Tomorrow night my children will hit our cul-de-sac, knocking on neighbor’s doors, and looking for candy. One will be dressed as a lady bug, and the other will probably be crying because she is not matching her sister.
I recognize that the issue of Halloween and the celebration thereof is a gray area. Because it was not a holiday celebrated in the first century, the Bible does not expressly say one way or the other if children in Christian families should be free to frolic dressed as Pterygota.
Yet the Bible does give us some principles that do apply. The first is that you should not violate your conscience. So if participation in these kind of festivities causes you to associate door knockers with worldly delights sprinkled with the demonic, then I’d stop reading right about now.
The Bible also tells us a few other principles that apply. Namely that dates are not sacred, and that a particular day cannot reasonably be associated with either demonic practices or godly practices (Col 2:16; Rom 14:5). We are bound to days only insomuch as our conscience binds us, and we should strive to bring our consciences into conformity with Scripture.
But I also understand that the whole issue of days and holidays in the NT are in the context of when to worship, and not when to beg for candy. So let me explain below why I choose to participate in my family’s quest for Reese’s:
1) While Halloween obviously started as a Catholic holiday, it has (at least in the US) lost that connection. Much like Christmas, there was certainly a time in history when Protestants would be loath to do anything that would associate themselves with these days. Yet now nobody I know associates going door-to-door with a Catholic celebration. If I lived in Spain or México, I probably would not do anything that could be conceived of as participating in this day. But the practice in the States—at least to me—seems sufficiently separated from a religion of works.
2) I also do not see anything cultic or occultic about October 31. When my neighbors knock on my door (or I on theirs), none of us are reading into the exchange some sort of demonic undertones. If something is demonic on October 31, it is demonic every other day of the year as well. And if something is cute on one day—such as my daughters with wings—that too in my mind is kosher in October.
3) Relationships with my neighbors are strengthened through this day. All of my neighbor’s kids participate, and all the parents hang out in the cold together. We talk, and our friendships are strengthened. I cannot help but conclude that evangelistic purposes are furthered by participation, more than they would be if I simply holed up and abstained–even if I explained why I was abstaining.
4) I want my children to love and remember October 31 as Reformation Day. I want them to know why we celebrate this day. It is because Luther rescued the gospel from the clutches of darkness, liberating the Scriptures from their Roman captivity. This day is arguably the most significant non-biblical holiday of the year. It is a chance to celebrate boldness, freedom in Christ, and talk about the glories of the gospel. I want my family to love this day, and banning them from candy and costume would not help that plan.
What about you? Does your family horde Snickers, or shut off the lights? Why?