Question: What Should Christians Do At Halloween?
Answer: Every year Christians face the dilemma as to what to do for Halloween. What should be our response when this day rolls around? Since there are not any verses in Scripture which speak about observing or not observing this holiday, what does a Bible-believer do?
Basically there are five different ways in which Christians view Halloween. We will consider each of them as well as offer some suggestions and guidelines with respect to observing this holiday. They are as follows.
Option 1: Halloween Is Harmless: Christians Should Celebrate Most Aspects Of It
There are Christians who think Halloween is a merely a harmless holiday. Indeed, they consider the modern-day Halloween activities as basically being risk-free fun. Therefore, apart from the destructive or violent aspects, they have no problem celebrating the holiday in the same manner as non-Christians. Thus, to celebrate, or not to celebrate, is a non-issue.
In response, we must emphasize that Halloween is anything but a harmless holiday! Indeed, the attention on Halloween is on the evil forces of darkness rather than on the godly forces of light. The basis for Halloween celebrations, such as witchcraft, talking to the dead, and casting spells, are all condemned in Scripture with the strongest language possible. For example, we read the following words of warning which God gave to the nation of Israel as they were about to enter the Promised Land.
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. But you must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the Lord your God forbids you to do such things (Deuteronomy 18:9-14 NLT).
God told His people that they were not to participate in these detestable practices. What are such practices? This includes attempting to talk to the spirits of the dead, to try to cast spells upon people, or to pledge allegiance to some “spirit” or “power” rather than to the God of the Bible.
When Christian parents allow, or even encourage, their children to celebrate such evil things that the Bible harshly condemns they are teaching them that it’s acceptable to dabble in these forbidden practices. This should not be done!
Therefore, for Christians to fully engage in the Halloween celebrations, with all of its symbols of darkness and evil, is not really an acceptable option for Bible-believers. Therefore, we must look for another answer as to how to observe this holiday.
Option 2: Ignore Halloween Completely
Since the main symbols and rituals of Halloween are clearly based upon things which are evil, there are those Bible-believers who think that Christians should have nothing whatsoever to do with any Halloween celebration. They believe that any participating in Halloween events is involving oneself in dark and evil deeds. In other words, they are involving themselves in the occult. This is something that the Bible condemns in the strongest of terms. Thus, passages such as the following are used to support this idea of not celebrating this holiday.
Am I saying that idols or food sacrificed to them amount to anything? No, I mean that what the pagans sacrifice is to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot take part in the table of the Lord and the table of demons (1 Corinthians 10:20-21 NET).
To some, participating in anything to do with Halloween is the same as becoming partners with demons.
In addition, Paul wrote to the Ephesians about believers not taking part in deeds of darkness.
Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret (Ephesians 5:10-12 NLT).
Therefore, there are some Christians who ignore Halloween completely and treat the day like any other day of the year. They do this because they believe that the Bible commands, or at the very least, encourages, Christians to do so. For them, celebrating Halloween in any form is compromising our belief in Jesus Christ.
While it is certainly true that Halloween is not a harmless holiday, it is possible to be involved in doing something constructive on this day without participating in the unfruitful works of darkness. Our next few options will look at some of these possibilities.
However, those who have come to Jesus Christ with a background in the occult may want to abstain from participating in the celebrations of this day because of their past relationship with the forces of darkness. Indeed, if they have practiced some of these forbidden things before coming to Christ, such as talking to the dead or casting spells, it may be wiser for them to stay away from all Halloween celebrations.
In addition, if a person cannot participate in alternative events with a good conscience, then they should abstain from celebrating this day. Therefore, for certain Christians, it would be wrong to participate in any Halloween celebration. Yet, this is not true for everyone.
Option 3: Use Halloween As A Chance To Witness To Those In Your Neighborhood
This perspective sees Halloween as a time to witness to our friends and neighbors. While it clearly recognizes the dark spiritual aspects and overtones of this particular day, there is the desire to be a light in the darkness. Therefore, in creative ways, a person will do whatever he or she is able to do to bring the message of Jesus Christ to those around them.
Indeed, the Apostle Paul wrote about the necessity of identifying with those around us in an effort to proclaim the gospel of Christ to them. He put it this way.
When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some (1 Corinthians 9:20-22 New Living Translation)
Instead of ignoring those around us, this approach reaches out to people who do not know Jesus Christ. As Bible-believing Christians, we are called to reflect the light of Christ to a dark world. Halloween affords us an opportunity. In fact, on this particular night it brings the people of our neighborhood to our door step!
Furthermore, having our children dress up in costumes which have a biblical theme can also be used as a testimony of our belief in Jesus to our neighbors. When the meaning of the costume is explained it affords an opportunity to testify to Christ. In this manner, we can turn this night which was meant for evil into a night that proclaims the light of Christ and His gospel.
Consequently, some Christians opt to participate in Halloween in a way which loudly proclaims the victory of Christ over the forces of evil. Unbelievers are, therefore, engaged with us on this particular day.
Option 4: Have A Christian Celebration (Believers Only)
There are those who only want to be with Bible-believing Christians on this particular night. They do not want to engage unbelievers or view any of the sordid things which are associated with Halloween. Consequently there are gatherings which take place at churches, or in houses, which is limited to believers in Jesus Christ. Christians use these gatherings to celebrate light rather than darkness.
Some Christians have dress-up parties where they come as Bible characters. In this way, they can have an alternative celebration with other believers without coming into contact with the evil elements which are associated with Halloween. This certainly is an option for those who believe in Christ.
Option 5: Have An Alternative Celebration (Where Non-Christians Can Be Invited)
There are numerous churches which see this night as a chance to reach out to their community. Therefore, they invite the public to come to their “alternative” celebration. This gives the believers an opportunity to be a witness to the unbelievers in their area while at the same time allowing youngsters to safely celebrate the holiday in a fun atmosphere. These types of celebrations are used as teaching tools for both believers and unbelievers. The victory of Jesus Christ over the forces of evil is thus proclaimed in an atmosphere of fun and festivity; the light triumphs over the darkness!
Consequently, rather than hide from the darkness and evil that is associated with this particular holiday, Bible believers can boldly create an alternative setting that celebrates light instead of darkness.
Conclusion: Each Believer Must Do What Is Right For Them
Halloween seems to be one of those issues where each Bible-believer must individually choose what to do. This should be based upon our own personal convictions. In other words, it is ultimately between us and the Lord. Therefore, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer as to how Christians should celebrate or not celebrate Halloween. In fact, there are many ways in which the day can be observed.
This being the case, we should not judge other Christians for their celebration or non-celebration of this holiday. Indeed, this is something which is between them and God.
To sum up, it seems that the proper Christian response to the holiday of Halloween is that each believer should personally study the matter and then follow the direction where the Lord is leading them. In doing so, we should always make our goal what Paul wrote to the Corinthians.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31 NET)
Summary To Question 37 What Should Christians Do At Halloween?
Halloween is a yearly holiday where Christians, especially in America, are faced with a dilemma. How are we to respond to it?
We find that Christians have a number of options for what they should do at Halloween. They include the following.
One viewpoint says Christians should celebrate it as any other holiday. In other words, Halloween does not receive any more or less attention than other holidays. Nothing special should be made out of this particular day. We should celebrate it just like the unbelievers.
Yet Christians should be made aware that Halloween is not a harmless holiday. It should not be an option for Bible believers to celebrate it exactly like unbelievers do. We are supposed to be different, to be salt and light to the world. Furthermore, we are told not to participate in the unfruitful works of darkness. Therefore, engaging in evil practices at Halloween should not be an option for Christians.
Consequently, such things as attempting to contact the spirits of the dead, to try to cast spells upon people, or to pledge ones allegiance to some spirit or “god” is completely forbidden by Scripture. While unbelievers may engage in these things at Halloween, believers should never participate in any of these practices. Indeed, they are not harmless.
Other Bible-believers completely ignore Halloween. Because of its pagan nature, some Christians act as though the holiday does not exist. Instead of celebrating it, they ignore it.
There are those Bible-believers who use this night as a chance to witness in their neighborhood. This position engages the unbelievers who come to their door.
Many think that this is a night where only Christians should gather. Thus, they have a celebration for believers only.
Still others think that they should have an alternative celebration where everyone is invited. Therefore, Halloween is used as witness for Jesus Christ to those in the community.
There are good Bible-believing Christians who hold each of these views. Therefore, each believer should be persuaded in their own mind as to that which is best for them.
However, option one should not really be an option for believers. Indeed, we should not participate in some of the evil things that take place on that night. Other than that, options two through five are certainly allowable for those who have trusted Christ as their Savior.
This question is found in my book “Evil Angels, Demons, And The Occult” (see product page)