Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween: A Christian Perspective

It's getting close to that time of the year when we celebrate Halloween. Of course, stores have been selling Halloween cards, Halloween party supplies and produce suppliers have been selling pumpkins for a couple of months. They have been doing this in St. Louis, Missouri, where I am. It's all a reminder that, in a week, most children under 12 and some older teens and adults, will wear their favorite Halloween costumes. My husband and I did this as parents, while I more have just gone along with the Halloween tradition because this is what pleased my spouse. It was okay with me as long as no costumes that evince occult symbols, like witches costumes or suggestive costumes. We had to deal with going through candy to get rid of hard candies that provide zero nutritional value and that pose a choking hazard. Also, we had to go though them to make sure that none of the candy had been tampered with by those up to no good. Predators.In Currently, our daughter is a teen and Halloween isn't so much of an issue now. I have been reading Facebook posts that Christian users post, declaring that they don't celebrate Halloween. One user even has been using a "I Don't Celebrate Halloween!" profile photo, those words superimposed over a pictured pumpkin. I know that the issue of those of us with a Christian worldview celebrating Halloween has always been an issue. When I was growing up in the 1970s as a teen, I had read a book by Christian singer/author, Pat Boone, where he stated that after he and his family had experienced a Baptism in the Holy Spirit in the Charismatic Church body, they stopped celebrating Halloween. I admired their stance on this, but I thought they were impractical and "over-strict." Now I wonder as I believe that they have a point. They renounced the celebration of Halloween because of it close associations with the occult and the use of costumes and practices that open the door to the Devil. Yes, we who have a Christian worldview believe in a personal Devil who, while unseen, is very much at work trying to destroy the world and the Christian community. The seemingly innocent word "magic" is also linked to the occult, and practices that call up supernatural operations that are not of God, are harshly condemned especially in the Old Testament. During Halloween, we like to tamper with this side of the supernatural with certain costumes. I'm sure our motives are innocent and we think it's all "just for fun" and "shouldn't hurt anyone." But I have always sensed that there is more to Halloween and the typical way that most of us celebrate that day. Tampering with the occult, and anything liked to the Devil, gives him an open door to attack us and our children. I know that the easy solution to tackling the Halloween issue is just not to celebrate it at all. I don't blame such Christians a bit and there is no law that tells us that we should or have to observe that day of the year. In face, the Bible does not command us Christians to observe anything EXCEPT the Sacraments of Baptism and Communion. If you believe that something is wrong, even if it's not wrong in itself, then for you it IS wrong. Those of you who are raising young children, I would hope that you find other ways that they can have special, wholesome fun on that day. For they see their peers celebrating Halloween. Because fitting in and not feeling left out matters so much to growing children, I think that it's preferable for us as parents, when we are raising young children, to come up with wholesome Halloween alternatives that allow our kiddos to enjoy that day but that don't have any occult ties and that, above all, keep them safe. For in addition to the moral concerns about the occult ties of this particular day, Halloween is a field day for child predators and pedophiles. So many of them use handing out candy as a way of luring children and gaining their trust before preying on them, molesting them or even worse. So child safety is just as issue for Christians as occult ties. Halloween can be dangerous not only spiritually but also physically! When my daughter was younger, our former congregation offered what they called a "Trunk or Treat" servant event. At this event, children handed out candy to attendees and these candies would include messages telling of the love of Christ. Many churches typically offer servant events that involve handing out candy, using this as a springboard to share the love of God with their communities or safe, wholesome Halloween parties where children can hang out, eat candy and have a great time. I think these are great! Christian parents, you don't have to get renounce Halloween altogether. There are wholesome, safe ways to celebrate on or around that day, and let your youngsters still get in on their Halloween fun. And reader, if you don't "do Christianity," you too have to see that Halloween proves to be a major child safety issue, even if you have no concerns about its occult ties. I think offering Halloween alternatives to families and to their communities is a valuable service that many congregations do at this time of the year. And I know that many of you make this a family event night and take your young ones to "trick or treat." This is fine but I recommend avoiding costumes that suggest occult ties, like witches or warlock's costumes, and to never leave them unattended, of course. What do you think? Photo Courtesy of Photo by mensatic. This photo can be found here.
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