Trick or Treat? (reposted from two years ago)

We opt out.  Eight reasons:

  1. Few celebrations of Hallowe’en really involve witchcraft, but many treat it as a joke, something to be imitated in fun, rather than a serious evil.
  2. Many celebrations place an unhealthy emphasis on death and evil.
  3. Often there is a horribly skewed perception of life after death, which is also treated as a joke, a costume to wear, rather than a vital reality which must be considered.
  4. Sending children around to beg sweets can lead to wrong attitudes about sweets (and about neighbours).  I never wanted to encourage that in my kids, or other kids.
  5. It has become dangerous as people have done malicious things to children.
  6. The “trick” threat of vandalism too often becomes reality.
  7. There are many other evil things in the ways people have taken to celebrating it with which I don’t want to be identified.
  8. We don’t need it.  We can do fun things together as a family instead.

Note:  I did not include pagan origins on the list.  The dangers of ancient paganism are minor compared to every day dangers of current pagan atheism, materialism, and hedonism.  Many reject Hallowe’en over pagan origins but welcome modern pagan influences in thinking and entertainment.  Focusing on ancient pagan origins of various things is often a trick of the adversary to distract from the real dangers around us.

Though I don’t see any Scripture directly forbidding Hallowe’en, you could easily drift into celebrating it in ways that violate Scripture, without even really trying to do so.  But rather than ask if Scripture forbids it, we might ask what is the value, compared to the problems?

A year ago, some readers may remember, I linked to an article that says women are able to “time births” and that fewer children are born on Hallowe’en — out of 1.8 million births, there were 11.8% fewer on 31 October.  The final two paragraphs:

She added that mothers perhaps subconsciously wanted to avoid Halloween because of its associations with death and evil.

Levy said: “It evokes fear on some level.”

That isn’t a kill-joy, hyper-strict moralist, it is a Yale University researcher, telling us that Hallowe’en has associations with death and evil.  She is right.  Expectant mothers may subconsciously avoid it, but our family will consciously do so.

(Originally posted 31 October 2012)

Added this year:  our church takes no position on Hallowe’en.  I do not teach that Christians must avoid this.  This is the decision I have taken for our family.  I do not believe it is necessarily wrong (as long as a person avoids the sinful ways so many people celebrate it), but I do believe it is unwise for the reasons given.  Since I have no obligation or commitment requiring me to take part, I choose to opt out.  It is what I would recommend to others, for reasons of wisdom rather than because the Scriptures command it.

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
This entry was posted in The Christian and Culture and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Trick or Treat? (reposted from two years ago)

  1. Deborah Lynn Pittman says:

    I’m with you, and enjoyed reading this summary of your reasoning. Thank you for putting it in print to be shared.
    God bless you and your family.

  2. RebeccaNH says:

    My mother in law is a practicing Wiccan. She’s as excited to see kids trick or treating on Samhain, her high holy day, as we would be to see a family visit our church for Easter Sunday. She teasingly refers to October 31 as “non – judgement day”. We’ve always considered Halloween a baited hook and refused to participate as well. Thank you for this thoughtful post and the addendum.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Thank you, Rebecca. Obviously, our God is greater than anything she serves, so her idolatry has no power over believers, but I see no reason to “give aid and comfort to the enemy,” as they say.

  3. David says:

    It should be noted that for Christians, Oct 31st has a special meaning. In 1517 Martin Luther picked up pen and paper, then hammer and nail and by his pounding 95 complaints against the Roman Catholic Church sparked the Reformation. That should be what we celebrate: God’s faithfulness to His remnant in providing Truth and men of the Word, of courage and of action.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, David. Yes, I thought of mentioning that. If someone chooses to set aside that date to remember what God did that day, that is completely consistent with Scripture. We don’t have to endorse everything Luther did and believed to be thankful for how God used him. More and more believers, I think, are choosing that approach.

      • David says:

        I completely agree. Few of the reformers had it 100% correct (and that should give us a little sense of humility when we deal with non-core-faith issues.)
        Our church, in fact, uses the time each year to highlight the important work of many reformers. This past month we highlighted the work of Wycliffe. It is always a time that can be used to speak up and say “this is what I believe and this is what we’re celebrating.”

      • Jon Gleason says:

        I spent a considerable part of yesterday’s message on being grateful for those who have gone before us and whom God has used to pass the Scriptures and our faith down to us. Passages I looked at included the last 9 verses of Hebrews 11 and the first part of II Timothy.

        It’s not a major emphasis of Scripture, but it is certainly there.

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