celebrate, just not Halloween.
• Avoid evil characters and practices. It’s important that we develop discernment in ourselves and in our children concerning the observances and behaviors God forbids. Learn to recognize symbols and buzz words that are part of the lifestyle we deplore.
• Celebrate holidays in a Biblical manner. James Dobson says, “Halloween can be traced to distinctly pagan sources. It is reasonable, then, that many believers find aspects of Halloween disturbing. I agree with them in that regard. The traditional emphasis upon the occult, witches, devils, death and evil sends messages to our kids that godly parents can only regard with alarm.” Instead of acknowledging Halloween at all, consider these alternatives.
• Go treating. Take baked goods to a new neighbor or someone in a nursing home.
• Throw a harvest party. Invite friends to a late afternoon cookout. Do it on a day other than Halloween so as not to give children the impression that you are celebrating Halloween, just in a different way.
• Have a theme party. Ask families to come dressed as favorite Bible characters on a night distanced from Halloween. Invite families that need to know that Christians care about them.
• Do a “Light the Night” event. Many are now choosing to light up their yards brightly on the darkest night of the year. They provide snacks to passersby and refrain from wearing costumes. They distribute Christian literature, tracts, Bibles, and information about their churches in an effort to honor God.
I realize that some may think that all of this is an extremist’s point of view. As a boy, even I enjoyed “trick or treating.” But when I gave my heart to Jesus, He sent His Spirit to live within me and He began to speak to me about the obvious paradox of walking in the Light and flirting with the darkness. For me to honor the Lord, I had to stop observing Halloween.
There are many people today who don’t believe in Jesus, but who still exchange gifts at Christmas. To them, it’s nothing more than gift-exchange. But to unsuspecting onlookers like us, we make the John 3:16-connection and view their giving in light of our understanding of Christmas. Likewise, those who see us observing Halloween view our “Celebration of Evil” from their understanding of Halloween and that can hurt our witness. They see us as being no different from them except on one critical point: we claim to be walking in the Light, yet we are celebrating that which even their spirit tells them is sinister.
So, I had to make a choice and now I am asking you to make a choice: choose to walk in the Light and bear witness for Christ, not to lay aside your Christianity for a day so that you can dabble in darkness. The choice really is yours; God will not force His will upon you. I pray that you will honor Him with your choice and with your life. Anything less is, indeed, frightening. (Ken Lovelace is pastor of First Baptist Church, St. John, in St. Louis. You may also visit www.KenLovelaceMinistries.com/ken_devot_menu.html and look for the Halloween tab in the index of articles on the left, or click on the Contact Us tab for contact information.)