It’s that time of year again. The time of year when most people come out of their shells just a little bit and have some fun. For children they get to dress up as their favorite superhero or TV character and run around the neighborhood collecting candy from strangers. For adults, we get to dress up ( and loosen up) and be somebody we wish were more like for few hours at least. There are parties, decorations, pumpkins, cookies, and of course lots and lots of candy. But for some this day is a day not to engage the world, but to hide from it. To turn off their lights and sink into a corner and hope the devil doesn’t get them.
Halloween is an interesting time for Christians. We really don’t know how we are supposed to relate to this holiday that has its origins in pagan fertility rituals. Some think that because of its origins, they should not participate at all. Some Christians will go on the defensive and put signs up on their front door that state they “refuse to participate in the devils holiday”. Others will open their doors to the little ghouls and goblins that come a knockin, but instead of putting a tasty treat inside their bag, they put some sort of track proclaiming the “Good News”.
If churches do decide to engage the culture with a “celebration”, they can’t seem to bring themselves to have a “Halloween” party. No, instead they have a “Harvest Festival”. And of course instead of just opening their doors and letting people come in and enjoy themselves, they have to “bible story” everything. “Make sure you wear your bible story costume! Our games are going to have salvation themes and bible story themes. If the kids win at the games, we’ll give them some candy and a track explaining the gospel message.” Christians want to make sure they are a “light in the darkness” on such a “worldly” night.
When I was a kid, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. I dressed up as vampires, goblins, ninjas, and other various characters. I ran door to door collecting all the tooth decaying fare I could get. I never thought about all of the supposed “spiritual warfare” that was going on around me. I never thought of this being the worst, most evil holiday of the year. Since I did not grow up in the church, that kind of stuff never entered my mind. However, after I became a Christian, I began to realize that this kind of thought process existed. Now for a while, I was a good fundamentalist and did the same things that the others did. But then, I began to think that this was not the best way to engage the culture on this particular evening.
I began to have a few revelations:
- The devil has been defeated and does not control any holiday….ever. He is not in control. He does not go around trick-or-treating.
- Almost all holidays have roots in paganism. Christmas and Easter are just as pagan, if not more so, as Halloween.
- Harvest, Halloween, Fall festival…its all semantics….It’s like drinking a mock cocktail at a fake speakeasy(inside joke). Or Christian swear words-we all know what you really mean so why don’t you just say it.
- Do we have to spiritualize everything? Why not just invite the community over and have some fun. Meet some people. Start some relationships. If you want to dress up as a ninja, great! It doesn’t even have to be a Christian ninja.
- All my tracks I hand out end up in the garbage first thing. So why not just give them candy and say a silent prayer for them instead. This not only gives me a chance to meet people in my neighborhood, it also keeps my house from getting toilet papered…
I like Halloween. I like to dress up. I like the pumpkins, candy and yes the skeletons and ghouls. I will not burn in hell for it. I am not opening myself up to “spiritual attack”. My Jesus has freed me from this kind of frivolous nonsense. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to get my costume on and have some fun this Halloween night.