Who’s Afraid of Halloween?

As I sit here in my office it’s the afternoon of October 31, Halloween. Halloween has become quite a holiday. I read recently that “One quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.” I’ve also noticed that Halloween decorations are becoming more numerous and elaborate. In fact, I’ve heard a radio news report declare that only Christmas surpasses Halloween in consumer dollars spent. Suffice to say that Halloween has become a major industry here in the US.

For Christians, Halloween presents a conundrum. The holiday’s focus is on ghosts, goblins, devils and fear. TV producers bring out all their macabre movies. Some of the kids going door to door dress up like zombies, vampires and the like. Pumpkins are carved with eerie faces. Store windows are littered with ghoulish decals. The theme seems to be “Let’s see how we can scare people.” Yet the Bible quotes God – over 300 times – saying “Fear not!” So often we Christians turn off the lights and hide ourselves away, not wanting to participate in the whole creepy thing!

On the other hand, the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” [I Corinthians 9:22] How can we affect the people around us if we hide away from them till the holiday is over?

Halloween has an interesting back story. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as a time to honor all saints. It became “All Saints Day” and soon began to incorporate some of the same traditions. The evening before November 1st was known as “All Hallows Eve,” and later Halloween. Over time activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns were added and then accepted as the norm.

So we have quite a mixture here of saints and ghosts, fellowship and fear. It’s comforting to think about this being harvest time with colorful leaves and a chill in the air. Yet Halloween carries scary movies, blood gorged vampires, houses tented in toilet paper, etc. etc. We want to take a stand against fear, yet we want to be light and salt to a world around us that need a relationship with their Savior. What will we do? How shall we conduct ourselves?

I guess this comes down to the place where most controversial matters must come – we’ll each have to follow our own heart. The Bible dictates that we pursue peace and let it be our umpire. What’s your heart telling you?


 The trends and fads of the day seem to catch my attention more as I age. Have you noticed the interest in zombies, vampires, Dracula and the like lately? Pretty scary! [Pun intended] And, of course, people are more enthralled at this time of the year than any other.

I was watching the TV Guide channel, just to see what was on, and got a large dose of the macabre in the process. It seems they’re playing horror movies at the top of the screen while the channel fodder is scrolling along at the bottom. I don’t know about you but I have no interest in viewing “Children of the Corn” or any other horror flick.

I also noted that new shows about to be aired are following along this same theme. Oh well, I needed to cut back on my TV viewing anyway.

Well, today is Halloween. That’s good news in a way, because by tomorrow we won’t be inundated with TV shows and movies attempting to scare the living daylights out of people. But we still must deal with today. As my wife and I picked up our morning hot beverages at the drive-thru window this morning, the costumed attendant greeted us with, “Happy Halloween!” How does a follower of Christ respond to that? We just rudely drove away, saying nothing.

I took a stroll online and saw a quote that 6.9 billion dollars is projected to be spent on Halloween 2013! (that’s billion – with a “b”) I believe I read somewhere also that Halloween is now second only to Christmas in money spent. If all this isn’t a sign of the times, I don’t know what is. As the apostle Paul told Timothy, the last days will be perilous times!

People without Christ are going to do what they’re going to do. I think it would be a mistake to attempt to indoctrinate a non-Christian in the problems that grow out of being preoccupied with devilish enticements. It just wouldn’t make sense to them. But followers of Christ should be a different story.

I found this quote on line pertaining to Halloween:

Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

Is Halloween merely an innocent time of fun, candy, costumes and parties? I wonder! On one side, it’s unwise to spend too much time and energy spouting on about what we, as Christians, are against. On the other side, the old saying goes, “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything!”

I’m just kind of thinking out loud here, but things come to mind like our instruction to come out from among them and be separate; friendship with the world is enmity with God; light and darkness can’t coexist together; etc, etc. Jesus taught His bunch that they were to be in the world but not of it.

Another thing that comes to mind is the effect that celebrating Halloween might have on our children. So much of this holiday is aimed at kids and based in fright and fear. The Bible repeats the phrase “fear not” more than 300 times! The only fear we’re supposed to display is a reverential fear of God. I believe it is a truism that the devil uses fear for two purposes: to torment us and to prevent us from doing God’s will.

Anyway, I guess my point here is merely to get Christians thinking. I’ve learned that one of the most powerfully influential catalysts for growth in Christ is taking scripture and contemplating what it means to me. So, don’t take my word for it. Get your Bible out and see for yourselves. The Word of God, rightly divided, will never steer you wrong!