To Halloween or Not to Halloween?
That is the question.
Around this time every year, this great debate arises between believers.
Some see it is a harmless fall holiday that celebrates imagination, community, and the fun in being scared.
Others see it as demonic, a holiday that celebrates Satan and death.
Still there are others who feel Halloween can be celebrated with balance; enjoy the season, but leave out the darkness.
No matter which side of the fence you fall, there may come a time when God calls, or convicts, you to celebrate this controversial day in a way different than you had in the past. And as believers, we should heed His call, as nothing should be so sacred to us that we would not give it up if asked of us.
That was our family several years ago.
We love Christmas and the whole Christmas season, and we begin to count down the days to Christmas starting the day AFTER Christmas. With the transition to fall we start listening to choral Christmas music and start filling our home with lots and lots of light. And after several years of kind of celebrating Halloween (trick or treating only at the homes of family and friends, and attending fall festivals at churches), it just didn’t sit right with us anymore to go from celebrating the darkness of Halloween to celebrating the holiday of lights.
For the first three years, we ventured out as a family to places that are normally busy but were less crowded the night of Halloween as everyone else was out trick or treating. However, after years of not celebrating Halloween at all, God put on our hearts to use this day to bring His Light and Love to what can otherwise be a very dark day. We have since reclaimed this day for God, celebrating Christ’s Light, while spreading His message of Love, Redemption, and Grace.
There’s a song I’m sure most of us know and probably sang as a child that came to mind yesterday as I was preparing to write this. It is a simple song, but speaks so powerfully to our purpose as believers….
“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”
In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus says that we are His light to the world. And He commands us to not hide our light, but to let it shine before others in such a bright way that they will see our good deeds and how set apart we are from the world, and then they will in turn recognize the Father and glorify Him.
No matter which way we celebrate Halloween, Jesus is calling all of us, as believers, to live in such a way that reflects His Light and Love, and glorifies His Father and His goodness and greatness. I highly recommend praying and asking the Father what that looks like your family. He will be faithful to show you.
If you are being called to NOT celebrate Halloween but are looking for ways to bring God’s Light to this dark day, here are several fun alternatives to celebrating Halloween, while still being a Light to the world.
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT: SNOW’S ALTERNATIVES TO CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN
CELEBRATE GOD’S FEASTS. In Leviticus 23, God speaks to the nation of Israel about appointed times each year that they were to celebrate His goodness, greatness, and provision. I always thought these were Jewish feasts. I was surprised to read one day that God calls these feasts HIS appointed times, and even mentions later on in the chapter foreigners, or gentiles, within the nation celebrating right along side the Israelites. So about a year ago, our family began studying the feasts. We began to research them with a deeper fervor to understand their significance to us today. And what we started to unravel is that they all point to Christ and His ministry then, now, and in the future. And so the feasts have become a pivotal celebration throughout the year for us; a refocusing on God and His plan for humanity. In the fall, there are three appointed times of God, each with its own purpose and testimony-Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles. Our family has enjoyed learning the history of these feast- why God appointed them, how the Jews celebrate them, and how they are relevant to believers today. They have enriched our walk with Christ and have brought us into a deeper relationship with God. The fall feasts don’t technically fall on Halloween, but are celebrated in the weeks leading up to Halloween. For more information on the what and why of God’s biblical feasts, I recommend Richard Booker’s Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts and Celebrating the Biblical Feasts by Martha Zimmerman.
GO CAMPING. Grab the tent, stuff your car with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars and head out into nature to celebrate God’s beautiful creation. Fall is the perfect time to camp. Not too hot, not too cold. And a crisp autumn night is the best night to sit by a fire and count the stars. Camping is a great way to connect with God through His handiwork. Take your family hiking or boating or on a nature scavenger hunt. And if you can’t leave civilization, camp in your backyard. Bring nature to you!
TAKE, RAKE, AND CUPCAKE PARTY. For this activity, we prepare a meal for an elderly neighbor or friend then we take the meal to their home. Once there, we rake their yard for them. Don’t forget to have a little fun with this! Have a leaf fight, jump in a pile of leaves, or have a contest to see who can build their pile the highest. Afterwards, we pack up the kids and head to a local cupcake shop for a special cupcake treat. If you don’t have a local cupcake shop in your town, take the party home to your own cupcake bar, complete with lots of icing and candy choices.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS! There is lots of evidence that Jesus was actually born in the fall months, sometime in mid-September to mid-October, and probably during the Feast of Tabernacles. So, this may sound strange, as we celebrate His birth in December, but invite family and friends over for a birthday party! Apples, pumpkins, chili create the theme for the night. Bob for apples, have a chili cook-off, decorate pumpkins with verses, have a bonfire with worship music, then end the night with a moonlight movie. I recommend The Nativity Story. It is a beautifully made movie about the months leading up to the birth of Christ. Our whole family loves it.
REVERSE TRICK OR TREATING. Spend the couple of days before October 31 baking lots of yummy goodies and treats. Package them in cute fall baggies and tubs then spend the evening delivering them to family and friends, or taking them to a nursing home. You can even attach notes with your favorite verses and Truths. End the evening with surprise goodies for the family at home or ice cream shop.
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT. This is our favorite activity out of them all. If you really want to be a light on this day, this is the way to go. We spend the afternoon decorating the front of our home with lots and lots of white lights. The kids then write verses about Christ’s perfect Love all over the sidewalk and driveway leading up to our home. As evening approaches we build a small fire, put on some worship music, then say a prayer of safety over all who will be coming down our street and to our home. We turn on every light in our home. As trick or treaters stop by, we hand out bracelets and bookmarks and other trinkets we bought at Mardel that speak of God’s Love and Light and then tell them Jesus loves you as they walk away. This is a fabulous way to not only get to know your neighbors but it is a fantastic way to be a literal light for Christ. Our kids have asked to do this every year since we first started. And it is the perfect way to kick off the holiday of Lights that is just right around the corner!
There is no denying the demonic roots of Halloween or the darkness that tries to overtake this day. But the Bible says that Christ came to reconcile and redeem ALL things, ALL of God’s creation. That includes days and seasons too. We don’t need to fear a day. We don’t need to hide on Halloween. We can bring His Light to what the enemy has tried to hijack. Light drives out darkness and love conquers all fear.
“In Him was Life and the Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand or overpower it.”