Halloween is a holiday that can provoke such emotions and argumentation, especially among Christians; to partake or not to partake. There are many who have strong opinions about this holiday. What is the right path to take, what should we do, should be participate and possibly feel like we are “selling out” on our faith or not participate and feel like we are the scrooge of this holiday.
When my husband and I first had our daughter it really wasn’t even a question or a concern because during the first four years of her life she was so sleep sensitive that she was in bed usually before all the hub-bub was even started. But as our child has gotten older trying to see eye to eye on the matter has been a challenge. Do we partake in a holiday we feel is rooted in darkness thus feeling like we are being unfaithful to our walk with Christ. Or do we ignore it like it doesn’t exist. Does ignoring it alienate the children in the neighborhood? Is it even more un-Christ-like to ignore the “pink elephant” in the room?
Thus the pursuit to guidance and some nitty-gritty research lead me to these three books. They opened my eyes to the history of Halloween. Gave us (our family) some definite ideas on how we want to approach Halloween in our future years of raising a child in this crazy world.
Why three books? They each give a slightly different approach and each very helpful. Now you may decide after reading the first book review/overlook because you agree totally with those authors or disagree vehemently and don’t want to proceed. I ask you to please read through all 3 discussions before you give way to any conclusions.
THE FACTS ON HALLOWEEN by John Ankerberg, John Weldon, and Dillon Burroughs
This book definitely approaches the topic with the sense that it is a holiday we should not participate in as Christians. It also gives some negative light to the Catholic faith; but it lays out the history and facts very well.
Thru this book you are able to understand it’s rooted by the Druids. The Druids were an ancient cult of the Celts. The Celts celebrated each year on October 31, the lord of the dead. This time of the year for them was the winter festival, the Samhain. This was a time for the dead to mingle with the living.
Halloween is rooted in paganism thus many of the traditions are also rooted in pagan rituals. The jack-o-lantern has many stories behind it. One of them is that witches would put candles in skulls to light the way to a coven meeting.
The authors ask: if Halloween today is truly an innocent practice for young children? It is pointed out on page 23 and 24 how even though churches of past have tried to Christianize Halloween it is still a very important day for witches, neo-pagans, and Satanists. This day is dripping with pagan occult practices of the past and the present.
CHAPTER 5 asks if Halloween can be entirely innocent and how does this holiday relate to the Bible? Some questions that need to be asked are:
1. Who might be influenced? Are we glorifying God thru this practice?
2. By participating are we mimicking evil practices?
3. Are we condoning evil practices just by participating?
4. Are we opening a door for our children to possibly want to dabble or experiment with darker elements when they get older?
5. Are we allowing our children to be involved in a night that some use as a way to cause fear or destruction?
The authors give many biblical references on pages 37-39 on why we shouldn’t participate; such as Deuteronomy 18:9, Romans 12:9, 3 John 11. These are naming just a few. The question is brought up on page 40 on how we can honor God if we are participating in this holiday.
The last section of this book goes into great detail on Halloween, haunted houses, poltergeists, and witches.
I think we can all agree these evils do exist. But let’s take a look at the next book to see a more tempered point of view. This author isn’t telling the reader to participate or to not participate; he is asking you to understand the grey area of this topic.
HALLOWEEN: WHAT’S A CHRISTIAN TO DO? By Steve Russo
This author also starts his book out with the history of Halloween to bring awareness and understanding of the past and present use of the holiday. He also discussed how faiths have tried to Christianize it over the years.
I want to skip ahead to chapter 5, Everybody’s Doing It. This chapter begins with a guest speaking on a radio show explaining that we as Christians need to be in this world but not of this world. And that if we ignore Halloween it will go away. But the reality is: Halloween is not going anywhere! Are we going to be ostriches and bury our heads in the sand?
Contemporary Halloween is really more about commercialism than anything else. What is the bottom dollar? How much can a business make on this one day a year?
To put it simply: SATAN IS EVERYWHERE. In Chapter 6, we are able to see that Satan doesn’t just exist on Halloween. He is actually much more cunning and alluring through everyday life activities. We must be on guard for the “beautiful” temptations because they are much more subtle and dangerous than the blatant scary ghosts of Halloween.
Satan wants us to not grow closer to Christ. He wants to weaken our armor. We must be prepared for spiritual warfare ALL year long, not just one night a year.
CHAPTER 7: A VIEW FROM THE BOOK
We can discern and turn to the Bible for guidance:
1. Not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23
2. Guard against unholy practices. Deuteronomy 18:10-13
3. Stay focused on what is good and pure. Philippians 4:8
4. Sidestep all evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22
5. Be aware of the battle. Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 5:8,9
An important thing to understand is that Halloween falls in the grey area of Christian living. It is not spoken about directly in the bible, thus there is a lot of room left for interpretation. What we as Christians need to be aware of is not compromising our biblical principles. We also need to practice one of our great commandments of loving one another as ourselves. Thus not judge someone who does practice or someone who doesn’t practice Halloween.
We as Christians try to live our lives in glory of God, so how can we glorify Him through this holiday?
Parents need to be very aware that the school systems have secularized this holiday so much that New Age and Occult teachings are being allowed to spill into some classrooms. Chapter 8 really goes into great detail on how to be careful of the influences the school systems can have on your children.
Chapter 9 brings out how we as Christians, if we want to participate in this holiday, can really make it more about our faith than about the pagan heritage of Halloween.
1. Reverse door to door evangelization.
2. Harvest Festival
3. Progressive dinner
These are just a few suggestions. We can create a light on a dark day if we use our imagination. Thus by turning on the light of Christ during Halloween we can overcome evil with our good actions and deeds on this day. And the best thing we can do as parents for our children is to ask God for guidance in how to guide and lead our children in this overly seductive world.
REDEEMING HALLOWEEN: CELEBRATING WITHOUT SELLING OUT by Kim Wier and Pam McCune
This book is definitely my favorite out the three. Which you may be asking why I even bothered writing about the other two then? I felt it was only fair to make sure and present all 3 points of view given each from Christian authors.
This book is sold through FOCUS ON THE FAMILY. I know this means something to many Christians. I know it does to me. When I see anything sold, endorsed, or published by Focus on the Family it gives me pause to pay attention.
This book not only goes into the history like the other two books but it spreads it out through each of the chapters as each mom shares their personal stories in how they try to be a beacon of light for their children and for other children during this holiday.
Some of the great things they share in this book is how we as Christians can celebrate this season without feeling like we are selling out. How we can create traditions with our children that are very Christ focused and not geared around the pagan traditions.
Something that they brought out that resonated through me was the fact that Christmas and Easter each have pagan origins as well, yet we as Christians wouldn’t dare abandon these holidays because we know the significance and importance of shining Christ’s light not only during each holiday but each day of the year.
Some of the fun traditions they share in this book are:
- Decorating with Light: how we can light up our houses to be beacons of light during this time of the year, whether with luminaries, white lights, even the pumpkins. There is a devotional to do while carving the pumpkin. The devotional is how to rid ourselves of the “yuck” and sin in our lives to make room for Christ’s light.
- Creating a movie night with the family where the focus is about faith heroes, missionary stories, or documentaries about martyrs.
- For your older kiddos an underground church party. Participants dress up as persecuted Christians and have reflection and game times sharing knowledge and a story about some the great Christians in history who sacrificed all for their faith.
- Fear not party is for the younger groups 7-12. It would consist of a scary story, but show how that Christian hero and took his/her faith to conquer their fears.
- Open your doors! Have it where your candy is wrapped with a biblical message that conveys Christ as the light of the world!
- Harvest baskets can be prepared and worked on during the month to then deliver to families from the church or community who are in need.
- And my all time favorite: build up to ALL SAINTS DAY! Use the month of October to not only share the history of Halloween with your kiddos but to also build up to the great saints who came before us and then commemorate them on November 1st, ALL SAINTS DAY!!!
I loved this book because it gives us as Christians the opportunity to spread the good news on a dark day, be a beacon of light, and most importantly it reminds us to be Christ-like in all we do, thus not judging those who do or don’t partake in this holiday.
No matter what you choose to do this Halloween season with your family remember to “walk by faith….”.
I leave you with some last lines from this book:
“As our families imitate the faith of those who kept their eyes on Christ, we can be assured that we are preparing our children to run with endurance no matter what challenges test their faith on the path of life. They, too, may be ‘hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, or knocked down,’ but with our examples and the examples of those who went before, they will be able to get up again and keep going.”
“As you step out to reclaim a season with such an amazing spiritual heritage, may you discover the redeeming power of our Savior, not just at Halloween, but in every season.”