I can’t believe I am staying up late on Halloween night to write this blog. I have a heavy week of speaking before me but I felt compelled by my Muse (aka the Holy Spirit) to write this short article on a Christian response to Halloween. (Maybe creativity begets creativity?) I doubt what I have to say will affect you anyways because trick or treating for many of you has already past for another year unless you are on the West Coast.
The question that my wife and I have had to wrestle through as parents of young children is whether to celebrate Halloween. Some of you might be thinking, why wouldn’t you celebrate Halloween and miss out on all the fun and candy? (Who said anybody was missing out on candy? I’ll be up early at the store buying the 50% discounted candy with the kids.) Others of you wouldn’t dream of sending your little kiddies out on the most evil night of the year.
Growing up, my sister and I always went out for Halloween. We always dressed up in harmless outfits, not the ghouls and goblins costumes that many others donned. And did we make out on candy! I would take a pillow case and have it pretty much filled. (I think Mom & Dad wanted some of our candy because our family is known for our “sweet-tooth” so that is why they sent us out.)
I always planned on taking my own kids out on Halloween until I befriended a Wiccan (now former Wiccan) and he asked me if I celebrated Halloween. I said, “Sure, why do you ask?” He went on to explain that Halloween was like the Wiccan Christmas and he was surprised that as a pastor I would celebrate such an “unholiday.” OUCH! When you start getting admonished by Wiccans, you got issues! So for the past ten Halloweens no trick or treating for the Stairs children. Every year on this night, we would gather with the other young pastoral families from our church and have an alternative party. It was great fun!
This year all the pastoral families had other commitments or were trying to recuperate from other commitments so our family was at home. What did we do? We decided to not send the kids out on Halloween because we don’t want to celebrate death but life, for that is what Jesus came to bring (John 10:10). Besides, I have to deal with death too much as a pastor including attending two funerals this past weekend. I hate death! In addition, my family is also becoming increasing aware of the kingdom of darkness, which is very powerful but nothing to fear because “greater is the One (the Holy Spirit) who is in you than he (the devil) who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Now what is really tricky on Halloween is trying to instill these convictions in young children. However, my kids seemed to have gotten it! How do I know? I asked them: “Why don’t we celebrate Halloween?” Their response was because we don’t celebrate death. We celebrate the life that Jesus gave us. Then I asked them, then why do we still pass out candy to our neighbors? (This is a more a difficult question!) Their simple response was “cause its kind to do!” Exactly! I can’t imagine turning my light off and giving out no candy on a night when my neighbours finally come to my door! It just doesn’t seem to fit with Jesus’ words, “…let your light shine before men so that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)