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Insights From John Piper About Celebrating Halloween

John Piper

How does your church and children’s ministry handle Halloween? Join pastor and Bible teacher John Piper to hear his thoughts about the “tricky” secular holiday.

Halloween is one of those questions: “Do you see Christ against culture, Christ in culture, or Christ over culture?” I would guess that at our church, there would be people from one end of perspective to the other.

That is, some say, “We don’t want anything to do with that demonic holiday! Why would you even be involved with Halloween at all?” And others would have their children dress up as a butterfly and go knocking on doors and say, “Trick or treat!” Then in the middle are people who do alternative events, such as Trunk or Treat, or harvest parties at church where you dress up as biblical characters and have a great time.

I’m totally okay with the middle one and the first one. And sort of okay with the second one. I grew up trick-or-treating on Halloween. We were pretty serious trick-or-treaters, right into teenage years.

At Halloween, there isn’t much in my neighborhood today. We’re kind of an inner-city neighborhood, and it’s not the most lucrative place to go knocking on doors. You’re not going to fill your bag up with the best candy. You’d better go to the suburbs if you want to get a good pile.

John Piper: Halloween Calls for Discernment

So I hope all Christians think biblically and carefully about any holiday, any event, and how they might be salt and light in it. And if they feel like this can be of value to the kids in some way, to teach them—if it can be an innocent way of enjoying God’s grace and teaching lessons—so be it.

I’m willing to run the risk of attachment to worldliness in order to be biblically faithful in witness. The same thing with Christmas and birthdays and Easter and worshiping on Sunday. All of these things have pagan connections.

I want to be loose and broad and give freedom to believers to find their way to be most effective. So I respect those who are renouncing Halloween as too connected with evil. And I respect those who say, “No, let’s redeem it and penetrate it and use it.”

John Piper is a popular Reformed theologian who shares biblical thoughts on cultural issues at his website Desiring God.