It’s October. You can’t hardly get through the door of a local discount store without the visual greeting of Halloween displays. Some years, I am tempted to boycott store during the month of October just so my sensibilities don’t have to be assaulted with skulls and vampires and scary jack-o-lantern faces.
Every year, I struggle with how to approach Halloween. Should I treat it as just an innocent holiday of fun or, because others use it for evil, have nothing to do with it? As I’ve heard how Satan worshipers and others consider October 31st a high holy day and my daughters have told me of the lewd behavior that happens on secular university campuses on October 31st, I’ve swung more to the side of wanting nothing to do with the holiday so I can avoid the appearance of evil altogether.
Yet, as a Christian who desires to mirror God’s grace, how will I approach Halloween?
Jesse Craig, minister at the Valley Christian Church in Tucson, Arizona, opened my soul’s eyes to this biblical thought from 1 Corinthians 10:14-33. We are all one body. How we treat others is what is important. “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial (v. 23).
Instead of asking, “Is this all right for me to do this?” we should ask, “How will this bring glory to God?” and “Am I going to cause someone else to stumble in their faith by participating in this?” Instead of focusing on our own pleasure, Jesse said, focus on God and on others.
Sounds like a recipe for life. It applies to our approach to Halloween as well.
If I’m going to portray God’s grace at Halloween, then I will:
- Not do anything that would make another believer stumble in their faith.
- Allow others to make their own choices and not criticize them for how they choose to handle Halloween. I will not be nasty about others’ choices. See Romans 14:1,2
- Love other people in spite of the choices they make, in spite of their stand on Halloween.
- Use Halloween as an opportunity, not to fear the darkness, not to tolerate the darkness, but to shine brightly in the darkness.
Halloween is a great chance to shine for Jesus. This year, you can look for opportunities to offer safe and wholesome alternatives to the usual Halloween celebrations. Give your kids and neighborhood kids options that will steer them away from the world’s view of Halloween.
Our church is holding a “Neewallah” festival. (That’s “Halloween” backwards. At the same time the city has determined is the time children can trick or treat, our church parking lot will be filled with church members’ cars as we hold a “Trunk or Treat.” Then we’ll invite children and their parents to come into the gym for games, a big slide, more food and a cake walk. We’ll pass out invitations to our mid-week children’s program and our Sunday worship services.
How to Reflect God’s grace at Halloween
HHere are some practical ideas on how you can shine for Jesus and mirror His grace at Halloween:
- Distribute information about your church along with candy.
- Trick or treating is the one time your kids are allowed to ring doorbells! Have your kids pass out invitations to your church. (I love this one!)
- Give nickels and dimes to kids instead of candy. (You will probably spend less money!)
- Play Christian music in the background.
- Dress up as a bible character as you distribute candy. (This year, my husband and I want to dress up as a 19th century parson and his wife. Won’t it be fun when the kids ask, “What are you?’ and Jack can say, “I’m a preacher.”
- Have your kids dress up as Bible Characters or as figures from church history. Make sure they know who they are so they can tell people who ask and that they can give a short description about the biblical or historical figure.
- Carve a cross on a pumpkin instead of a scary face. Put a candle in it and tell kids that Jesus is the light of the world.
Whether or not you participate in Halloween, pray for the kids who will be on the streets. Pray for college kids as well. Often students on secular campuses use Halloween as an excuse to push the envelope in participating in orgies, drunkenness and demonic activities. Pray for Christian students to have strength to resist the temptation to participate or to be critical and condemning.
Remember: Halloween offers the Christian yet another opportunity to love others as Christ loves us.
As Ephesians 5:15,16 says, “Be very careful then how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.”