This is partly a repost of an article from JD Greear’s blog with a few of our own comments and suggestions mixed in, so all credit where it’s due.
You’ll see a few other good links on the Halloween topic at the end. Our hope is that whatever you decide to do, you’ll do it thoughtfully and purposefully, and that you’ll seize this day for the neighborly, missional opportunity that it is.
Should we celebrate Halloween?
Occasionally we get this question: Should Christians celebrate Halloween? And, by “occasionally,” we mean “every Halloween.” On one side are those who see nothing wrong with a little dress up and candy noshing (other than the accompanying cavities). On the other side are those who stand at their windows and weep to see all the neighborhood kids slowly circling the neighborhood as Narnia’s White Witch fills their baggies with Turkish delight. (Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but you get the point).
We’d posit that neither an aggressively pro- or anti-Halloween approach is completely appropriate. Functionally, Halloween isn’t inherently good or bad. Paul, talking about a similar subject in Romans 14, says that each must be fully persuaded in his own mind; whatsoever is not of faith is sin; and we are not to judge another Man’s servant (Romans 14:4–5, 23). Halloween does offer us all an opportunity, however, to engage our neighbors missionally.
Please Follow Your Conscience
For those that can’t get past the historic ties between October 31 and the occult, that is a matter of conscience, and we’d encourage you to be faithful to the Holy Spirit in that. “Hallowed Eve” started as the commemoration of the night before All Saints Day. There is no doubt that some members of the occult have, historically, commandeered it as a time to celebrate the work of evil spirits in opposition to “the saints.” But realize that cultural symbols are like words in a language: their historic roots are not as important as current usage.
Most people realize that “rock and roll” was a 1950s euphemism for sex applied to a genre of music. But those today who say, “I like Christian rock music” are usually not trying to infuse sexual overtones into that music. In language, the etymology of a word is less important than its current, semantic meaning.
Cultural symbols work the same way. Thus, a lot of people going “trick or treating” at Halloween are not intending any connection with occult practices. Some even think of it as mockery.