How do you feel about Halloween?

halloween-house

I think I learned about Halloween when we moved to Canada in 1985. We didn’t take part in Halloween initially, but once I discovered that it was a night when people willingly, happily, gave children candy, I was sold. I must have begged my parents to let me go trick-or-treating because I remember my dad being against it. I worked on my mom—she knew I was in it for the candy so she persuaded my dad to let us go and get our sweet on and that’s how my sister and I got to go trick-or-treating for the first time. Our costumes were homemade: my sister was Cinderella (back in her servant days, not when she was a princess) and I think my face was painted and I wore mismatched clothes.

The amount of candy we collected in an hour or so was staggering—we got sweets from time to time, but we had never received that many treats at one time, nor had we ever consumed so many sweets daily in the weeks that followed, even with my mom controlling how many sweets we could have each day. As a kid, I saw wearing a costume and doing other Halloween-related stuff such as carving a pumpkin and eating roasted pumpkin seeds as the price I had to pay to get free candy.

But Halloween isn’t just a holiday for kids—adults get into it too: one of my colleagues looooves Halloween—she creates elaborate and impressive costumes (as in she actually sews part or all of them) and does amazing work changing her face into everything from a zombie to Cleopatra. This colleague is the biggest Halloween fan I know, participating in several Halloween-themed events, including costume contests, but even friends who are less likely to create elaborate costumes will put a costume together or rent one to wear to give out candy to trick-or-treaters or for a costume party.

halloween-house-crypt

And not just costumes, house decorating for Halloween is common, with people transforming their front lawns into crypts or graveyards, covered in fake spiderwebs, with eerie music playing on Halloween night. Haunted house tours and other scary events spring up—I’ve attended a few and even though I know it’s fake I get scared and that can be fun if you’re in the mood for it, but the older I get the more I dislike being scared (lol maybe real life is scary enough?!).

If I had my way, Halloween would fast forward to the part where stores reduce the price of their Halloween candy by 50% or more and I’m not heckled for refusing to dress up. That sounds dramatic but people take it personally when you refuse to dress up, even when it’s a costume-optional party.

Christianity and Halloween

After our first or second Halloween, my mom regretted letting us go trick-or-treating. Aside from the over-consumption of candy she witnessed, she was convicted that as Christians, we shouldn’t be participating in Halloween, which of course was my dad’s feeling from the beginning. Over the next few years sometimes we’d go trick-or-treating and occasionally we wouldn’t, and there were usually fights about it, because we kids felt that since we didn’t believe in whatever Halloween stood for and just wanted the candy, we should be allowed to go.

This is what I initially planned to talk about because I was at a Halloween party two years ago and I was the only person who wasn’t dressed up. The hosts knew I wouldn’t be dressing up and they were ok with this (I know because I offered to not come on account of not wanting to dress up!). At the party, a friend who’s known me for a long time said he thought my belief in God was the reason I had never enjoyed dressing up for Halloween, and while that makes sense, the truer reason is my lowkey ways (I’m the girl who wears her hair in a bun 88% of the time and wears no makeup 97% of the time) are more responsible for my dislike for costumes than anything.

So, is participating in Halloween a sin? The association of Halloween with ghosts, goblins, and witches, all of which are not godly means that Halloween is not something I should take part in. In the past I used the “I just want the candy” excuse, and I don’t think attending Halloween events has affected my Christianity. But is that true? By choosing to do something that I know isn’t godly, I’m sinning and sin always distances you from God.

What’s your stance on Halloween? If you are not a fan, would you let your children go “just for the candy”?

30 thoughts on “How do you feel about Halloween?

  1. For me personally I choose not to participate. I have to be careful about the subtility (it’s about the candy, or it’s just dressing up and having fun or you can dress up as an angel or princess) of ‘celebrations’ that are not rooted or originates in anything that uplifts me or points toward the good in others or the God I serve.

    The story of the three hebrew boys allways comes to my mind when these topics come up. They could have simply bowed to the image as the King comanded but their beliefs and convictions would not allow them. To me the personal application today are the ‘images’ that can represent anything we do/celebrate today that is honoring God or the good in others. As for me and my house (we) will not bow irrespective of how subtle and harmless and fun it may seem to others.

    • Thank you for sharing your point of view, Highly Favored! I love how you used the example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to express yourself—that really brought it home for me.

  2. I am Canadian so I am accustom to celebrating Halloween….my husband is Nigerian and is very against it. We let our baby go last year because it would have been his first time but we have decided going forward, he should not participate. I think it will be easier to never let him go (he was only one so he wont remember going) and explain the reason why.

    • Hi Emily! Thanks for stopping by. My colleague that I mentioned in the blog post is also named Emily and she lives in Canada too so for a moment I thought she was the one commenting.

      Did your husband explain why he’s against it? Does Halloween clash with his beliefs? I’d love to hear more from you.

      You’re right that your son won’t remember his first Halloween.

  3. This is a tough one. I personally do not like the sound of holloween, the customees, the decorations on the street. It just does not sit right with me. Everything about it is scary and dark!

    Every year I plan to read more about it’s origin but I don’t get to it. But I don’t think it really matters because understanding the origin will not change a thing for me.. it is too dark to be a part of.

    Now that I have a kid, I worry about how I will explain my views to him when he wants to dress up like his friends or go trick or treating…

    • Good points, Cannime! When you have children and have to think about how you want to raise them or influence them, that’s when things like this probably come to mind. There is darkness associated with Halloween, even though I don’t think the average person has any evil thoughts or anything like that—most just enjoy being scared.

      With respect to explaining to your son, it won’t be easy—I remember my siblings and I had a hard time with it and we were little brats! But even though I didn’t necessarily agree with my parents when I was a kid, I understood even then that their desire for us not to participate wasn’t because they didn’t want us to have fun, but because they didn’t want us to do things that weren’t of God.

    • Hi Mane Captain!

      Your reply reflects the way I’ve always thought about Halloween: to me, God knows that I’m not into the gore and blood and stuff, but at the same time I can’t deny that Halloween has associations with things that really are not biblical. I like what you said at the end—our consciences (influenced by the Holy Spirit for born again Christians) will lead us with regard to whether something we’re doing is right or wrong.

  4. Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”).
    The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops…. It’s demonic

    • You’ve done more research than I have—thank you for your comment, Ayodele. What’s interesting is when I read the word “demonic” in your comment, I kind of recoiled, because that doesn’t seem like a word I’d use to describe Halloween as I’ve experienced it, but I know what you mean.

  5. I don’t celebrate halloween because of my Christian belief.
    All celebrations or festivals by man, has a history and reason, which got lost along the way due to poor documentation and commercialization.

    • Good point about commercialization, New Dawn: some don’t like to celebrate Christmas for the same reason, due to all the focus on Santa Claus, gifts, and decorating the house and not so much on Christ.

      • You are right Jummy. That was why I said ‘all celebrations/ festivals by man’. I don’t look forward to celebrating Christmas again when I came to understand how it came about as Sugabelly explained. ALL festivals are now COMMERCIALIZED, even Easter!

  6. I may be a bad christian but I never realized there was an issue with Halloween. My parents always dressed me up (my mom used to make my costumes). Now that I’m older I just love dressing up and watching scary movies. I give out candy to kids and I buy my own after Halloween (yay 50% off!!!). I just never thought I was doing anything wrong. Just another reason to have a get together with friends and dress in a costume that otherwise would seem strange. I also enjoy celebrating Valentine’s day with my husband but also my parents and that’s a hallmark tradition (IMO). I just love my parents so much and I love being my mom the big expensive cards because I know she never would for herself. I give out candy to kids because they get so excites and they’re so adorable in their little costumes.

    The love I have for God is in my heart and I think of him when I do anything. I won’t change my love for Halloween because I love to make little kids happy and I love to dress up. Maybe I’m wrong.

    • Hi Rachel—thanks for commenting!

      Celebrating Halloween doesn’t make someone a worse Christian than someone who does not celebrate because that person who avoids Halloween could be committing a multitude of other sins that the Halloween lover wouldn’t think of doing (I’m guilty of this!).

      At my weekly “bible-based book study” on Tuesday evening we discussed the challenge of talking about sin in a way is not condemning but is loving because that’s what Jesus did: he showed love to people first, then preached. In trying to get my point across I may seem to be judging people who have different views to me but that isn’t my intent, not when I know how flawed and messed up I am in some areas—I’m just working things out for myself.

      I love seeing creative, handmade costumes (you must have had some great ones!) and cute kids dressed up always make Halloween fun, and I trick-or-treated for most of my childhood in Canada, as well as went to haunted houses and those hayrides at Saunders Farm. But in the last couple of years I’ve been thinking about which of the things I do add to my life positively and which ones are contrary to the life I want.

      Man! You’re like the comment whisperer: it’s impossible to respond with a few lines because you get me thinking! xo

      • I honestly never even put two and two together. I love love love Halloween and it’s always been my fav holiday followed by Christmas. I think it’s really about how you celebrate it and the why. I don’t love violence and gore and stuff like that. I do like action movies but I know it’s all fake. Just like I know that the costumes aren’t real. Zombie (re-animated ones) don’t really exist. Neither do Minions. Costumes are a choice and I love seeing how creative people get. A friend of mine said that when he was a kid he dressed up as a mailbox complete with a front flap that opened up for candy! How cool is that! He had to take it off early though because he was too wide and he had trouble getting up front steps.

        I celebrate all holidays because it’s a chance for me to be with friends and family. Christmas for me is not about the gifts but about spending time with loved ones. That’s what I want to pass along to my children someday. I will encourage them to celebrate all the holidays for love of family and friends and not because Hallmark says so. Or God may not agree. I think it’s more important to have faith and love in your heart. You could totally not celebrate holidays but spend the whole rest of the year sinning away. God gave us life and the will to chose how to live it. It doesn’t come with a user manual. You do the best you can and you keep faith and goodness in your heart.

        Sincerely,
        The Comment Whisperer (I should totally change my name!)

        • Thanks for expanding more on your views, Rachel! If you don’t change your name next time I’ll do it for you! :D

  7. While I don’t really celebrate Halloween, I’m not totally against it. Yes, in my college days, we went to horror houses for fun but I don’t remember ever dressing up for any Halloween. That being said, at my church in Atlanta, they used to celebrate Hallelujah Parties so that the children wouldn’t feel left out of the costumes – but all the kids had to dress up as Biblical characters.

    • Hallelujah party…cute! That could be a good way to handle the concern that some shared about how to explain to their kids that they don’t celebrate Halloween.

  8. Personally, I don’t celebrate Halloween because of my Christian belief and hopefully my husband agrees, I wouldn’t want my children to participate either…

    I think if we lived in a culture that celebrated it very much, I would try to look for alternative forms of entertainment for our children so that they don’t feel left out. I think it’s also important to explain to them the reason for the decision so that it hopefully makes sense to them :-)

  9. I actually never thought that Halloween was anti-Christian until I met more people. I went to Catholic and Anglican schools most of my life and it was not only okay, but encouraged, especially in the lower grades. I think the first time my (Catholic) school DID NOT fully participate was when I was in Grade 5. We had a costume day, but were not given UNICEF boxes. Why? Because the UN is pro-choice and the Catholic Church is anti-abortion.

    By the way, Wikipedia (yeah, I know, not always to be trusted) says, “According to many scholars, All Hallows’ Eve is a Christianized feast initially influenced by Celtic harvest festivals, with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. Other scholars maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has solely Christian roots.” My family doesn’t come from a country that participates in Halloween (at least not until recently), but I went trick-or-treating each year until I was 11.

    • Interesting! It seems like the origin of Halloween isn’t 100% agreed-upon and how it’s celebrated has certainly changed (less about feasting nowadays—unless we count candy binges!).

  10. In this part of the world, Halloween is not celebrated so I’ve never had the opportunity to witness it. If it were, I wouldn’t participate because of my belief as a Christian and the things associated with it.

  11. But by celebrating Christmas, you are STILL participating in pagan rituals. Jesus wasn’t born in December, he was born in March. Christmas in December was fixed to coincide with the biggest pagan festival in the Roman empire at the time so they could take advantage of the festivities and not upset the pagans who had the dominant religion at the time.

    I don’t think God gives a shit about Halloween. Children are still being raped and murdered, people are still enslaved, the world is falling apart, etc

    Halloween can never be an issue. It could just as easily be some other festival for some other purpose. The things Christians are concerned about baffle me sometimes.

    • Thanks for sharing your views, Sugabelly.

      I’m rethinking Halloween because of the (current) association with witches, ghosts, etc., which to me are not of God. No one knows for certain the exact day of Jesus’ birth, and I can see how December 25 could have been chosen for reasons of convenience. Because Christmas for me is about celebrating (or commemorating?) Christ’s birth, it honours him and I happily celebrate.

      Diversity is what makes the world so interesting so there’s nothing wrong with people thinking about something that another person wouldn’t give two hoots about.

      • Except it wasn’t chosen for reasons of convenience. Whether you’re Catholic or not, thr Catholic church was the original first church before it splintered out into other denominations and the Catholic Church has clear records and documentation of this.

        Christmas in December is literally a pagan festival. I forget the name. Jesus was born in March, the Vatican agrees on this.

        In my view it’s a bit silly to be worried about Halloween then happily celebrate Christmas when it has a long intermeshed history with the biggest pagan roman festival of the year.

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