Christians and Halloween

Christian Halloween?

Evil Vs. Beautiful

A few years ago, I wrote an article on Beauty. My main point was that God is the author of all true Beauty, God defines true Beauty, and God's church is in the business of furthering all things Beautiful. In addition to many Bible verses that associate God with Beauty, I also realized that there are plenty of examples where Evil (the opposite of God) is something that we associate with Ugliness (the opposite of Beauty).

You won't have to search far for evidences of this. Cinderella's Wicked Stepmother is just as frequently known as the "Ugly Stepmother." A child's rebellious spirit is often called an "ugly attitude." In any fairy tale, the ugly hag is the "bad guy" of the story. When there is an "angel of light" who suddenly reveals herself to actually be an evil witch, we call that "deception" without blinking an eye. This is because we expect Evil to be ugly, and Goodness to be beautiful.

Christian Culture Should Be Beautiful

Beautiful.
Beautiful. | Source

Holiday, Holyday

As Christians, we are called to further the kingdom of Beauty. We are to ask, with Moses, that the beauty of the Lord be upon us, and that He establish the work of our hands. Our hands are occupied with crafting beauty, whether it is cleaning our homes, constructing our buildings, decorating our mantelpieces, coding our websites, writing our books, or picking up trash on the side of the road. And we realize also that the message of our lives is to be one of perfect optimism, perfect beauty. How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news.

With every other American holiday, we Christians brim to the top with joyful, beautiful celebration. The rhyme and rhythm of Christmas resonates with our inner being. The glowing lilies and royal purples of Easter clothe us with vicarious majesty. The warm-hearted sanctum of the Thanksgiving turkey sets our joy to bubbling. These holidays mean something to us.

But when we Christians come to Halloween, the purpose behind it all runs dry. We're supposed to delight in that icy chill running up our spine when we bump into a dangling corpse on our evening run. We're supposed to enjoy wrapping our finely-swept porch in cobwebs. We're supposed to admire ourselves in our mirrors after we put in our greenish-brownish fangs.

We're supposed to delight in ugliness.

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Halloween: the Ugly Holiday

Does it even make sense? Do we realize we aren't being at all consistent?

On Easter, Resurrection Day, we celebrate Christ's victory over death. He was dead, but He came back to life. This was no zombie-affect, no spirit inhabiting a rotting corpse. Christ's body itself was resurrected. His organs, muscles, lungs, and skin was healed and fully functioning. He even showed his scars (not open wounds, mind you) to his disciples, proving that his body was the same body that had died on the cross. Christ ate a meal of honeycomb and fish, showing that His digestive system was not worm-eaten and rotten, but living and functional! Halloween, on the other hand, wouldn't exist without death. And we know where death originated. In the Garden of Eden, God's perfect Paradise, the first man and woman brought death into the world by their act of rebellion against the order of the universe. Death is a product of the fall of man. It is the enemy of Christianity.

On Thanksgiving, we celebrate Christ's good gifts. We erupt in gratitude for the unexpected blessings He sent our way each year. We feast with thankfulness, realizing every bite is undeserved, yet delightfully, plentifully given to us. We feast because we know the meaning of fasting. We are grateful because we know both how to suffer loss and to abound. On Halloween, however, we teach our children to be gluttons. We dress them up and send them out, all for the purpose of getting lots of candy. If they don't get the "treat," then they can play a "trick," as tradition goes. They beg for candy, then play vindictive pranks if they are not given it. Please tell me if there's some deeper and more virtuous meaning behind Halloween than this, because I'm not seeing it.

On Christmas, we Christians celebrate God With Us. This world, completely given over to Halloween, experienced a complete shock when Christmas showed up. The birth of a Savior freed both kings and shepherds from their impending death, and rippled a glorious Laughter throughout the entire world. The utter irony of this tiny Child combatting the Dragon once and for all—and winning! It's hilarious! This Child's sweet gospel of peace unchained all captives, decimated all suicide, bandaged all brokenhearted, set the lonely in families, and planted beauty in the ashes. But Halloween's children dress up like dragons, carry pitchforks, and fog every angel's trumpet with sulfuric breath. Halloween sides itself with death and evil. Halloween is ugly.

Beautiful Christmas
Beautiful Christmas | Source
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Do Christians Decorate for Halloween?

I'm not saying that a Christian is not a Christian if he puts on a costume on October 31st and rings some doorbells. I'm not saying that a Christian will send his kids to Satan if he helps them dress up like squirrels to get candy once a year. But I am saying that if he does it, he needs to do it with his eyes wide open. He needs to make sure his kids' eyes are wide open too.

One thing that really brought this point home to me was when I visited some friends on Colorado's western slope last October. We were driving by some particularly grotesque Halloween decorations. You know the ones: rotten flesh hanging off sun-bleached bones, skeleton fingers reaching up through the grass. I commented on how trashy it made the front yard look, and my friends told me that those were their Mormon neighbors. I must have looked confused. "Oh yeah," she said, "There are lots of Mormons in our neighborhood, and they're the ones that go all out for Halloween. The most decorations. Those are the Mormons."

Interesting. I don't want to make a hasty generalization here if not all Mormons are like this, but I have to conclude that at least Colorado's Western-Slope Mormons don't mind making Halloween their own. (Mormons have no "official stance" on Halloween, according to MormonWoman.com). So we have to wonder what would compel Mormons to litter their yards with corpses. If Mormons truly do love Christ and the fact that He is triumphant over sin and death, then why plant a fake zombie on your front porch? I have to conclude that Mormons aren't that interested in the beauty that the life-giving Christ brings to a culture.

Which makes me ask every Christian out there: Why do the dead-guy stuff every hallows eve, if: 1.) You're not a Mormon, and: 2.) You love the fact that you're not a dead guy?

Cultivate Beauty

Dear Christians, let's create a culture of beauty, not ugliness. Let's decorate for Christmas, not Halloween.

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Comments 6 comments

Keith Ham profile image

Keith Ham 4 years ago from Niagara Falls, Ontario

Well...this was certainly a read.


Michael Tully profile image

Michael Tully 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing your perspective on Halloween, Jane. I believe the key thing to bear in mind is, as you wrote, "I'm not saying that a Christian will send his kids to Satan if he helps them dress up like squirrels to get candy once a year. But I am saying that if he does it, he needs to do it with his eyes wide open. He needs to make sure his kids' eyes are wide open too." I would tend to view Halloween as an opportunity to teach our children, since it is so heavily promoted in the schools, the stores, and the media, that it is very difficult for them to ignore.

Jack Chick, the cartoonist who has written hundreds of titles of illustrated gospel tracts, sees Halloween as an opportunity to evangelize children. After all, he reasons, how often during the year does one have potentially dozens of children ringing his or her doorbell? Chick has written several cartoon tracts with Halloween themes, oriented toward younger readers, for distribution along with candy treats to Trick-or-Treaters who come knocking on the door. He claims that most kids are as attracted to the little comic-book tracts as they are to the candy.

So, I suppose that, in a sense, Halloween is what you make of it. Halloween can hardly be ignored, but with the help of the Holy Spirit and the gift of discernment, one can conceivably turn it into a God-honoring experience for the children.

Thanks again for your very thought-provoking article. Peace be with you. Soli Deo gloria!


Kate Mc Bride profile image

Kate Mc Bride 4 years ago from Donegal Ireland

You make a good point about Hallowe'en being different from Christian holidays and I think it has become over-rated from a commercial point of view. It is sort of like a mini Christmas here in Ireland in terms of selling Hallowe'en paraphernalia although as you say it is ugly rather than beautiful.


aethelthryth profile image

aethelthryth 4 years ago from American Southwest

A couple years ago, a Wiccan lived across the street from us, and I got to be good friends with her. I found it interesting that both of us ignored Halloween as best we could.

I did so because I think things have changed from when I grew up, when Halloween was just a time for fun and dressing up and eating candy. Now it is being taken much more seriously, and, as you say, the ugliness comes out.

But my Wiccan neighbor didn't want to participate in Halloween because she felt it makes fun of witches. So, you could say I ignored Halloween because it was too serious, and she because it wasn't serious enough.


Jennifer 3 years ago

My family enjoys Halloween, but we don't go overboard. Who says it must be scary? It's a time for enjoying thrills, mystery, making night fun as well as a little spooky, and recalling childhood memories that are precious. I'd say a good comparison between enjoying the holiday and going overboard would be the family in Home Improvement (good) compared to the one in Roseanne (yick).


Chin chin profile image

Chin chin 2 years ago from Philippines

Nice write-up on this topic, Jane.

We don't traditionally celebrate Halloween in the same way here in the Philippines, but the practices of trick or treating and wearing scary costumes have crept in. As Christians, we don't really join this practice.

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