Should Christians celebrate Halloween?

I know it’s fitting to wish you a happy Reformation Day today, but is it also appropriate to wish you a happy Halloween? That question leads into the topic of today’s blog: Is it OK for Christians to celebrate Halloween?

It’s hard to outright ignore Halloween. It’s everywhere. Stores are stocked with Halloween items. On the 10-minute drive to school, my children and I see numerous yards decorated with skeletons, spider webs, corpses, and other creepy things.

Halloween is a big money maker. I read that Americans spend $9 BILLION per year on Halloween. One fourth of all annual candy sales take place during the Halloween season.

So there’s no hiding from Halloween. But should Christians participate in it? Should Christian children be walking the neighborhoods trick or treating? Or should the Christian community rise up and boycott Halloween altogether?

Some say, yes, Christians should boycott Halloween. In arguing that Halloween should be off-limits for Christians, one Web site traces the origin of Halloween back to pagan festivals in the first century AD. The argument continues that blood, witchcraft, and horror have become the dominate themes of the day. Furthermore, Christians opposed to Halloween will cite Bible verses that condemn witchcraft and sorcery, as well as Bible verses that command Christians to separate themselves from all that is impure.

Others will say, no, Christians don’t need to boycott Halloween. One writer calls it revisionist history to claim that Halloween is rooted in a pagan festival. He writes that Halloween is rooted in Christianity. All Hallows Eve is the evening before All Saints Day (Nov. 1). This writer and others challenge Christians not to back down to the culture but instead to reclaim Halloween. Many feel it’s possible to “soften” the holiday by wearing non-scary costumes like classic superheros and princesses and establishing wholesome family customs.

But here is the argument that was most persuasive to me: Halloween is a rare occasion out of the entire year to get out of our houses and interact with our neighbors!

I was amazed the other day. For a project I’m working on, I walked my neighborhood on a beautiful day to survey any neighbors who were outside. I had to walk for a long, long time to find anyone in their front yard, and even when I did, two were actually in the garage, and one was putting up Halloween decorations (and was trying to finish quickly and return to the football game on TV).

Keep in mind, God is infinitely resourceful. What if, in His perfect wisdom, God desires to leverage Halloween to build community among people? Halloween can be a strategic time to see your neighbors face to face (or maybe mask to mask, but you get the point). Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) We understand “neighbor” to mean any human being … which includes actual neighbors in your neighborhood!

So, Ashley and I will be taking our children trick or treating. And we’ll be looking for opportunities to engage with our neighbors!

Author: Christopher Kennedy

Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, School, and Child Care in San Antonio, Texas. Husband to my beloved Ashley. Dad to the four most wonderful children in the world.

7 thoughts on “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?”

  1. Thank you for sharing your thought, Pastor Chris. I completely agree with your line of thinking. I am so glad parents walk their children to my door…which gives me a chance to say hello. I remember many years ago, we invited the youth to our house on base for a Halloween party and they safely trick-r-treated on the confines of the base. When one gets older, we look back on so many fun memories at this time of year.

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  2. Hi Pastor,

    Thank you for sharing your perception.

    I admire you more and more. Loved your perception, that’s exactly what I think. We are here to be in communion and to love each other and why not use this moment for this

    God bless

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  3. Excellent encouragement!

    < Mark T. Pulliam http://www.LazarusChurch.com http://www.grandparkwaychurchplant.com 210-643-4319

    On Thu, Oct 31, 2019, 8:22 AM Pastor Chris Kennedy wrote:

    > Christopher Kennedy posted: ” I know it’s fitting to wish you a happy > Reformation Day today, but is it also appropriate to wish you a happy > Halloween? That question leads into the topic of today’s blog: Is it OK for > Christians to celebrate Halloween? It’s hard to outright igno” >

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  4. I remember clearly my General Music Methods professor discussing the importance of Halloween in the modern age. She asked the class to cite what the two greatest fears of children were (this was in the 80’s): 1) the dark & 2) monsters. She said Halloween was the opportunity for children to dress as the monster that scares them the most, go out into the dark and LAUGH about it.

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