Should Christians Celebrate Halloween

ID-10053912Halloween is upon us once more and parents have to decide if they will allow their kids to join in on the holiday. My own view on Halloween has evolved over the years.

I Used to Think

In our early years as parents, we didn’t participate in Halloween. We had been taught about the Celtic and Wiccan origins, and we wanted no part of something that clearly wasn’t honoring to our faith. We would turn out all the lights in the front part of the house, especially the porch light, put on a movie and ignore the doorbell.

We also saw it as an opportunity to show our young daughter that being a Christian made you different. It caused you to value different things. Sometimes it meant making sacrifices. It was a good idea, but looking back, I think some of those life lessons might have been lost on my six-year-old.

But I also have to confess that underneath the veneer of obedience was a very real spirit of pride. We were going to puff out our chest and prove we were super duper Christians. We didn’t even stoop to going to “Fall Festivals”. We would shake our head and wonder about those heathen ‘nominal’ Christians who participated in Halloween. We were simply better people.

The Turning Point

One year, we came home on Halloween night from running an errand. My daughter was around six or seven years old. We planned to run in the house and quickly start dousing the lights. My daughter looked out the car window and saw all these kids in costumes walking up and down our street. I don’t remember our street ever being so busy on a Halloween. She asked about participating in Halloween.

My wife and I had suffered our second miscarriage days earlier. We were tense, and hurting. I snapped at my daughter. WE don’t participate in halloween. I wasn’t angry at her. I was hurting and lashed out. It was stupid.

She slunk back in her seat, and then she uttered a simple sentence that shot us right through the heart.

“Gee, it sure looks like fun.”

We realized in that moment that my daughter didn’t have the first clue about Celts or Wiccans or any of the other origins of the holiday. All she could see was candy and costumes and kids her age having fun. That’s all it was to her.

I apologized for snapping at her and we told her that she could throw on some of her dress up clothes and go across the street to our neighbors.

We didn’t have much candy in the house except for a stash of suckers that we had collected from a series of birthday parties. That night we gave out every one of them.

The next year she dressed up as Belle and we went to a local mall where they were passing out candy. We’ve celebrated every year since. A couple of years later, our church started its own Fall Festival and we helped out every year until my son was born. The past couple of years we carved pumpkins. My daughter draws a design and my wife and I cut it out.

I’m still not a fan of Halloween. I don’t like how every show on TV has to put something spooky or scary on. I’ve never been a huge fan of horror movies, vampires, or zombies. I look forward to October being over and those guys going away (mostly) for another year.

But we always celebrate because gee, it sure looks like fun.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/