An Open Letter About Halloween

Daly Focus

Life is beautiful and imperfect, a source of wonder and a challenge so complex that it’s good to pause from time to time and check our perspective and priorities against eternal truth. ReFocus, promises to help you navigate today’s culture.

An Open Letter About Halloween

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Peanuts creator Charles Schulz made a habit of dispensing advice through the mouths of cartoon characters, especially the blanket-carrying Linus van Pelt.  GP2.jpg
Like any offering of counsel, some of it is to be heeded and some of it is not.
“There are three things you must never discuss with people,” the comic strip’s philosopher/theologian once said, “religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.”
Since we regularly wade into the first two topics anyway, we might as well go for broke and address the latter.
Sort of.
The traditions surrounding October 31st conjure up many good memories for me. Over the years, my wife and I have chosen to allow our sons to engage in the innocent and harmless side of Halloween. They enjoy dressing up in positive-themed costumes (Captain America, for example) and going trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.
I understand that Halloween is a hot topic with many Christians, and understandably so. With its admittedly pagan and creepy origins, involving druids, ghosts and goblins, many choose to either ignore it altogether or amend it in order to have it better complement their convictions.
I take no issue with either side and respect the strongly held perspectives in both camps. Halloween5.jpg
Instead, I want to address the broader culture concerning the holiday.
Here are my thoughts:
Christian or not, it is high time to turn away from the dark, gory and horror-filled side of the holiday. It’s always been time, but the confluence of culture and recent current events raises this matter to a new level.
There is absolutely nothing entertaining or redeeming about hatchet wielding villains parading in costume or front-lawn displays featuring blood spattered body parts.
Some might suggest I need to lighten up and relax, to not take intended fantasy so seriously. 
“It is all just a joke,” they say. “It isn’t real.”
Or is it?
Those people who press will have to forgive me. My family and I live, pray and play in Colorado. Just a few days ago police arrested a 17-year-old for murdering and dismembering a ten-year-old girl. Parts of her body were reportedly found in the murderer’s house.
How can hearts break in two at such horrific news – and yet grow indifferent to the site of a ghoulish Halloween display just blocks away? Halloween77.jpg
There is nothing “fun” about a sinister-looking character, strapped from head to toe with plastic automatic rifles, casing the streets – even with a bag full of candy in hand on Halloween night.
You’ll remember that it was earlier this summer that a young man, who allegedly called himself the “Joker,” burst into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and opened-fire, injuring over 50 people and killing 13.
It seems that life is increasingly imitating “art” these days – but it’s too-often the heinous kind, not the glorious or good.
Evil has been on the loose since the beginning of time, and dispensing with evil-themed Halloween traditions won’t change the reality of a broken world.
I get it.
But can’t we agree that it’s unwise and unhealthy to embrace wickedness in any fictitious form?
As a culture we can find common ground with parents of every creed concerning the need to lift up the good and turn away from macabre traditions. 
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  • Comment by  Jennifer:

    Thanks for your thoughtful addition to this conversation! I agree.

  • Comment by  Stevie B:

    Well Said!

  • Comment by  Dennis :

    I totally agree with "But can’t we agree that it’s unwise and unhealthy to embrace wickedness in any fictitious form?"

    We have never participated because it is Satan's High Holy Day, and any time you do any celebrating because of Halloween (even if it's angel costumes), the one who gets the glory is Satan, not God, because it is Satan's day.

    Without doing much research it is easy to find scriptures that would say to totally stay away from such things, as well as the fact that there is a real and evil presence that dominates the holiday. The Devil and His witches and warlocks are smiling when you honor Satan's day. You might think its innocent fun, but if you believe there is a real Devil, then you must know that nothing done in Satan's honor is innocent.

  • Comment by  Lois :

    I appreciate what you have written regarding Halloween, however, I do not think you have gone far enough.  I also allowed my children to dress up in cute outfits and go trick or treating, but that was before God revealed to me the truth about Halloween.  It is an evil celebration of the occult and no matter how we try to dress it up, it is a vey pagan holiday and Christians should have no part in it.  In so doing, we give the devil and opening into our hearts and minds.  I believe that if we understand the real origin and meaning of Halloween, we will have absolutely no part in it.

  • Comment by  Ellen:

    Thank you Jim!  Very well written piece.  I have chosen not to participate in Halloween activies with my son.  Instead we buy a bag of candy, turn off the porch light, and have a family game night.

    I do want to object to your use of the word "holiday".  Halloween is not a holiday.  It is something that has been created by the greeting card companies and other retailers.  "Holiday" is derived from "Holy Day" and there is nothing holy about Halloween - as you state very well in your article.

  • Comment by  Jessica:

    Ginger, I totally understand your view of this. I grew up in a home where we did not celebrate Halloween because of our religious views. As a child even though it was explained to me why we couldn't celebrate it, it still hurt that I couldn't dress up and play with the other children I have very sad memories of Halloween instead of happy ones. Now that I'm a mom (and still a Christian) I have chosen to let my children participate in Halloween and play dress up. My mother and extended family are very upset over this. I only tell you this to let you be know that if your children grow up and make the decision to particiate please treat them with love and kindness and respect their decision.

  • Comment by  Alma Sue :

    My husband told me the other day that billions are being spent on Halloween by adults. Look what that could do to cloth and feed those in need. Our church does have a harvest party and shares the gospel with children. It is a lot of work but an opportunity to share the good news with boys and girls and the adults that bring them.

  • Comment by  Tammi:

    Great post! I totally agree! We have chosen not to participate in Halloween with our children mostly because of what the holiday stands for! I believe as a child of God I should represent my Father's values and that means that I should participate in the things that I think He would participate in and that I should abstain from the things that I think He would abstain from. I did participate in Halloween as a child, however, and honestly I don't have any great, overpowering memories from it! I don't see that there is much there so I don't think my kids are missing out on much! I don't want them eating that much candy and we find other times to dress up! We also do something fun as a family on that night so they don't feel like they're missing out! Like this article says, the holiday has gotten very dark and that is another reason we have chosen not to participate in it! I don't think my children need to be scared because that is definitely NOT from God! I'm not sure why it's shocking that it has become so dark though when it started from darkness! Something that is rooted in darkness is bound to be dark! We have also chosen to not have TV because of all the filth that's on there! I really don't think Jesus would be watching that garbage if He were on Earth right now! So, we truly do try to do things that Jesus would do and not do things that we feel He wouldn't do! We do not judge people who choose to participate in the holiday, but we do not participate in it ourselves! I think it's a good lesson for my kids on making good choices even when it might be hard! Life is full of those! Blessings!

  • Comment by  Concerned Mom:

    Halloween is a pagan holiday and always has been.  Christians are instructed in scripture to be set apart from the world, not to look like it.  If we are celebrating a pagan holiday - what does that show nonbelievers?  My family stopped celebrating Halloween (all Hollows Eve) when my oldest was 4 years old because the question was asked:  "Mommy, is Halloween about God?" My answer was, of course "No", to which my little one countered "Then,why do we celebrate it?" ... Out of the mouths of babes... That's when I knew if God is not a part of it, I should not be either.

  • Comment by  Kristy:

    Amen!  I too am tired of being told I'm too serious, or it isn't really that bad, or lighten up, let your kids have some fun.  What isfun about gory death scenes, skeletons, ghosts & witches.  Doesn't the bible tell us to stay away from that sort of thing?Galations 5:19" The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 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." I fear God, and I want to please Him, not disappoint Him, and I want to raise my precious children to fear God, please Him and live to give God all the glory.  Celebrating and embracing the world's version of halloween is not glorifying to the Lord.  I too have told my children to close their eyes, or don't go to that house.   It is very sad how much the world embraces this one day.  My children and I now pray for the people with the decorated yards and houses.  We are going to church again this halloween, participating in Trunk or Treat, it isn't about us, it is about serving others.   Our theme is "Let Your Light Shine" everything will be bright and full of light, pointing others to Jesus, the Light of the World.  Our youth pastor was even saying last week whileasking for more donations for candy, "The kids think it is about the candy, we know it is about the gospel."

  • Comment by  Cristina:

    I agree absolutely. Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, Halloween is a holy day for Satan worshippers and witches (yes, they do exist today) and it has its origins in the occult. Why do we, as Christians feel that it is OK to participate in the dark celebrations of the culture, as long as we sanitize them a bit? How does God, on this day revered by those involved in the occult, view His children parading around in cute little costumes? There is nothing redeeming about Halloween. Let us set ourselves apart from the world; it is not always easy to do that; it should be easy with Halloween. ..Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent and praiseworthy, think about such things....

  • Comment by  Laurie B:

    I told someone just a few days ago that Halloween is my least favorite holiday due to how it has changed from an innocent time of getting a bunch of candy while wearing a creative costume, to a time to celebrate the macabre and even satanic rituals such as the sacrifice of cats and other animals.  Living the in Pacific NW, we have seem some very strange and weird people who do some very odd things that seem to be pretty evil.  There are too many people who have a bent toward all things evil and Halloween seems to bring them out in droves.  It seems like all the movies that are on TV right now have to do with blood and gore and the producers of such garbage seem to think that people will enjoy watching that.  Our neighborhood now has far fewer younger kids, but we still have some who are young enough to trick or treat and we enjoy having them come to the door and to get to visit with their parents.  I think that the neighborhood or church autumn parties are a much better idea as it doesn't seem all that safe for kids to go out to strangers' homes any more anyway.

  • Comment by  Tracie:

    Whether or not you allow your children to trick or treat or not, Trick or Treat night can be a witnessing opportunity. For the past several years, our family has made up non-halloweenish looking goodie bags with a couple pieces of candy and a child's track inside.  Our kids, now 7 and 5, help to fill the bags with the treats and tracks and them we pray over the bags and for the children and their families who will recieve them.

  • Comment by  Robin:

    Amen & Amen!!

  • Comment by  John:

    We  all  think  of  Halloween  as  a  pagan  holiday,  but  it  originally  was  not  a  pagan  holiday.

    Years  ago,  I  attended  a  Halloween  party,  but  it  was  not  your  typical  Halloween  party.  It  was  called  "Take  Halloween  back  from  the  Pagans"  party.  It  was  here  where  I  learned  the  real  story  of  Halloween.

    Halloween,  just  like  many  of  our  holidays,  was  twisted  with  pagan  ideas  with,  as  with  other  pagan  ideas,  exclude  God  and  the  Bible.  The  original  idea  does  deal  with  death  but  not  in  the  way  you  see  it  potrayed  today.  Halloween,  which  contains  the  word  'hallow',  was  a  day  where  we  remembered  those  who  had  been  put  to  death  for  their  beliefs  in  Jesus  Christ.  As  you  may  notice  that  November  first  and  second  is  known  as  'All  Saints  Day'  and  'All  Souls  Day'.

    Now  you  know  the  story  of  Halloween.  Now  we  can  celebrate  it  in  the  proper  manner.  I  say  that  we  need  to  take  back  Halloween  from  the  pagans  and  celebrate  it  the  way  it  was  meant  to  be  celebrated.