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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween: My View

It's that time of year again, where people start asking me and my kids what they are going to wear or what we are going to do for Halloween. After many years with a strong opinion of Halloween, I realized that I needed to take a stand for the things that I believe in, rooting them in truth, not just opinions. I know a lot of Christians don't share my conviction, and I don't expect them to. (Romans 14:3) I'm just sharing my view to give people something to think about, and because it is a large part of my testimony in how I became a Christian.

My parents became Christians after I was born and later learned more and more about Halloween and its origins. They felt a conviction about it, but up until that time we had been celebrating it (I do remember trick-or-treating as a child). I was 6 and my brother was 4 and my parents sat us down and talked to us about it, saying that they felt it was a day that didn't honor God, but that we could decide. Through talking with them, I said that I wanted to honor and glorify God with my life and prayed to accept Christ into my heart that day and decided not to celebrate Halloween anymore, even though it meant giving up all that candy! (Not an easy decision for a little kid!)

I've taken some flack for it through the years, and every year I reevaluate my decision and conviction. Especially since having kids, I have wondered each year if I am making the right decision for the right reasons, because now it is a matter of conscience not only for me, but for my family, and I need to be able to explain it to them. The fact remains that Halloween does have the appearance of evil. Whether it started that way or not, doesn’t matter. I don’t know how anyone can argue this, just go into any store this time of year and look at the displays. The holiday is about being scary, and that’s what draws a lot of people to it. What does the Bible say about Christians and associating with evil? 3 John 11 says “do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.” Ephesians 5:11 says “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness”, and isn’t that one of the things that some people like about Halloween, the scary, dark aspect of it?

My husband doesn't have the same strong conviction about Halloween as I do, but he doesn't want to do anything to make me stumble, and since I am firmly against it, he is fine with not celebrating it. Romans 14 speaks to this, as well as 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 says "'Everything is permissible'- but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible'- but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." Abstinence from Halloween and the practices associated with it seems to be the better choice. Ted came up with a good analogy about movies that are rated R. They are not beneficial/good for us to watch, so we choose not to watch them (exceptions are made for movies like The Passion of the Christ). It is not a sin per se, and neither is celebrating Halloween, and it is not spelled out in the Bible, but it is a conviction we have and a standard that we hold to.

We have decided not to attend any "Fall Festivals" at churches or the like because "happy costumes are welcome". In the past I had thought about attending, since it is supposed to be a Fall Festival and not a Halloween party. But for me it crosses a line with the costumes. I don't have a problem with dressing up in costumes in general, but only because it is associated with Halloween. If the Fall Festival were held in September or on any other day of the year, would there be costumes? Probably not. The reason people are dressing up in costumes is because it is a Halloween custom, and for that reason, I don't want to associate with it. If I were invited to a costume party in any other month than October, I would probably go, but I won't dress up for Halloween.

Our family has started a new tradition on Halloween, shopping for the Operation Christmas Child boxes, which I much prefer as a use of the night, as it is an activity that glorifies God in giving to others. H started asking questions when she was 3, and I tried my best to explain it to her. I basically said that I don't think celebrating Halloween makes God happy, and we want to make God happy with our lives. She and her sisters agree with that, and they understand that buying things for the Operation Christmas Child boxes does make God happy, and they really enjoy that. Let me leave you with one final verse, Philippians 4:8--"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

10 comments:

Andy and Katie said...

Jessica, you echo our thoughts completely. I like your idea of what to do on Halloween evening! What a good idea! And, fwiw....we'll be at Monkey Joes Halloween night, if you care to have your girls play with some other non trick or treaters!

Sara said...

I admire your convictions and your ability to explain them so gracefully. I came across this interesting blog article about Halloween and some Christian's opposition to it and have been sharing it with people here in Utah who are on the fence about whether to celebrate as a Christian (since they have just come out of Mormonism). I thought you might find it interesting, too.
http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/imonk-101-my-annual-halloween-rant-one-of-them-revisited
Have a great day!

Kim said...

I understand completely where you are coming from. My husband and I walk a very fine line with Halloween. We let the kids dress up in costumes, animals or professions (like firefighter or cowboy). We do not allow ghosts, vampires, witches or anything along those lines in our house, especially around Halloween. We do not go trick or treating. Our church has a Halloween alternative costume party. I will be the first to admit that as Christians we are walking a fine line and probably cross it, but with our church doing the costume party, we decided that dressing up is fine. Yes, the church is walking a fine line too, but it is a community outreach event that gets children off the streets and in a church and maybe they will come back. I admire your courage and conviction to do what your doing (or not doing).

mva.gehrke said...

May God Bless You for sharing this! To him be the glory! I think my family will be joining you in the filling of the Operation Christmas Child boxes. I've got them 1/2 full now (since Back to School sales), but what a great activity to substitute with.

I think I will be printing out your post. You've put what I have felt into beautiful words. Thank you!

Jessica-MomForHim said...

I was directed to an article by an evangelical campus minister which basically shamed other evangelicals for not celebrating Halloween, calling those of us who don't celebrate paranoid and gullible. Here is part of my response:

I haven’t celebrated Halloween since I was 6 years old. It was my choice to give it up, as I decided it didn’t glorify God as a use of my time. I don’t think you are a Satanist if you decide to participate in Halloween, and I don’t expect other Christians to agree with me (Romans 14:3), but I’d appreciate it if you would be respectful and not shame me for my convictions.

The fact remains that Halloween does have the appearance of evil. Whether it started that way or not, doesn’t matter. I don’t know how anyone can argue this, just go into any store this time of year and look at the displays. The holiday is about being scary, and that’s what draws a lot of people to it. What does the Bible say about Christians and associating with evil? 3 John 11 says “do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.” Ephesians 5:11 says “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness”, and isn’t that one of the things that some people like about Halloween, the scary, dark aspect of it?

greeneyedmom said...

Good for you, sticking with what you believe in! Growing up there was a church in our town that actually had a haunted house right on the church grounds. Soooo wrong! It always surprises me the people who seem the most religious and really get into Halloween

Sara said...

Jessica,
I just wanted to say I hope you didn't feel that I personally disrespected you or your convictions (when you wrote "I don’t expect other Christians to agree with me (Romans 14:3), but I’d appreciate it if you would be respectful and not shame me for my convictions." above). I thought my comment made that clear in the beginning. I just thought that blogger's perspective was interesting, that's all. I'm very sorry if it offended you. -Sara

Jessica-MomForHim said...

Sara-
I looked for an email to be able to email you about this, but couldn't find one. No, I wasn't offended by you or your comments at all.

I felt that the other blogger was shaming those of us who have a different conviction than he does--here is a quote: "Shame on those of us–evangelicals–who allowed Halloween to be taken away from families" and he mentioned "evangelical paranoia and gullibility". That was what I was objecting to, not your comment. I don't appreciate being called paranoid and gullible because of a strong conviction I have held for the last 25+ years, that I feel I have backed up with Scripture.

Again, I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but I hope that others, especially other Christians, can be respectful and not shame those of us who choose not to participate in Halloween.

Jennifer Searl said...

Jessica - Thank you for this article. I am currently in the stage where your parents were so many years ago. Craig and I came to Christ after the first two of our children were born, so we are oftentimes learning along with our children. The topic of Halloween and what to do about it also challenges me each and every year. I am so blessed by this article and the Scripture you use to back up your points. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica~

I followed your link from VHS! This is such a wonderful post. You did a really nice job writing it!

My husband and I both feel very strongly against celebrating Halloween. The holiday is full of evil, witchcraft and the occult. Like you said- just go into the stores- and all the decorations are scary and evil. It is definitely not something I believe Christians should be celebrating. I especially agree with you and had just been talking to my husband about not liking churches having Halloween alternatives- they are celebrating Halloween still. We don't participate in them either. I love your idea for something to do instead- making shoe boxes for Operation Christmas child! We got all our things purchased already, but maybe tonight we will put our boxes together!

God Bless,
Amy

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