Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween: Trick or Treat?

My 2 Daughters with my dad before TRUNK or treat at his church - 2007

Get together a group of Christian moms and ask them about Halloween and you'll get as many different answers as there are women. Some adamantly are against it as the devil's day. Others don't trick or treat, but do alternate "Fall Festivals" complete with costumes and candy. Finally, there are some that say "it's all in fun" and anything goes.

I don't know where I fall. On one hand, I trick or treated as a kid. I loved it! I love Jesus a lot and don't see how I was scarred by trick or treating. At the same time, the bible says to avoid every kind of evil, and that witch craft is evil.

This is one of those gray areas. Another is shows like "Wizards of Waverly Place" and books like "Harry Potter." They are about witchcraft, so I don't let my kids watch them. But I watched Bewitched as a kid, loved it, and played wiggling my nose to create magic spells. It was fun and pretend. Of course, we also pretended to smoke, complete with candy cigarettes! But today I am a non-smoker (and have never smoked). So where do you draw the line?

Some churches recommend using Halloween as an evangelism tool, giving out Christian tracts along with candy. Remember what is meant for evil, God can turn for good. Another idea I got from Susan at Learning for Lifetime was a reverse trick of treat. You can read about that here.

Finally, I encourage all of you to read Romans 14. It is an excellent example of folks believing different things in Christ (some eat meat, some don't). I believe you could insert "celebrate Halloween" in these verses to get the same result. Verse 13 sums up the chapter when it says "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."

This is a controversial subject. I'd love to hear what your family does in conjunction with Halloween. What I encourage everyone to do, it not to judge their neighbors decisions to participate or not. Listen to God's prompting for your family life, and make your decisions accordingly.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 -- Avoid every kind of evil.

Galatians 5:19-21 -- The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God

Luke 6:37 -- Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.


sailorcross said...

I'm glad that you posted this, Kelly! I am so torn by Halloween--at my work we all dress up as something and have a luncheon.

We use this as a time to pull our staff together, where it is sometimes divided. And, since I work in a doctor's office, the patients enjoy this--coming in and seeing us dressed up in costume. Some even call and request appointments on that day just so they can come in and see.

So, I, too, am torn. But, the way I am looking at this, we are using this day that originally was intended for evil in a good and purposeful way.

I'll be posting pics on warmharte later--after I get home from work today!! Please stop by if you have time and take a look!


Kay Martin said...

The unchurched, the unsaved look at us and shake their heads. Our "wrangling" over words makes us not only peculiar as the Bible says saints will be....we act like ocd word police and rigid index finger pointers.

The Lord made our focus simple when He told us to Love the Lord our God with all our hearts and love others as we love ourselves.

Now I think you can go overboard and sin in anything. I discovered I sinned being too involved in church work and not paying enough honor at home at times.

Oh, dress up and lighten up and have a great time of creative imagination.

Lighten up and fly with the angels!!!

Dena @ Green Acres said...

I went trick-or-treating as a child and I don't feel it was a big deal to me. For me it wasn't about witchcraft or evil, honestly, it was about the candy! LOL

My kids all went trick-or-treating, but with some changes: We only went to the houses of relatives, family friends, or their current year school teacher. And they were not allowed to be devils, or other evil type costumes. They were princesses or sports figures usually. And for them...yea, it was about the candy.

If it's kept in the right context, I don't see a problem with it. I think it can be fun. I make a halloween meal for my family complete with mashed potato ghosts, but I don't feel I'm following "evil" for doing that. And I still give them a pumpkin trick-or-treat container with candy in it each year, now that they are old enough they don't trick or treat anymore. I even sent them out to my daughters at college and they got a kick out of it.

I totally agree with this: Luke 6:37 -- Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

My ADHD Me said...

Hi CK. This is a subject that a lot of people have conflicting feelings towards. Personally, I let my kids go trick or treating. I mainly put more emphasis on the NO TRICKING, (older kids..different issues).
I let them dress up as ALMOST anything they want. E did pick up a devil costume at the store and I vetoed that.

Chatty Kelly said...

Another funny note - when I went to see the Women of Faith years ago, Patsy Clairmont said her mom used to put a plastic lighted ghost up in the front yard. One of the neighbors was chasting about it, and someone said "Maybe it's the Holy Ghost?" LOL!!!!

Sue J. said...

I call it "dress up" day. One day of the year to dress up like a favorite character. For little ones to try costume make up. Sadly, sometimes it's the only day we see neighbors face to face.

The scary displays and costumes can definitely be confusing. Again, I think most people do this in fun, although it's not everyone's favorite kind of fun. (I personally have shuddered at horror movies and the like all my life. Dreams can be difficult enough to get through, you know?)

This is from
"While many consider Halloween pagan (and in many instances the celebrations are for many), as far as the Church is concerned the date is simply the eve [All Hallows Eve] of the feast of All Saints. Many customs of Halloween reflect the Christian belief that on the feast's vigils we mock evil, because as Christians, it has no real power over us. However, for some Halloween is used for evil purposes, in which many Christians dabble unknowingly."

"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious.... I warn you, as I did before, that those who LIVE LIKE THIS will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Perhaps it comes down to whether folks are LIVING the Halloween lifestyle on a regular basis. And there definitely are some folks who do or who put some sort of belief into the possibility that the things of Halloween are truth.

Add this to the list of things to talk through with your kids. But I'm not going to deny my bunny and my Statue of Liberty the chance to have some dress-up fun.

My ADHD Me said...

I have another comment. Imagine that.

Although I let my kids go trick or treating and we do the Halloween stuff. I appreciate the fact that you and/0r others don't judge me for that.
THEREFORE, you should get the same respect for your feelings. If you are against Halloween or Harry Potter or other such stuff then you deserve the right to ALSO not be judged.

After all, any reservations you may have about it, all are a result of you wanting to do what you think is the best way to raise your children to the Glory of God.

I don't think there is anything in the Bible that says, "Woe to he who try-eth too hard to do-eth the right thing in God's name". (of course you know the Bible better than I do, so if there is, just let me know. :)

Greg C said...

I let my kids go trick or treating. To me it isn't an evil day, it is an event where kids dress up and go out and get candy. My kids don't do it to praise the devil they do it to go trick or treating. My son wanted to dress up as a gas pump this year because he said that was really scarry. (I will take pictures)

I think you can take anything and make it positive or negative depending on how you look at it. Around here, many of the churches have festivals instead of trick or treating. That way the kids will have an alternative. Now many of the churches are having the festivals on November 1st because they said anything on Halloween is evil. I believe that good and evil live in the heart and God already knows if you are good or evil. I don't judge anyone either so do what feels right to you.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Trick or treat!!!
I don't know what to think either... except that I LOVED Halloween as a kid, and had thee best memories. I too watched Bewitched... but would I watch it today?... probly not. But I'm with you... don't stand in judgement over your neighbor. I'm just thankful the Lord knows our hearts! One thing for sure, your family sure looks cute all dressed up! How sweet of your Dad to take them to trunk or treat. Hope they GET LOTS OF CANDY!!!

KelliGirl said...

Hey Kelly,
Personally I don't like Halloween, but we let our kids trick or treat. For them it is all about the candy and dressing up in a fun costume. Soon enough Halloween runs its course and they outgrow it. My 13-year-old daughter gave it up this year.

I might be naive, but a lot of the fuss about trick or treating seems overblown. Halloween certainly has some evil apsects if you seek them out, but they weren't something that influenced me as a child...or anyone else I know. In so much of our lives we encounter evil influences far more dangerous than getting way too much candy.

That said, I would love to hear an intelligent argument why we, as Christian families, should avoid ALL aspects of Halloween.


Bonita said...

I was just reading those verses in Romans the other day and they can be applied to so many areas of life and are very helpful when it comes to judging others.

We've always had some sort of church event on Halloween so it's never really been an issue with us. As long as the kids got candy they were fine with it. They also had opportunity to dress up in costumes, play games, go on hayrides, etc... Our current church is renting out the NASCAR speedpark this year.

When they were young I was far more concerned with the evil influence of Halloween and wouldn't have let them trick or treat if that was the only option. Plus, I don't think it's safe to eat the candy they get from strangers. Now, if I had a third child I might reconsider. I've grown softer with age I suppose.

One thing that made me adamant when they were young was the influence Halloween had on me as a child. I wasn't a Christian and my home wasn't Christian and from an early age I was interested in the occult. Halloween fed that interest because it was so much fun, but scary too. That caused issues for me as teen when my interest in supernatural things peeked and it's only by God's amazing grace that I ever found my way to Him (really He found me!).

Beverlydru said...

Happy day to you! Your post is well done. I am like you - right in the middle. Our kids did trick or treat for the candy. That's what it meant to them. I loved it as a child too. Prayers for safety for all tonight! We are working a booth at the fall festival at our church. The whole town comes and it's busy, busy and fun for all.

Edie said...

I am responding because I can't keep quiet about the matter. I also shouldn't feel that I have to supress my views becasue I am in the minority. Please know that my views are in judgement of the celebration not of people in general.

"the bible says to avoid every kind of evil, and that witch craft is evil." To me that sums it up pretty well. Avoid means stay away from, don't take part in. Halloween is clealy a celebration of evil, a celebration of death. I have handed out tracts with candy on halloween becasue I won't turn away children. There is a clear distinction between darkness and light. I don't believe that we will be celebrating halloween in the new Jeruselem. I do believe that Satan is very good at making evil look and feel like fun. I have had my hand in the occult in the past and can say that demons want everyone to believe there is no harm is just a little white magic.

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh. It's not meant to be. It's not meant to judge anyone. In this case I would rather err on the side that avoids.

Jeff and Valerie Carr said...

My husband's grandmother came to know Christ because of a Halloween party at the local Salvation Army church in their town. And because of that connection now there are generations of Christ followers within the family.

My mother in law always says "Claim it for Jesus".

I love Halloween/Fall season. Cider donuts, apple cider, pumpkin patches. My family always made a big deal of pumpkin carving and it's just part of my October expectaions now. Though, with no pumpkins (as I know pumpkins) in my area of Spain, I really miss carving pumpkins this year!

Barb said...

I'm like Edie; I was raised and taught to stay away from ALL appearance of evil. For my family, that extended to jack o lanterns, costumes, trick or treating and ALL such.

Now, as an adult, years later, our church hosts a Harvest of Blessings Festival near or on Halloween as a safe, Christian alternative. Kids are going to be out SOMEWHERE, why not the House of God, where people have been praying over them before they even arrive, to feel the presence, drawing and love of God as soon as they enter our doors?

Halloween is happening, so at least we can stand in the gap for them and pray protection over them, against any spirits that they may unknowingly be dabbling in.

I have a friend who visited my office recently who has issues with Halloween, and he mentioned he didn't want to have anything to do with his son even carving pumpkins - but his wife and son go ahead and DO it - so I sent him this little story I found in recent years, as a different way to view, at least, jack o lanterns and spread the gospel.

Sorry - Edie taught me how to link on my posts, but I don't see the little green button, so I don't know how to do it here : )

Tiffany Stuart said...

This is a hard one. I've always battled with Halloween. However I love the creative side of costumes(not evil) and the arts, so I love letting my kids dress up during any OTHER day of the year than this date.

I used to do the harvest church options, however last year we went around the neighbor with friends.

I pray more on this day...

Runner Mom said...

Great post and thoughts, girlfriend! Like you, I grew up watching "Bewitched" and "The Wizard of Oz." I trick or treated growing up as did my hubby--a preacher's kid. Our boys did, too. This is the first year that child #2 is not going to ring those doorbells!!! He had fun at our church Trunk or Treat on Sunday.

For us, it's not about evil--simply about the candy and fun costumes.


Edie said...

off topic - Hey CK, I like your occupation in your profile. "HomeMaker Extraordinaire" LOL. Do you know there are 28 other bloggers in the same occupation!? haha!

Irritable Mother said...

Yeah, it's a touchy subject. We pass out candy, and the kids go trick-or-treating. And sometimes I feel like "others" will judge me for participating in Halloween. I so appreciate your thoughtful words, CK.
Our focus is Jesus, and I think I can even pass out candy in His Name.

Cindy said...

We always went trick or treating as kids and loved it and still love the Lord.
Our kids did too until a few years ago when we fell into the 'it's so bad' trap.
Now my kids are grown and my granddaughter goes out t-or-t and we passed out candy tonight and I Loved It and I still Love Jesus.

HisPrincess said...

Halloween isn't big in Australia, so it's not really an issue for us.

I remember seeing on tv as a kid and thinking it looked like fun and I wish we did that.

But excuse me for my ignorance...what's it all about?

As for Harry Potter, I read it before letting my kids read it and found it to be an amazing story, beautifully written. It's make believe. So I don't have an issue with it. No different to The Lord of the Rings, pure fantasy. Life would be pretty dull without an imagination.

God's girl said...

Wow~ This is a topic that can be as controversial as politics or speaking in tongues. You, my friend, are a brave woman for venturing this one.

It is very hard to ignore what this day/night means when you have experienced demonic things and have knowledge of that darkness.

"Cutesy costumes, candy, bobbing for apples, etc"- There is clearly deception here. When studying on this "holiday" or on the occult, what a perfect cover-up for the graphic, horrific things that really happen every year on this date by adverting from the evil with these "fun" elements.

Granted, to a family who simply likes getting dressed up, getting candy, and having fun, it is very fun and innocent. However, we open spiritual doors to the enemy through that innocence.

The blood of Jesus is stronger, but why "play" with the enemy on the one night that all his forces are out and on the prowl. We see the fun part of Halloween with our physical eyes, but when you have the gift of discernment and you see with your spiritual eyes what is really going on, you know, without a doubt, that this is not any ordinary day.

I feel, I too, may have come off too harsh, but I beg you to get informed. We aren't in "play-land", but in a "spiritual battle field" where the enemy gets a little more clever all the time. I had a friend who dove into demonic stuff on the other side of GOd's "army", and trust me, THIS IS NOT just an innocent holiday.

Do I judge? No, just saddened because people are deceived. Our ignorance creates battles that we should never have to face, and that grieves my heart.

There will still be people who "do" Halloween even if all Christians stop, and in that respect, why not fill the churches with the alternative. I don't believe God tells us to stay home and allow the enemy to "rule" this night; but to put on our armor, and pray, pray, pray, and take back what the enemy is trying to steal from us: the children of this generation.

Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

Hi, Kelly. It's funny...last evening as the neighborhood was filled with children parading around with their careful parents in tow, I thought "no one's blogged on Halloween". Touchy, and seems to be very personal, subject. Well, here you have blogged about it. You are brave!

We do give out Christian tracks (geared to children) on salvation through Jesus...along with the biggest candy bars we can purchase. (I heard that suggested on a Christian radio program once.) The kids remember that. As a matter of fact, last night I heard some parents say "the kids wants to go to this house first because they give out the big candy bars!". Even the kids were mentionining it.

Our home is decorated with autumnal things. Things that represent His goodness, provision and creation. Our children dress in colorful outfits that do not dishonor Him.

All that to say, our prayer is that when they come to our house, they remember it filled with light (all the lights are on and we usually play kids worship music on the porch) and filled with the Light Himself.

A neighborhood social outting like last evening is a great way to connect with neighbors you don't see very often. We are in the world, but not of the world.

I respect each Christian parents' view on Halloween and their decision to participate or not to participate.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

You are so right...this is a hot button topic, but not one where I "nail my colors to the mast."
We do the Fall Festivals.

Susan said...


Thanks for the link! I know there are many many opinions and I respect each one. When we were first married, we did NOT do anything Halloween. Yet, like you, I loved trick or treating as a kid and really wanted my kids to have the same experiences. I think that's when God started to show me that, for me, it's OK for our kids to have fun and "redeem evil for good."

One interesting thing that happened during reverse trick or treat the other day was a woman who told me her new DIL was condemning her for doing anything with the holiday. It seems she's a born again Christian. The MIL said she was so upset by it and she couldn't believe that we were a CHURCH handing out candy. We talked with her about having fun and enjoying interacting with neighbors. I think that went further to witness to her than judging her for what she did or did not do.

Your post is a good one...and an important one for us all to consider.



Marie A. Levy said...

I believe this is one of those situations that can be used to get God's message across. A few years ago I made gravestones out of industrial foam,painted them, engraved them with headings such as "Peter, not here, gone to heaven, Paul, Salvation thru Christ, Lazarus,Raised from the Dead and so on. I put up a cross in the middle that read, He is Risen and a sign that read, "Gospel Grave Yard." I give out candy and tracts. I also live in an area that brings very few dressed up small children to my door. Instead, I get teenagers, not dressed, holding out bookbags or beanie caps. I don't know how many more Halloweens I'll do this, but for the time being, I pray God will use the creativeness for His glory.

Marie Levy

Edie said...

GG - Amen!!! You Perfectly expressed the truth of this celebration and how seriously satan and his demons take this day!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

We have never celebrated it, but honestly, my first two kids wanted nothing to do with it, so that was easy. When they went to school, we sent a note saying they wouldn't be participating. Our church has done a 180 since then, and nothing at all is said about it from the pulpit. But as a child, I had an intense fear of evil, so this is just not something appealing to me or for my children. God is light, and in him there is no darkness. The world loves the dark and is mesmerized by death. I want no part of it at all. I know; that's extreme.

The Patterson 5 said...

Yikes! Touchy subject. My blog says where I am on that subject.

Another touchy one is Harry Potter. We think he's great! He gets boys to read. His magic is no different than Cinderella or Glenda in the Wizard of Oz, Snow White, Alladin, Star Wars and Fantacia (Disney),Grimm Fairy tales. Harry Potter is a good force against evil... and good, honest, valliant, values win out.

CS Lewis fictional books also have magic and witch craft.

As do JR Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings.

My boys enjoy those as well.


We talk with our boys about the differences between reality and fantacy (I don't think I am spelling that right)

I've read lots of pro and con articles for it and have allowed my oldest who is a avid HP fan to read them as well.

It's a personal preferance and should be individualized to the child. Mom's and Dad's know their children and what their child can handle as far as a fantacy--books, movies, activities.

I hope there aren't any book bannings ---think of all the imaginative works that would be distroyed.

Sorry to write a blog on your comments. If we were doing this last Halloween I'd have pictures from our celebration with my son dressed up as Harry Potter once on Halloween and then again on dress like your favorite book character day.

Alyce said...

Hey Kelly..
I was catching up on blogs and just had to read this post. I have been torn for YEARS!!!!! As a child, the church I grew up in went all out for HALLOWEEN...complete with haunted house..even the meeting room(it's quaker, so not really called sanctuary) was the haunted house. I did not like Halloween as a child. It scared me. I still can't stand seeing people in masks..It gives me such anxiety. As I got older, and left home, I participated in it (I was not saved)..but only mildly. Then, when I got married and had children (saved by this point)that is when I became torn. I did the is a pagan holiday. To me, it just glorifies witchcraft and paganism. Our church (baptist) does a Fall Festival. I went when my oldest was little. No big deal..but they did promote wearing biblical costumes. Then..I felt more convicted.. Questions arose.. Ok, if its Fall Festival, WHY do we have to have it on the 31st.why can't it be another day in fall. etc.. WHy can't we say .. "no costumes" I stopped going to Fall FEstival..another thing..I thought it was just a cover up, and they did Trunk or I said"whats the difference". Well, this year... The pastor was announcing it..and said.."the gospel will be shared". So...I said OK, we will give it a try this year. we go.. not dressing up, just going to check it out. Well for one.. it was chaos because of so many people. I never once heard the gospel. BUT..we didn't get there in the very beginning, so I don't know if something was mentioned or not. BUT..Cds were handed out and some people at their trunks handed out tracks. I grumbled, I complained..then I was convicted of my tongue..and God does use these events to keep people off the street..I guess I want to see/hear more preaching!! THe kids love it and its a time to witness and invite people into God's house. I just have been concerned about sending mixed messages. I think I'm softening though..praise to Jesus for that.

Alyce said...

Oh... Martin Luther and Reformation was on the 31st as well. We should be celebrating that..Reformation Day!