Jason B. Ladd

Ask the Questions. Embrace the Answers. Make the Leap.

Trick-or-Treat: Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

should Christians celebrate halloween

Should Christians celebrate Halloween?  What do kids really fear on Halloween night?

Razor blades in the lollipops, right?

What frightens adults more than that?

People who don’t celebrate Halloween

That’s what you might think when you tell someone you don’t celebrate Halloween.

It’s understandable.

I grew up trick-or-treating.  But for now, I choose not to celebrate this holiday.  It’s worth Googling: Samhain, All Saint’s Day, All Soul’s Day, Reformation Day.  Some are celebrating a dark season, others are celebrating departed Saints.

Some people spend most the year trying to focus on light and life.  They might just not feel like going on a one-night bender of darkness and death.

Below you’ll find some resources which provide some context for why people do, or do not celebrate Halloween.

Holidays are more than just an occasion to redecorate the house.  There is history behind holidays.  Some holidays are easy to celebrate with a joyful heart.  Others holidays require some to refrain according to their conscience.

(Apparently not everyone on the internet is fond of Columbus Day . . .)

should Christians celebrate HalloweenDon’t worry.  No one is on a crusade to keep you from going to horrible parties and buying overpriced Candy Corn.

I know, I know.  Halloween has nothing to do with Samhain, or Celtic pagan rituals, or human sacrifice today.  It’s about dressing up your little girl like an angel with long flowing robes, and watching your boy “fly” down the street like Superman.halloween angel

But the frights of the future will be your daughter’s outfit and the eerie lack of toilet paper in your house.

If that’s no different from any other day, then you probably have bigger issues than Halloween.

Should Christians celebrate Halloween?  Read enough articles and you’ll find the standard answer:

“It depends.”

As always, Romans 14:13 applies:

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” (NIV)

  • If you want to mock the devil, demons, and death by participating, you can find support for that.
  • If you stay away from Halloween because of personal issues with the occult, then you will find support for that.
  • If you just want to dress up your kids and hand out candy, you should be free from condemnation.

Below is a list of resources on both sides of the issue:

(update)

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Photo credit: YAXZONE / Foter.com / CC BY

Photo Credit:  Heather Myers / CC BY ND 3.0

Photo credit: K.Hurley / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

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About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.

11 Replies

  1. Thank you for the resources here. This is such a divisive issue that I am unsure how to address. I’ll be reading every one of these links!

    1. Let me know if you have come across any other great links worth sharing!

  2. Mary Perdue

    Hi, thanks for liking my blog. Regarding your Halloween article, there are great resources listed. I used to be a huge fan of Halloween. I was married on Halloween , I always dressed up, decorated my home and yard, handed out the good candy and had awesome parties everyone looked forward to. I never realized I was worshipping idols. Years later after a divorce and the trials and tribulations of life I was led to the Lord and converted from Greek Catholic to Born again Christian. My eyes and heart opened to many things. Halloween was one of them. I no longer participate in the practice of paying homage to evil spirits, carved pumpkins, vampires, witches, zombies and the like. Lately on almost every tv channel including “family channels” there’s an over abundance of devil worshipping, witch, zombie, vampire and also a lot more shows about promiscuity. I don’t allow it to enter my home via tv, radio, or celebration. The old adage, “if I knew then what I know now” comes often to my mind. I feel blessed to be saved. I’m much more aware of idol worship now. Including the idols of money, work and possessions. Thanks for boldly writing about a sensitive subject. Blessings, Mary

    1. Mary, your story has quite an impact. Thank you for sharing it! It can definitely be a tricky subject. I can relate to your “if I knew then what I know now.” But life’s not about what we’ve done, it’s about what we’re doing.

  3. I don’t know.
    First of all, I find it important to be clear where I’m coming from. Unlike most readers here, I view the Bible as being a (very important) part of the experience of the Church but not as inerrant http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/on-the-inspiration-of-the-bible-and-other-books-von-der-interpretation-der-bibel-und-anderen-buchern/

    So just textproofing me does not work (I mean that in general).
    I think that we ought to ask ourselves „Am I loving God and my neighbor as myself through this?“.
    The Bible is certainly helpful for answering such a question, as are all good Christian books written between the third and twentiest century.
    But in the end, I think that everyone will be judged according to the discrepancies between his actions and the messages from his conscience.

    I think we have normal and decent (though by no means extraordinary) evidence for believing in the existence of deceitful spiritual beings who appeared to mankind in various forms, lately through the UFO phenomenon but also occultism.
    And it is true that kids seriously flirting with the darkness of this feast could have real encounters with these beings, and this is certainly pretty dangerous for their psychological and spiritual health.
    But I believe that the overwhelming majority of people just want to have fun so that it almost never happens.

    I think that a better ground for avoiding both Christmas and Halloween is the extreme consumerism which currently goes hand in hand with the festivities.

    I would be glad to learn your thoughts on all the issues I have raised, if it is not too much :=)

    1. I appreciate you clarifying your position before diving into the issues. It prevents a lot of confusion and provides context for a good discussion.
      It’s important to know where someone stands on the doctrine of Revelation, as that will shape their thinking on many other issues. A Christian must have a high view of Scripture if he wants to argue from a Christian point of view. Determining whether the Bible is the Word of God, or just one of several good books written in the first few centuries will affect both the structure and weight of our arguments.
      The authority of the Bible is what allows Christians to make authoritative statements versus “I think” statements.
      I think you are right about the focus of Halloween and Christmas straying away from their original purposes for many people. Although, whereas I can sacrifice celebrating the death of Saints, I will not easily refrain from celebrating the birth of our Lord! Thanks for engaging.

      1. Hello.

        It is certain that according to your standard I have a “low” view of Scripture.
        But I can assure you that for non-Christians (above else atheists) I have a very high view of Scripture. 😉
        It is true that if you don’t believe in inerrancy you cannot alaways pinpoint alleged errors and heresies like many Evangelicals enjoy to do.
        But so what?
        I sum up what it historically means to be a Christian here:
        http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/the-definition-of-christianity-die-definition-des-christentums-unten/
        and one certainly does not need a belief in plenary inspiration for accepting or even justifying this.
        And from that foundation, one can ask oneself: is such and such thing or action good according to Love (towards God and one’s neighbor)?
        I know very well this is hardly thinkable for a Conservative Protestant…

        But you certainly don’t believe we have inerrant economic or scientific books.
        Yet does that really hinder us from pointing out and exposing obvious mistakes?

        On my blog, I mainly deal with theology and philosophy and spend much time exposing the errors and shortcomings of materialism and atheism.

        At the moment only atheists and some progressive Christians are commenting. Since I am searching to start discussions between people with many backgrounds, you would be most welcome to bring a conservative Evangelical perspective to the topics, whenever you have time and the interest :=)

        1. Marc,
          Thanks for the seat at the table. I appreciate your desire to look deeply into these issues and create an exchange of ideas.
          Firstly, when a Christian points out errors in theology or interpretation, we should keep two things in mind. If we give them the benefit of the doubt, they are doing it out of love and concern, and not to fulfill the ego or win an argument. Secondly, while the word of God remains a perfect reflection of reality, our interpretations of it can be mistaken. We are all learning as we go, and the honest student will readily admit his errors when they are revealed.
          But we should make no mistake, because our interpretations of Scripture are subjective and sometimes mistaken, it does not follow that God’s word is subjective and flawed. Because our human perceptions (i.e. beliefs) of truth can be mistaken, it does not follow that truth itself is subjective.
          I read your post on what it means to be a Christian. I like to simplify it even more. Christian means “little Christ.” If we are living our lives as Christ lived his life, to the best of our sin-laden abilities, then we are probably Christians. I would add one more ingredient to your definition of “follow + worship.” I think you also have to be like Him. We can follow our favorite rock band and worship everything they do. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we are anything like its members, aside from sharing the same taste in music.
          There are probably plenty of people who follow Jesus and love what He’s about and love His story, but whose lives in no way reflect what He has commanded of us: to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to go out and create disciples of every nation and tongue, to be more like Him and less like the World. It’s much more comfortable to be like the World.
          I like how you break it down by asking the question: is the act good according to Love? John Feinberg in his book Ethics for a Brave New World provides us with an additional litmus test of questions when evaluating an act: Am I fully persuaded that it is right? Can I do it as unto the Lord? Can I do it without it being a stumbling block to another brother or sister in Christ? Does it bring peace? Does it edify my brother? Is it profitable? Does it enslave me? Does it bring glory to God? Great questions to ask, if you can remember them all!
          Finally, Biblical authority will always be a fundamental issue which must be resolved before evaluating other issues. The reason I would not compare the Bible to an economics or science book is because I have good reasons to believe the Bible is completely different from any other book. I’m sure you have seen how closely some atheists and biologists will cling to their presuppositions of naturalism because they believe science books have ultimate authority.
          You are right in that I would not hesitate to point out mistakes in science and economics books. Stephen Myers book Darwin’s Doubt is doing just that and gaining more and more momentum in secular circles. But I would put forth that scholarship, perspective, and prayer will resolve things once perceived as obvious mistakes in the Bible, while highlighting the incongruence of arguments hostile to the theistic worldview. For those interested in more, I would point them to Dr. Ravi Zacharias of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. His eloquence, substance, and passion for helping others remain unmatched.

  4. A balanced approach, and one that leaves room for respecting convictions on either side of the debate without legalism. Halloween brings a lot of division amongst Christians.
    We have for years participated in a “Fall Carnival” with candy and costumes and activities for kids AND a clear presentation of the gospel. Why not take back the night and plant the flag of Christ smack dab in the middle of it?

  5. Ernesto

    I feel the same way you do brother; this is really good.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Ernesto. Enjoyed your post.