Halloween and Christianity

As a young child, I attended a Lutheran church where we would have a Halloween festival at the church and I remember my mom dressing up as a witch and dad as a vampire! I then attended a Catholic school from 4-7th grade and we would be allowed to wear costumes on Halloween and celebrate All Saints Day the day after. So I never considered Halloween to be “evil” or bad in the church.

While my exposure to different religions may have messed with my theology growing up, as I’ve matured in my faith and knowledge of the Bible, I’ve changed my stance on Halloween. I think Halloween and the pressures to celebrate or not to celebrate is more about the feeling of being accepted by others and less about what’s fun.

I’ve learned that Christians can have fun without doing things that the world finds “fun”. One thing I have stopped doing over the past year is drinking alcohol. I used to drink occasionally in order to relax my body, because I struggle with anxiety. But when my husband and I came down with a moderate case of Covid, I read that alcohol suppresses the immune system. I hadn’t had any alcohol about 3 months prior to getting sick, but after having Covid, I definitely lost all desire to drink alcohol.

And I’ve felt fine since making the decision not to drink alcohol. I’ve found healthier ways to cope with my anxiety, like listening to worship music, exercising, getting enough sleep, having more alone time, reading the Bible, etc.

Now back to the topic of Halloween, I asked myself the questions why we celebrate Halloween in the first place, and does is Glorify God? In answering the first question, people have different reasons for celebrating: fun to dress up self or kids in costumes, excitement or getting free candy, feeling accepted by peers, adrenaline from seeing scary movies/haunted houses. And one reason some Christians give as to why they celebrate Halloween is to say it’s a way to connect/reach non-Christians.

So then I think of Jesus and how he connected with non-believers. First and foremost he talked to them. Did he ever partake in what non-believers were doing in order to talk to them? He did eat with nonbelievers. But Jews were often caught up in traditions that didn’t exactly go against God or glorify Him either, they were neutral “laws”. I doubt Jesus ever went to pagan ceremonies and partake in worshipping their gods.

Now the Bible does say (see 1 Corinthians 8:13) if you do something that could cause another believer to fall to sin, (like drink alcohol in front of an alcoholic) then you probably shouldn’t do that. So then why would we as Christians partake in non-Biblical events that would cause the non-believer to sin? It doesn’t make sense to me.

I don’t believe in being a tyrant and be one of those people who just avoids Halloween altogether (like turning off your light to trick or treaters, or avoiding people on Halloween) calling all people who celebrate Halloween “evil” or saying “you’re going to hell”. That’s not how you have a relationship with someone. But we can try and connect with people without partaking in what they are doing.

I think the best example of how Jesus connected with a non-believer is the story of the Samaritan woman.

“Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!” Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?””
‭‭John‬ ‭4:7-29‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In this story, Jesus first connected with the woman, He was kind to her, didn’t automatically bash her for her sin. He did kindly confront it though when she told it to Him, then he offered her the gift of new life. He convinced her that salvation was better than continuing in sin. But not once did Jesus have to partake in her sin. He didn’t try to get in sexual relationship with her. He didn’t have to drink alcohol with her. He just was kind to her and she listened, went away from sin and accepted the gift of salvation.

So to go back to the 2 questions I asked earlier, in answering the second question of Halloween glorifies God, I feel that no, it doesn’t. It actually is an alternative (idol) to God. While we may not be directly worshipping satan, we are seeking things other than God to give us pleasure or to feel loved and accepted by others.

So when I think about the things I do in my life, I often consider the reason why I’m doing them (is it to fulfill some sort of desire or need that I could get from God) and also if the thing I am doing glorifies God.

I didn’t come to these perspectives over night. It’s been years of growing in my faith to come to these realizations. And I feel I’m not always seeking God in all areas of my life.

I have to submit to God daily, seek Him when I am feeling tempted to do other things and pray and ask for forgiveness when I do fail. I know that God is the giver of life. I’ll feel defeated and drained if I’m constantly seeking worldly things (money, entertainment, approval, food, success, sex) instead of seeking God. The things of the world will only disappoint.

God is our creator and therefore He knows how to fulfill us.

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