how do you do halloween?

(Listen to this song while you read this post.  For reasons.  Namely that Sleeping at Last is basically my jam right now.)

Every year, I think about Halloween and what my convictions are regarding it.  My family used to do the whole trick-or-treat, dress up thing, but now we don’t.  When we first stopped doing it, it was really disappointing for me.  As an eight-year-old, I didn’t really get why I couldn’t go get candy from the neighbors.  I mean… it’s FREE CANDY.  The past few years, my family has just turned off the lights upstairs and hid in the basement with a movie.  Last year, we went camping.  This year, we’re going to see Woodlawn with some friends.

Halloween is something that is often ignored in Christian circles.  It’s a holiday that most Christians don’t celebrate – or replace with Harvest parties (because it’s okay if you trunk-or-treat in a church parking lot in Bible character costumes [sarcasm]) or Reformation Day parties (complete with popcorn and a viewing of Luther or something [been there, done that]).

But is there a different way?  Can Christians be a light during this day that has so many demonic connotations?

We have some friends who have been told that they are the best candy house in the neighborhood, even though they don’t celebrate the holiday.  They’ve realized that this is one of the only times of the year that they literally have people coming to their front door that they can minster to.  They’ve slowly built up this great reputation because they are willing to spend the money on good candy.  Then, they tape Bible verses on the candy.  That way, they can evangelize to the children who come to their doorstep.

I think this is a great way of handling Halloween.  Even though they don’t allow their children to dress up, they take advantage of the opportunity to be a light.

So does your family do this?  If not, what are your traditions surrounding this holiday?  Do you participate or do you look down on it?

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20 thoughts on “how do you do halloween?

  1. My family doesn’t celebrate Halloween, but we do make up bags with candy + gospel tracts for any kids who might come by our house. 🙂 It’s a fun/great way to get the gospel out!

    • Awesome!!! I love that people are doing stuff like that. Things that are meant for evil, Christians are using in great ways, and I think it’s fantastic. : )

  2. We’ve never done Halloween. And in our old neighborhood, trick-or-treating made everything a nightmare. Like, people drove their kids house to house and you wondered when someone was going to get run over. The streets were so crowded that if someone past the first house needed an ambulance, the ambulance wouldn’t have been able to get through. Literally. We used to go out to eat to avoid trick-or-treating, but we’d come back too soon and not be able to get home. Other times, we’d hide and watch a movie or hang out with friends who didn’t really get trick-or-treaters. There’s a lot of creepy and weird stuff and witches and things associated with Halloween which I really don’t like. But even aside from that, in America, anyway, there’s a major entitlement mentality going on with it. People think their kids DESERVE to get free candy from all the neighbors and it doesn’t go over well when they’re told otherwise. The businesses in my old town would give out candy, and when they were going to stop because they couldn’t afford it anymore, people really freaked out.

    I don’t have any problem with dressing up, though. We used to play dress up all the time when we were little. I still like putting on my historical costumes, and I love my Cinderella dress. 🙂

    • I don’t think it’s an entitlement problem. It’s what Halloween is for, so of course kids know that they’ll get candy. When they go overboard and don’t stop ’til they have pillowcases full of candy – now, *that’s* a problem.

      • I’m sure not everyone’s that way, but you should see all the community forums and FB pages when anyone proposes scaling back Halloween because it’s getting too expensive, all the people who drive across town to the great big neighborhoods and drive the entire thing so their kids don’t have to miss out on candy from places that are too far to walk. Maybe it’s just my old county, but it’s bad. Really bad. People really would say that their kids deserve all that free candy and get mad at the people who didn’t give any out. Sorry for all this, it’s just I spent 12 years in the back of a subdivision that got completely packed with people from both in the neighborhood and out so that we had to either stay home or stay out until 10. A neighborhood where people would still ring your doorbell if all the lights were off. I just got REALLY sick of the whole mess.

  3. We used to dress up when we were little and attend harvest festival event (which are actual, separate celebrations traditionally); some years we hid (I do not think that is a very good witness), and now we have a bag. We have never done scary decorations (I had quite a phobia of skeletons and bones, and I still do not like them . . . I covered up a purse covered in skulls at one of my jobs).

    Also, I do not like the double standards, Christmas and Easter are VERY pagan holidays traditionally (I have wanted to seriously research these three main holidays as if for a college paper). Look them up. Anything celebration/idolatry type event that is not of God, is of the devil since most ancient holidays are religious, in some way or another. If it is okay to Christianize Christmas and Easter, then you can do the same with Halloween and celebrate All Saints Day (a real, ancient holiday which also coincides with that great day of Martin Luther and the Reformation although it is far older than that) or make it a holiday festival or masquerade (in my dreams) or just dress up for a photo-shoot (my sisters are each picking a 1900 decade to style).

    In the U.S. I think we still have some lingering traces of Puritanism and less of the traditional ties to pagan religions than the rest of the world, so I can see how we have more tame holidays (I found some disturbing pagan traditions in a 20ish year old book on Swiss Christmas holidays).

    I feel that this subject is a Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 subject IF YOU MODIFY the event, but I certainly thinks that the ghoulish side of the holiday is not right. Even if it is not celebrating witchcraft (I do not think even many non-Christians in the US anyway do that actually), there is the disturbing obsession with gore and frightening objects/masks/beings and the macabre (which also applies beyond this holiday to books and movies) which does not really fit in with Phil. 4:8. Also, when a twenty-something is afraid of a six-year old’s mask, there might be a problem; I will spare you the details of said mask.

    Yeah, that was a sermon, sorry. Lots of opinions here.

  4. Prior to being out of the country…my family and our church used to do what we called “Lighthouse”. One of my brothers made a huge lighthouse out of board and we painted it and on Halloween night, we would set it up with an electric light shining out the top. We would set up somewhere (either doing this at different people’s houses or in a public square, etc.) Our church would buy LOTS of candy (and big chocolate bars) and hot chocolate/tea/coffee, whatever you could think of and when the kids came to get candy, we would tell them the worldess book story (with the five different colors; yellow, black, white, red and green), then the kids would go make a bracelet with the colors so they could remember the story and then go get candy and drinks, etc. It was so much fun relating to the kids at a level that they could understand and share the gospel at the same time! Occasionally some of the youth from our church even dressed up with the different colors and we told the story that way!

  5. We used to celebrate Halloween when I was young, before my parents were Christians, and then for a few years after that…and then we moved onto “Harvest Festivals” for a while, until we realized honestly how ridiculous that kind of is. (One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen was a Church Halloween festival where they literally had a haunted house decorated with skeletons…I get how some Christians just see it as an innocent excuse to get dressed up and get free candy, but actually doing Halloween-centered stuff in church was just kind of disturbing to me….)

    It really was never much of an issue for us in the past, because most of the people we knew didn’t celebrate either, and we lived in the country so there wasn’t really anyone trick-or-treating around us, anyway. Nowadays we usually just hide somewhere with the lights off. 🙂 But now going to college I’m surprised by how many Christians celebrate it. I understand some people’s view of it as just “costumes and candy”, but I personally just can’t get past its history. A lot of people say that it’s just like Christmas’s pagan history, but I see a difference in the church coming up with a totally different holiday “replacement” that centers on Christ rather than attempting to celebrate a somewhat sanitized holiday that is still very much centered around death and evil spirits. I don’t judge people who do (and in the sake of pure honesty, I get a kick out of seeing a lot of costumes, especially the little kids and babies dressed up. I just wish we had a totally different holiday/event to do so.)

    • Oh my gosh, I feel the exact same way! I don’t mind the dressing up aspect, but we’re called to be in the world and not of it… so why do the “Christian harvest festivals” look so much like Halloween?

      Hmm. I do realize that the history behind it is awful, which is why my family doesn’t celebrate it. I love the costumes, too, which is half of why I struggle, lol. Like I said to Naomi, I want to do a costume party or a masquerade sometime just so I can dress up again. Honestly, I miss it!

  6. Where I live – in Belgium – Hallowe’en is VERY centered around witchery/ghosts/horror/death etc. and because of this we just don’t do *anything* to celebrate it. We rarely have people at our door, either – I can’t remember that ever happening, to be honest.

    But I have a friend (in USA) who celebrates Hallowe’en in a nice way – just as a day to dress up (in a character) and have a good meal with friends/family. I don’t think there’s much wrong with celebrating Hallowe’en as long as you actually don’t make fun of ‘death’ and rejoice in horror-stuff. 😛

    ~ Naomi

    • Ooh, I didn’t know you live in Belgium! NEAT! : ) Interesting. Well, I know it’s different everywhere, which is probably a good thing. It’s good that you guys don’t have the pressure to celebrate it, though! : )

      I’d love to do a costume party on Halloween night sometime – just dress up and hang out with friends and family – but a lot of people I know are totally against it and would think that even that (and what your friend does) is totally wrong. It’s definitely different for everyone. Like you, though, I really don’t have a problem with it. XD

      Thanks for commenting!

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