Churches that I have been a part of have all had some kind of celebration for Halloween. It may not have been the night of Halloween maybe it was the weekend before or right around Halloween. Even as a child, Halloween was celebrated in our family. Trick or treating, fall festivals and haunted houses were all part of my growing up.
As a matter of fact not very many people can say they have driven around town in a station wagon with a casket in it, unless of course you work for a mortuary. My mother actually picked up a casket for a school haunted house when I was a child and I remember riding through town getting all kinds of strange stares. For a chocoholic, sweet eater like me, Halloween was a well-loved holiday. I also tend to do things at 110% until the next thing comes along. So costumes where well thought out even if money couldn’t be spent on them. I just tell you this so you know I didn’t grow up with an aversion to Halloween.
After I had children and started growing as a Christian, I begin to question things like Halloween. Nevertheless, since churches felt that fall festivals were acceptable I didn’t worry too much about it. My oldest children went to fall festivals dressed as Biblical characters, Noah & the animals, David and a sheep, etc. However, I always was uneasy about whether it was appropriate or not.
When we had two preschoolers, we visited a church’s Bible Story Land for Halloween. It was very interesting and so far has been the most useful church activity we have participated in for Halloween. The church was decorated as different places throughout the Bible. People were dressed and acted out the parts. We are not talking about just Noah’s ark and Baby Jesus but serious Bible stories. There were Paul’s shipwreck, Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath, the woman at the well, and several others. During the initial wait to go through the stations information on the church was given out and a gospel presentation along with snacks.
The most interesting part was a station that was dark and lit only with black lights. A spotlight shone on a person dressed as Ezekiel. Ezekiel was told to preach to a valley of dry bones. Then you saw that the floor was covered with apparent skeletons. Upon preaching to the dry bones they begin to come alive and soon were up and moving. The bones were people in black clothing with glow-in-the-dark skeletons on their clothes. I knew this story but many there did not even realize this was actually in the Bible. I think it had a profound effect on those there. I remember it just as if it was yesterday.
1The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD , and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD , thou knowest.
4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD .
5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD .
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD ; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. KJV
That is the only time I think a church that I attended actually impacted others with the truth while providing an alternative to Halloween. Most of the time there is nothing different about what a church does compared to a school fall festival. Handing someone a piece of paper about the church doesn’t do much to share the gospel. It usually ends up in the closest garbage can.
An even worse activity is the “Trunk or Treat.” This is where cars are lined up in the parking lot with the trunks open. Children go around from car to car to get their “Trick or Treats.” Supposedly, this is a safer alternative than going house to house but what really happens is the kids go “Trunk or Treating” then they go house to house. Often the cars are decorated with pumpkins, black and orange decorations, maybe even witches, ghosts, and goblins. Nevertheless, information about the church is given out as if that would redeem anything.
Reformation Day also falls on October 31. There are a few churches that celebrate Reformation Day, but very few, and I haven’t had the opportunity to see a celebration before. Around here, you would have to explain what Reformation Day is for people to understand.
I have researched information for years trying to understand what if anything a Christian should do with Halloween. I have found very little information and much conflicting information. It might be shocking to find out who has no problem with Halloween and who does. Some say that the reports of evil and Satanic influences are blown out of proportion and others who deal with cults say otherwise.
I will post more about what the Bible has to say about this later.
What do you think the appropriate response should be for a church and for individual Christians?