Sep
28

To Halloween or Not

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September 28, 2012 [Your Questions, Holidays]
Hi Karen,
I’m wondering if you can help me out. This morning, I overheard a coworker speaking to another about his Christian perspective about whether or not he should allow his children to celebrate Halloween.  He explained a bit about where the ‘celebration’ came from and then noted that for those who don’t know what the origin of the event stems from, their celebration is not reinforcing the roots of the day/night.  But those who know and continue to celebrate, are sinning, if they know it’s wrong to support the root of the day. He spoke to me later to see what I thought. Read the rest of her question and Karen’s answer here…

I was raised celebrating the costume and party aspect of Halloween, but I never asked and it was never explained to me the night’s origin.  My parents even had Halloween parties and took us trick or treating.  Now, the treat part reinforced my greedy little heart to keep all that sweet candy to myself – there the coveting starts!!  But I never delved into the black magic of things.. to me, it was one day and a time to help my mom decorate the house welcoming in Fall before the Thanksgiving decorations.  So, the crux of this is the fact that my husband loves the dressing up and decorating aspects of Halloween. How can I be the light in regards to Halloween while honoring God and my husband (without him thinking I’ve gone so far bible-thumping that I’ve lost it and don’t know how to have fun?–This idea has been approached by us a couple of years ago..).
>In God’s Love,
Anna

Hi Anna,

Your question is a really good one and you are wise to be discerning. My opinion is that theologically speaking, Paul talks about something similar in 1 Corinthians 8 when he discusses eating food sacrificed to idols. His point was that it wasn’t the outward behavior at issue. If you are confident there is but one God and that costumes and candy have no significance or meaning in providing special power or protection, then it seems to me he is saying it is not sinful to do things that other people do as worship to idols or other gods. He does clarify, however, that you should avoid doing anything that would cause others to think you are worshipping them because it might cause others to actually worship them.

If your children bring it up as they heard “such and such,”  you can turn that into a moment of worship in itself by saying, God Empowered Wife style: “God says Dad is the head of the home, let’s ask him to pray about it and tell us the right thing to do.” Then honor whatever Dad says as witness to your children he is the head of the home, without fear because God can lead him what is best for the family. This, in my opinion, is more important spiritually than whether or not they wear costumes. It is the primary thing God has told you to do. This year God may lead your husband to celebrate and the next to not, as God knows the condition of your children’s hearts and consciences.

Given what you’ve said, if you were to not celebrate, it would be a focus on “right behavior” it seems? If an atheist celebrates Christmas does it mean they are worshipping God? I’m not saying that you should try to minimize the conviction of your co-worker God who has been convicted his family should not celebrate Halloween. God says our conscience declares out guilt. For him to violate his conviction would be a sin because he would be deliberately choosing to do what he believes is dishonoring to God.

Perhaps one of his children is at a place where God knows it is best for their conscience to not celebrate. There is so much witchcraft being normalized today in books, movies, and TV shows, that you have to trust God is leading your co-worker what is best for his family and respect that. What is important is that we each honor God in our own heart. Just because you celebrate or don’t, that alone doesn’t make you holy.  “A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart” (Proverbs 21:2). Let your question lead you to reflect on your own heart and whatever secret sin may be there. It’s one thing to put on a costume and knock on doors.  Where has your heart been straying from God? It’s one thing to eat candy. What have you been feeding your eyes and ears and mind?

Personally, as an afterthought, I would not suggest discussing the origins of the holiday with your children. Paul explains in the latter part of that chapter about tempting those with weak consciences. Your children’s consciences are probably not yet strong and what the weak mind can conceive, it will be tempted to think about. There is no need for your child, while dressed up, to consider or toy with the idea that he or she is participating in a pagan ritual. If they ask about it, then I suggest you all sit as a family and discuss it, pray about it together.
Hope that helps.
Karen

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