Updated: Sep 2
Halloween among the religious, church, and Christian communities has had mixed reactions over the decades. Some disdain it. Some avoid it. Some engage. Some mimic. And some synchronize (mix beliefs). What do we do then?
Hence the new children's book published this year, Halloween Vegetable Horror: When Parents Tricked Kids with Healthy Treats.
I understand the tension that arises for parents, teachers, pastors, churches, and communities. I also have come to understand the variations of history to Halloween along with the varying interpretations that turn into customs and traditions. Questions arise like:
Do we trick or treat the neighborhood?
Do we trust neighbors and strangers?
Do we dress up with costumes?
Do we hand out candy to trick or treaters?
Do we continue to pass down this tradition?
Should our church be involved in anyway?
How should our church be involved?
There is certainly a dark past to Halloween, like the Irish's Celtic myths that turned into traditions and costumes. There's a dark past to Halloween regardless of historical backgrounds, as anyone can use it for wrongdoing -- evil. There is evil in this world every day and every day has represented evil throughout history.
Does that mean we celebrate or participate in anyway?
There is a better way to view any day, which is to realize not the evil or good but the creator of any day. We were created with a purpose and the purpose is to live for the Creator of our days. He is good and when we live for him that then is good. We certainly cannot do bad and consider it good, but we can also recognize that God uses evil for his good and purposes (c.f. Genesis 50:20).
We see this example beyond the Bible and in history, especially with Halloween. October 31st, 1517 became a later date in history when a German Roman Catholic priest, Martin Luther, nailed 95 these document to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The list of statements outlined disagreements with the Catholic church from his studies of the Bible.
Martin Luther is not to be worshipped, and he certainly had his faults and imperfections. However, what Martin Luther raised as the central issue was the gospel (good news) of Jesus the Christ -- the perfect one. The Protestant Reformation ensued and grew with the remainder of the world involved in all of its effects.
The Catholic church attempted to redeem Halloween prior to the Protestant Reformation to be All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day. The Christian church in later centuries and closer to our present time has more focused on the Protestant Reformation as the preferred day to represent good on what can be a really dark day.
One can attempt to change history, the annual day, the customs, and so on. Or, we can put ourselves in a position to determine what God wants each of us to do in each of our global contexts. Regardless of the day, God has called and explained clearly throughout scripture that Christians are to be hospitable, loving, humble (receptive) to truth, etc. These characteristics are to arise in the midst of each day.
Christianity certainly should not mix, blend, or synchronize beliefs, and one way to do that is redeem the night either in your own family household or church community. Maybe it is re-labeling it to "Praise Night," "Trunk or Treat," and so on. But it is still an opportunity to engage, welcome, and ultimately have hospitality to a lot of strangers, neighbors, and people from the community going around with various expectations (good or bad).
Halloween does not need to be a night of confrontation, though that might happen and could be helpful depending on the context. Currently Halloween is shifting and changing but provides a unique opportunity of recognition, welcome, greeting, serving, helping, engaging, conversation, and future follow up.
Pray, discern, prepare, and be led by the Lord throughout a confusing past and culture to provide others a unique opportunity to hear about the One you follow on any day.
Among our context, we will be passing out some copies of our new children's book to discern all of this and bring fun, laughter, truth, and love to a culture and world in great need. Join us in doing so as a great conversation starter, guide, reminder, and help to families, church communities, teachers, and neighborhoods.
Find the best marketplace to purchase or place a wholesale order of Halloween Vegetable Horror: When Parents Tricked Kids with Healthy Treats.
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