It’s October 31 and children all over America are dressing up as their favorite Disney character, superhero, or evil goblin. In a few short hours, America will be knocking at your front door. Should Christians turn off their lights and simply enjoy an evening of “The Voice”? If we pass out candy to a little princess coming to your door, are we really participating in demon worship and the exaltation of Satan? There will be hundreds of churches everywhere attempting to be salt and light tonight under the guise of a Fall Festival or Trunk or Treat. However, are they really only playing into Satan’s hands and offering a piece of worship every time a lost person comes into their church? Should Christians forgo Halloween?
First, let me say that Halloween is one of my least favorite holidays. In fact, I found out this morning, it’s not even my favorite holiday in October. October 11 is National Sausage Pizza Day. I’m marking that holiday down on my calendar and in 2018 I will celebrate. October 10 is National Handbag Day. Please don’t tell Heidi or I’ll be buying a new purse in October. While Halloween is not my favorite holiday, I do believe it offers a wonderful opportunity for the church to be missional in your neighborhood. What other night of the year will you have fifty to one hundred children knocking on your door? Think about this: One night a year the world comes to you. That is why I think participating in Truck or Treat or a Fall Festival can be a very good ministry.
In my opinion, celebrating Halloween is a Romans 14 issue. It’s a matter of the conscience. I am reminded of Romans 14:17: “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Each Christian must decide how the Spirit is leading them. Does the Holy Spirit give you the freedom to pass out candy to children as they come to your door? Does He give you the freedom to decorate your house, dress up your children in costumes, and walk through the city asking for candy? For some of you, the answer will be no. The Holy Spirit will not free you for a myriad of reasons. However, we must always remember that what God reveals to us does not always pertain to everyone. If you feel as if Halloween is evil and you should not participate, by all means, keep your lights off tonight. Don’t make a big deal of it; simply turn your lights off and enjoy a quiet evening at home.
I read a post by Ed Stetzer today that I really liked. He had a great question to consider, “As Christians, what does it look like to engage culture in a Christ-like manner?” (Please see http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/october/three-reasons-to-trick-or-treat.html for the entire story. I will quote the article later as well). In other words, how do we redeem the evening? How do we take what Satan wanted to be evil to become a night of mission, ministry, and glory to God?
Stetzer goes on to lists three reasons you should participate in Halloween.
First, this is likely the only time all year when neighbors will clock near and far, ring your doorbell, and want to have a face-to-face interaction with you. Secondly, you don’t have to abandon your Christian faith or confess allegiance to pagan deities in order to celebrate Halloween. And third, you can have a missional Halloween in how your great your neighbors.
What does it come down to for me? Can I honor Christ and advance the Kingdom of God by redeeming Halloween? Can I live a holy life and still take part in the evening’s festivities? For me, I believe strongly in freedom and I have the freedom in Christ to participate. You may not have that same freedom, and that is completely ok. I respect your decision not to participate and I ask you to respect my decision to participate. If you are able, redeem the time. Use the night for ministry and spreading the Gospel. All that may be tonight is keeping your light on, being kind to a bunch of children, meeting their parents, and start praying for ways to minister to them in the future. Halloween may just allow you to nudge someone closer to Christ and get their hearts ready to meet Jesus this Christmas season. Keep your lights on tonight. Be salt and light in a lost and dying world. Bring your kids by to see Heidi and me tonight. We’ll be sure and greet you with a smile and a piece of candy or two.