When we were kids, we’d dress up every Halloween and go door to door in our neighbourhood, collecting more popcorn, candy apples, cans of pop and miniature chocolate bars than we would see all year. And we had so much fun!
We would plan our costumes for weeks beforehand, strategize about our trick-or-treating route for the most efficient way to collect the most candy, and then bask in the sweet glow of a sugar high for a full week following. We made some wonderful memories, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
But these days, our own children don’t go out trick-or-treating. Here’s why:
Halloween is a celebration of death, violence and the occult.
As sugar-coated as it is, Halloween is all about celebrating everything that God is not. And that, by definition, dishonours God.
Halloween decorations are downright gory.
Gory Halloween decorations, creepy music, and blood curdling screams permeate the darkness when the kids are going door to door in our neighbourhood. I would never want my children to become desensitized to the pain and hurt that violence causes. Why should Halloween be a time to enjoy severed limbs and mutilated bodies? Outrage over a dead dog Halloween prop forced Walmart and Sears to pull the item from their shelves. Why isn’t there any outrage over bloody human body part decorations?
As well, many children (and adults too!) have undergone trauma as a result of abuse, domestic violence and war-related violence in their home country. The scary sights and sounds of Halloween can be especially harmful for children like these.
As Christians, we need to be the light, not take part in darkness.
In Matthew 5:14, Jesus talks about how you would never light a lamp and then cover it up. It would be pointless. So it is with God’s love. He’s given it to us, and we need to shine that light to everyone we come in contact with. Shrouding it in the celebration of evil will hide that light.
So here’s what we do instead:
We turn on our porch light and hand out treats.
Like 1 Peter 3:15 says, we do our best to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have in Christ. And when people are literally knocking on our door asking for a handout, we need to be giving them that reason.
So we give out treats along with the most interesting tracts I can find. We’ve used Million Dollar Bill tracts for a few years, and the kids really like the novelty of them.
We have a special party for our own kids.
Ever since our boys were little, we’ve had an annual sleepover with another family on or around Halloween night. The sleepover usually involves a scavenger hunt, party games and a movie or two. And of course, lots of pizza and candy.
Other families may attend Harvest Parties, have friends over, or make it a Family Night with board games and popcorn. There are lots of alternatives (and plenty of ideas on Pinterest!) for making it a fun time for your kids.
We explain why we do what we do to our kids.
They need to know why we don’t allow them to go door-to-door for candy. This is where we’ve made our stand as Christ-followers. We may be different, and people may ask why our kids don’t go door-to-door, and that’s a good thing! We want to have those conversations with others, and we want our children to be able to articulate our reasoning as well.
Many Christian families choose to share God’s love by going trick-or-treating with their kids and by building relationships with the other moms and dads standing out on the sidewalk. I think it’s great when Christian parents are intentional in using the opportunities that Halloween provides to shine the light and the love of Christ.
There are as many different approaches to Halloween as there are Christians. What works for me may not work for you, and more importantly, you may be led to do things in a completely different way. As Christians, each one of us needs to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in matters like this.