I was out washing my car the other day when a neighbour from a few doors down came over with one of her children and asked if we celebrate Halloween and would like to bring our kids over for chocolates on October the 31st. I reflex-responded with, “No we don’t like Halloween because we are Christians and it has some very evil origins”. This took my neighbour by surprise and she was clearly shocked by my response. I gulped and tried to word my next comments with a little more tact and evangelistic empathy, “Thanks, we would love to come over any other time, for any other occasion, it is just one event that as Christians we are opposed to”. So we agreed to catch up another time for chocolate and my wife came out and had a very friendly, warm hearted chat with her. I went back to washing my car feeling like a nasty, fun-spoiling Christian.
Halloween and Australia
Compared to the United States, Halloween has never really been a big event in Australia. I notice every year though, that it seems to be gaining momentum as more and more parents encourage their children to have some “harmless fun” dressing up and getting some free treats from their neighbors. Is it really just harmless fun or something more dangerous? Some argue that it is no more evil than Christmas (See John Dickson’s Halloween article here) and others slam it as outright pagan wickedness.
But My Costume Isn’t Evil!
Costumes vary (depending more on the influence of the parents than the children) but the basic guideline seems to be “wear something scarey”! Many Christians are allowing their children to Trick or Treat, so long as their costume isn’t specifically demonic. Granted, dressing up as “Buzz Light Year” is harmless fun and from a Christian perspective, far more favourable than a satanic witch or a demon with a pitch fork, but the evil does not lay in the super-hero’s attire. It really doesn’t matter if they are dressed as a ghostly ghoul or a fairy. The most obvious problem that Christians should have with Halloween is it’s pagan origins. You can research it on Wikipedia, but the origins come from the pagan festival Samhain where it was believed that evil spirits were sent out to attack people. Many would then wear evil looking disguises themselves so that they could be hidden from or scare away the evil spirits.
Make the Most of Halloween
It always catches me unprepared. I am well aware of the event days before hand as there are witches masks and ghosts and goblin costumes hanging in every discount shop for weeks prior. But I always leave it till the last minute and start panicking. I ask my wife, have we got any lollies anywhere in the house? Quick, lets go to the shop! I always have some Gospel tracts lying around and in my back pocket, but they are usually just my favorite tracts and not specifically designed for children. I must get some special Halloween tracts for next year! Halloween is a time when strangers come knocking at your door ready to take a bag of anything you hand them. I really dislike Halloween for all of it’s demonic origins but I can’t expect non-Christians to act like Christians. They need to hear the good news of the Gospel and if it takes an event like Halloween for them to get an opportunity to get a Gospel tract then I am fine with that. I’ll give them some candy but they will get a Gospel tract in the bag too!