If you are reading this with the hope of being convinced one way or another about whether to participate in Halloween, then I will forewarn you that you are probably going to be disappointed. If, however, you are not convinced one way or another and you would like to be challenged to think about this question further then, hopefully, you will not be disappointed.
Here are the basic views towards whether Christian families should participate in any event related to Halloween:
- Avoid it totally. Have nothing to do with it. Do not acknowledge it in any way, shape or form.
- Participate freely, knowing that you are not being influenced by the powers of darkness, and participating is all done lightheartedly and in fun.
- Participate in a limited fashion, but have discussions about the origins of the holiday.
- Participate by offering Christian tracts to trick-or-treaters who come to your home.
- Host or join in an alternative fall celebration or a reformation event.
Our family has taken part in each choice with the exception of #1, although there were a few times I made an argument, to no avail, to go with a total abstinence of all things Halloween. My husband loved dressing up with the kiddos, taking them door-to-door garnering candy, visiting with neighbors, and making new friends. I usually stayed home with an infant, since I almost always had an infant and/or a toddler in the house! Sometimes I would stroll along with the baby depending on the weather. We did not allow our children to dress-up in scary costumes and often-times made our own costumes. One of our favorite costumes was a robot costume an older brother made for a younger brother.
In addition to trick-or-treating, we would attend fall celebrations. For several years the church we attended hosted a dress-up event and we would attend that as well. One of my friends attended a church that hosted a dress-up event with the requirement that each costume had to be a biblical character. They awarded prizes for various categories and I always loved hearing about the costumes because many were so creative and unique!
Did I have guilt about our participation in trick-or-treating when I read blogs and articles condemning all things Halloween? Yes, I did. Did that guilt motivate me to boycott all things Halloween? Yes, it did but, as mentioned above, to no avail. My husband and children loved getting dressed up and coming home with buckets filled with candy that they then sorted, counted, and traded or used for bartering purposes. When they were really young we could easily trade Smarties and lollipops for the “good stuff” (chocolate). As they got older they were not so easily duped into trading.
Am I sorry we participated in trick-or-treating? Not only am I not sorry, I am okay with this decision. Outside of the guilt that would rear its head when I read opinionated articles, the memories of these annual events are precious. Another consideration important to us was the responses we received from family members who are not believers. They already thought we were strange for homeschooling our children. They certainly could not understand why we would not allow our children to dress up and get free candy. Some would argue that taking a stand against all things Halloween is a great example of principle. Others would agree that not participating in activities deemed normal to most is extreme and strange.
One of the reasons I do not regret participation in trick-or-treating is the fact that now that our children are grown I realize these experiences did not scar them for life. Not only that, in an admission that we were probably far too legalistic and conservative in many areas (especially with our older children), the fact that we participated in trick or treating may have helped our children not rebel from their conservative upbringing. Who knows? Lest you think I am justifying compromise in order to achieve a certain outcome, that is not what I am saying. What I have observed in a few families who raised their children in a legalistic framework (choosing the #1 choice of avoiding all things Halloween), is that these children often grow up and reject everything from their childhood whether it be homeschooling, extremes in modesty and dating regulations, participating in “secular” events, not being allowed to read certain books or watch certain movies/tv shows, going to church regularly, etc. Not all parents who choose #1 option are legalistic. There are parents who choose not to take part in Halloween because of personal convictions and/or personal experiences. So, what is a parent to do? Because there is no clear right or wrong choice (although some will disagree with that conclusion), there are scriptural principles that should be considered when making decisions for your family. Also, family unity is very important and if one parent feels more adamant than another parent then a compromise needs to be made. I would suggest you discuss, pray, and make a decision that will keep unity in the family.
If you do a google search for whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween, you will get many articles taking up a strong stance for one side of the issue, or the other. As an example, here are two very contrasting views:
The bottom line is that this decision is one your family needs to make after discussing, researching, and praying about the choice that is best for you. Regardless of what your family chooses to do, have grace towards families who have made choices different than you. (After all, they will know us by our love.)
Here is an article that shares a Christian perspective of Halloween.
May you enjoy the fall in any and all celebrations in which you choose to take part.