These are the ways that our family treats Halloween and the things that we do to have fun. Christians CAN d Halloween! We don’t have to run and hide from it!
Halloween is a topic I have largely ignored in nearly five years of blogging. In an effort to avoid controversy, I kept my fingers stilled and let the others do the typing.
But I’ve grown to enjoy the activities we do in our neighborhood the past few years that I’ve decided to share with you that, despite the way Halloween can divide followers of Jesus, I believe Christians can redeem Halloween.
3 Ways Christians Can Redeem Halloween
1. Use spooky decorations as conversation starters with your kids.
I don’t know about you, but it’s impossible for us to exit our driveway without spotting spooky decorations during the month of October.
We live in a subdivision, and there are several yards on our street that pull out the sculls, ghosts, headstones, bats, vampires, etc. as soon as September ends.
It seems that the Halloween yard art now rivals Christmas! I don’t remember it being like this when I was a kid!
Some of the decor is funny and light-hearted like the Stay Puft Marshmellow, and some of it is a little spookier and scarier. They know it’s not real and just have fun looking at the decor.
Our girls started asking about the spooky decorations a few years back, and we found it was the perfect open door to talk to them about why our family does not “celebrate” Halloween in a secular sense
We also use it to talk about how there is real evil and darkness in this world, but Jesus came so that we might have life.
2. Host a fall festival
Because I spent most of my childhood living out in the country, we didn’t really go trick or treating. There were no houses to visit because we didn’t live in a subdivision.
My parents would take us to our church’s annual fall festival each year, which always fell on the same night as Halloween. We would dress up in fun costumes and spend the evening playing games and stuffing our bags with candy.
While I don’t completely disagree with churches hosting fall festivals, I think the mission behind it should be to share Christ’s love as opposed to a place for church people to “hide out.”
I love that that same church I grew up in now hosts an even larger fall festival on the night of Halloween, with carnival-like rides and all!
Instead of drawing in to themselves, they are reaching out to their community and using the night as what is perhaps the one evening of the year where those who might otherwise never enter a church building will come for some fun and games.
3. Stay in your own neighborhood.
Since moving to our subdivision a little over two years ago, Halloween has become one of my favorite nights in our neighborhood.
It’s the one night out of the entire year when 200+ families show up on our doorstep!
Instead of turning out the lights and pretending not to hear the doorbell, we’ve decided to make this a night when we can shine the light of Jesus to those who show up.
For us, it’s simple: We stock our fridge with pre-made apple cider, and we keep pouring it into the crock pot until it runs out.
We print out cards with an encouraging verse and/or invitation to our church and have it available to give to the parents as children are getting their candy. Some take it and others don’t, but It’s just a fun time, and we have had some great conversations. It’s been great to meet some of our neighbors.
We switched churches about a year ago, and we now live in one of the closest subdivisions to the church.
How tragic would it be to miss out on this opportunity to invite our neighbors–many of whom live many streets over and we might never meet otherwise–to our local body of believers!
I will be honest in that I struggled with how to approach Halloween when I first became a mom. But I believe the previous three suggestions are ways we can all redeem Halloween for Christ.
A game changer in my thinking in this area was the following video from our former pastor, Bobby Conway of the One Minute Apologist.
I ask that you please watch his video before responding to this post:
(If you are reading via email, click to the site to watch the video.)
How does your family approach Halloween? What are some ways in which you think we can redeem Halloween?
I love the idea of using Halloween as a way to spread the word. I would love more Christians to approach it like this rather than shutting off their lights.
Sounds like we are on the same page!
I love this! How did you make the owl invitations?
Thank you for sharing! We spend the night playing games as a family. We will go to the local health food store and pick out candy that is “better for you”. I also like to read My Happy Pumpkin to my little one.
Love your heart, Erin! Every time I read your blog, I think, “wow, we couldn’t BE any more like-minded!” 🙂
Thank you, Lori! It is so neat to find like-minded friends online!
I’ve always thought that, like anything, your INTENT is what makes the difference. If one chooses to celebrate the day by dressing up as something evil, violent, etc. and participate in activities like pranks, Ouija boards, séances, and so on, then the intent is clearly un-Christian. But dressing up as positive things – superheroes, doctors, firefighters…and engaging in activities that are positive like pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, hayrides, and just generally getting to know your neighbors and celebrate the turn of the season….well how is that un-Christian?
God knows what’s in your hear and if one’s intent is to spend the day generally being positive and community oriented, then that’s what matters to Him.
Thanks for this post…it has given me a lot to think and pray about.
You have such a precious spirit…keep shining His light.
Thank you so much, Lynnie. Have a great day!
Is there any way you can share some ideas on how you make the Guess Who Loves you crafty things to hand out??? I would love to do this but I am not very creative or crafty, however I can follow directions pretty well.just making these with my children to hand out would be such a awesome memory for the season. Way more meaningful than pumpkin carving.
They came from Etsy.
Thank you I will have to remember these for next year 🙂
Love your blog!!!
Thank you, Laura!
We got them on Etsy! I am not crafty either!
I really do love your blog! We may not be on the same page as far as Faith views, but I love reading the love you have for not only your family, but your community and Jesus!
I hope you don’t mind, but I would love to link this blog post to mine.
I think its great how you take this time to reach out in a way that teaches your children not only love, but acceptance.
Thank you, Patricia! I would be honored if you would link to the post (but just not re-blog the whole thing). Thanks again!
I find this post so refreshing!! I am a youth and children’s minister, and my family has never hidden from Halloween. In fact, I used to take our youth group to our local hospital pediatric unit and called it “No Tricks, Just Treats”. We would take bags full of goodies, coloring books, toys, Bibles, info about our church, etc. Unfortunately we stopped because a few people complained that we were “glorifying” Halloween. As for my family, we use it as a night where we go as a family and visit all of our shut-ins from church. They love the visit, and the kids still get to dress up and have fun. I agree, every holiday, and every day in between, is completely what you make it. Look for ways to glorify God in your every day life, and you’ll find them!!
Oh I LOVE how your family has made this such a wonderful night of ministry, Jill!! What a neat idea to visit the shut-ins! Thanks so much for sharing your story and experience!! Have a great time this year!!
You could still go with just your family and some like-minded friends! You don’t have to let somebody party poopers ruin it! 🙂
I will have to respectively disagree with the idea of participating in hopes of spreading God’s truth with others. I don’t think we should hide away that night or shoo children away if they happen to ring the doorbell, but I think we can be a bigger witness to others by showing our strong faith in Jesus and standing up against something we know He wouldn’t want us to participate in.
Everyone needs to decide what is best for themselves and their family and go the way God is leading them. And maybe that is sharing God’s word at Halloween. The Bible says we are not to be conformed to the world. Another word for conform could be go along with. (Romans 12:2) Personally though our family chooses not to join in.
Thanks for respectfully disagreeing and sharing your viewpoint, Gina!
Just curious what your family does. I grew up in a similar situation.
Love, love, love your response!! Halloween is huge in our community as well ( much more celebrated than any other holiday).
Wow! I am always surprised at how big it keeps getting each year.
This year, my grandmother (my daughter’s great-grandmother) now resides in a nursing home. They had a “trick or treat” there, where children could come and dress up, play games, get candy, share cookies and juice, ect. and it was a very nice (not scary! Safe! Uplifting!) time! Maybe using Halloween to share and offer some service is another good idea. We really enjoyed it, and look forward to making it a tradition.
I love this idea, Patty!! My grandmother spent her final 6 years in a nursing home, and I am sure things like this end up being a highlight of the year for the residents!
I was just thinking about this for next year because the thought came to me so late. Thus has been an ongoing issue with me and my best friend. She celebrates what the church calls trunk or treat. I on the other hand choose not to participate at all. The issue is when the kids are at school, so these holidays are difficult to avoid. I’d rather use it as an opportunity to spread the good news, because honestly I was going to just wrap the candy in a paper exposing the truth about holloween.
I hope you will b able to use the night for outreach next year!
Since becoming a Christian, and now a mom, I’ve also been struggling with how to handle Halloween with my kids when they’re older. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve read several of your posts tonight and have bookmarked your blog to read more later 🙂
I totally understand the struggle! I’m glad you found it helpful, Kim!
wow, thankyou so much for writing this! My fiancé and I are getting married in April and are planning to have kids right away and with that we have been talking about ways to go about the holidays while still glorifying Jesus, with Halloween just passing it has been really hard for me to think of a way for our future kids to still enjoy the fun part of Halloween without all of the yuckiness that surrounds and I loved the way this post explained it!
I had no idea that Halloween made Christians feel divisive. Why do you think that is? I just think it is a fun time of year to decorate your house and have people over to eat too much pizza and pass out candy to the neighbors for 6 hours. We put a fog machine at the top of our stairs, and the entire ceiling was sprawling with spider webs, and all the tables and windows had green and purple lights in them. I didn’t know this was supposed to be a religious holiday – am I offending my neighbors by not adding a message about Christ to the candy I give their children?
I think a lot of people struggle with the idea of the demons and other scary things that come along with halloween.
I grew up being VERY anti-halloween and by choice really, my parents were divorced and at mom didn’t celebrate, dad did. Either parent was ok with me being at the other’s house that evening to celebrate as I would but I always chose mom’s. I don’t regret the wonderful family nights we had on Oct. 31- but I do feel like I missed out and also further ostracized myself from my peers because I was already picked on and very outspoken about my halloween feels. Well as an adult, with kids, and married to someone who always participated in a more light hearted way- I had to spend some time reconsidering and really understanding why I felt the way I did. I came to the conclusion that I understand why many people, including my younger self, have such qualms with the holiday- but also that there are many good/appropriate ways to redeem/celebrate- just like most of the holidays we currently celebrate. It’s something I still wrestle with every time Oct. 31 draws near but my children adore dressing up and candy (who wouldn’t?) and as they are getting older and actually understanding what we’re doing we are finding ways to incorporate some “Light shining” activities and starting our season of thankfulness and giving early! I so very much appreciate this post!
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Julie! I can understand. I know it’s always been controversial in our Christian culture. I love using it as a way to point people to Christ!
The church we attended when our children were Young would have a theme and the children would dress in costumes related to the theme. And then one year they just said dress as your favorite Bible character. But by far our favorite was the year that they could choose anything (within reason and not scary) from the Bible. One little boy came as the rock that Jacob slept on. Then there was a boy dressed as a well and his sister was “the woman at the well”. We had a stable, a manger and many more. Kids were reading their Bible to find something very different and not something easy to guess. It was great. The youth would also participate. It was full of laughter and fun. It was also open to the community. Publicity shared what to where and how to find something. But if they came as Superman, that was okay too. They heard many Bible stories in just one night.
Truthfully, even as a child, I always felt unsettled and uncomfortable in my spirit with Halloween. As an adult believer, I studied and learned that God forbids us having anything to do with the dead, witchcraft, and spirits, which helped me understand more why I always felt uncomfortable.
However, there is a wonderful holiday – Purim – based on the book of Esther that has all of the fun of Halloween (costumes, sweet treats, games and parties) but none of the aspects God commands us to stay away from doing or associating.
I think our testimony is most powerful by what we embrace and what we don’t embrace. We can certainly talk to people and reach out to people in our community on Halloween, but I think if I were doing that, I would do so by clearly not joining in on the holiday. And then I would host Purim parties instead – inviting everyone to dress up and come on over!
In our family on Halloween, I take my children to a local store and let them buy a ridiculous amount of candy, and I tell them that following God’s word is the sweetest treat of all! They love it and don’t feel bad because Purim is so much more fun and not “dark” in any way. (Thank you God!) God’s word contains “all we need for life and godliness” – we aren’t missing out on anything when we live out His word.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:8-11 NKJV
We don’t need to participate ourselves in pagan holidays in order to minister or reach out to people who are. But we certainly can create light in the midst of the darkness by what we share, give and choose not to do. A fall festival is great – as long as it looks NOTHING like a Halloween party, and preferably NOT on Halloween. I don’t think God wants us to redeem Halloween any more than He wanted ancient Israel to redeem Baal worship gatherings. He wants us to exalt and celebrate what is in His word, be light in the world, and move people away from darkness. We can’t be a light (which is set apart) if we are doing what everyone else is doing (and we look and act like the darkness).
I agree with this so much! Halloween’s roots are fully pagan and the Church of Satan has some deeply eery statements about Halloween and the participation of so many in it. I see clearly and consistently in Scripture the command to have nothing to do with withcraft, sorcery, etc. Even if one sticks to “friendlier” costumes and decorations, they’re still associating with and endorsing the holiday.
Another alternative is to celebrate Reformation Day, which is the same date. I like your Purim idea, too! I think it’s important to have celebrations; the Israelites were given many. But aligning with a holiday that glorifies death? No thank you.