Last year, my boy asked me, “Daddy, is Halloween Satan’s birthday party?” I laughed out loud and said, “No. Satan doesn’t have a birthday party because Satan was never born. He was created by God”…A little crash course in angelology for my sweet little boy.
There are all sorts of opinions floating out there about whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween. Some side with the Jehovah’s Witnesses when it comes to this holiday (hell-i-day?) and choose not to celebrate in anyway whatsoever. Others gather at local church Harvest Festivals for games, candy, and holy fun. Still others dress their kids up and march them door to door to celebrate with the pagan tots.
What’s the trick to surviving this treat-filled holiday with your faith intact? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Don’t be a legalist.
Around this time of year, pious party poopers rant and rave about the dangers of holidays like Halloween. They say it glorifies the dark side and opens up the portals of hell…or whatever.
Don’t get me wrong. Christians have to be aware, holy, and wise. We want to make sure that just because some use this holiday to celebrate evil, we are using it to glorify God. If you choose to protest this holiday, do so without condemning the Christians who don’t.
Remember Romans 1:1-5, “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
In the 1st Century church, there was a big debate about whether or not Christians could eat meat that was sacrificed to idols. The stronger Christians said, “Sure! Idols are fake anyway.” The weaker Christians said, “NO! You can’t eat meat sacrificed to idols. If you do, you’re celebrating what they represent!” What was Paul’s answer to this “What’s for dinner” beef dilemma? It was to do what you have to do and don’t judge the one who doesn’t do what you choose to do.
This same principle should be applied to trick-or-treating.
2. Use it as an opportunity to engage others with the gospel.
Halloween is a time where spirits and spirituality are freely talked about between neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and friends. This is a great opportunity to share the real reality of the spiritual world. For instance, you could ask someone if they believe in ghosts, then you can share why you believe in the reality of demons. This becomes an easy springboard into the God conversation.
If you’ve ever seen the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose, written and directed by Scott Derrickson (a friend I went to Christian school with), you can see how talking about the dark side can easily translate into a conversation about the bright side.
Whatever you think of Halloween, use it as an opportunity to rescue people from the real danger of the spiritual realm, Satan and his demonic army.
3. Give lots of candy to the neighborhood kids.
If you are a believer in Jesus, then you should be overly generous when your doorbell rings. Give fistfuls of candy, not a breath mint taped to a gospel of John.
All the neighbors should know you as the candy man (or woman) during Halloween, as opposed to the family who turns off the porch light, hunkers down to do Bible trivia with their kids while listening to Bill Gaither music cranked up loud to drown out the doorbell as it rings again and again and again.
The only thing worse than being stingy with candy at Halloween is leaving a gospel tract at a restaurant with no tip in it. If you represent Jesus, then you should represent generosity as well. Sure, leave the tract but put a 20% tip in there as well…or more.
So this Halloween, give them tots lots of treats, cavities, and love. Don’t be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good…and candy bars.