Should Christians celebrate and participate in Halloween? The question is more debated and nuanced than you might know. Some welcome the holiday as a great way to spend time with family, providing their kids with a chance to dress-up as their favorite athlete, superhero, or movie character and get lots of candy in the process. Some Christians see it as a wonderful opportunity for evangelism and outreach. After all, what other time can you go knocking, door-to-door, and the residents are happy to open up to you?
Others refuse to participating claiming that Halloween is the Devil’s holiday and it promotes an unhealthy interest in witchcraft, demons, and the occult. Some churches and Christian groups replace Halloween with a “Reformation Day” celebration, as October 31 was the day of the year Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. They even dress up as their favorite figures from reformation history. Still other believers seek to compete with haunted houses by setting up Judgment Houses or Hell Houses for the purpose of presenting a realistic picture of hell to unbelievers. So, what should faithful Christians do?
The history of Halloween is also debated. Some point back to the 7th century when “All Hallow’s Eve” was a Christian observance—the night before “All Saint’s Day.” It was a time to remember Christian martyrs. Others point to earlier pagan traditions that focused on the presence of spirits, and the tradition of wearing costumes began as a way to disguise oneself from the evil spirits lurking around. Again, what should faithful Christians do?
Personally, I am convinced this is a Romans 14 issue. In other words, it’s a matter of conscience for every believer, between them and the Lord. Some will feel free to celebrate with their children, allowing them to wear light-hearted costumes, see the costumes of friends, carve pumpkins, and collect candy. Others will feel a conviction not to celebrate becuase of the reasons mentioned above. Whichever choice you make, we should all heed the words of Paul in Romans 14:5: “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind,” as well as Romans 14:23, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
The Christian family who participates must give this prayerful thought and feel convinced in their minds that they can do this to the glory of God. The same should be true of the Christian family who abstains. But let us not make our decisions flippantly without truly seeking the Lord’s will. The spiritual world is real and we must not celebrate or welcome anything that draws people to Satan and his evil work. In the end, let us not judge one another on matters of conscience. As Paul also says in Romans 14, do not pass judgment on your brother or sister in Christ, for we must all stand before the judgment seat of God.