Mommyhood, Thinking Biblically, Traditions & Celebrations

October 31st

Whether you “celebrate” (and please understand, I use that term very loosely!) Halloween, observe Reformation Day, or ignore it all together, I know that people have very different and very strong opinions about this day.


Growing up, Halloween was never a big deal. I am not, nor was I ever, much of a candy eater (dark chocolate excepted), so a holiday that revolved around amassing sugary treats held very little appeal for me. I do remember dressing up, and trick-or-treating around the neighborhood a few times.  But, it was never about the dark, or scary side of the holiday.  It was all just innocent fun.


Did I really use the word innocent?  But, many will argue, Halloween is not an innocent holiday. Okay. I’ll give you that. But, can certain elements of the holiday be innocent?


I have linked to this article, from Grace To You, each year around this time, because I think it offers a balanced perspective on the history of Halloween, a biblical view on Christian participation, as well as clearly articulating the 3 basic positions most Christians tend to take on this holiday: Non-participation, Halloween Alternative, or Limited, non-compromising participation. 


As a family, we fall into the last category…for now.   Meaning that, we participate in a very limited way, and only in the aspects that we believe would not compromise our testimony as believers, or our witness to our neighbors.


There is nothing inherently evil about candy or costumes.  Both happen in our home, regardless of the date on the calendar.  Dress up, and the corresponding imaginative play, is an everyday occurrence in our home.  Throughout the course of a day, I might see a fairy, a princess or two, a chef, a mommy, a doctor…I have a child with a very vivid imagination, and a flair for narration (storytelling).  And, that is something that I encourage.  So long as the costume is modest, and honoring to the Lord, I am not opposed to dress up, or imaginative play. Candy, though consumed in (extreme) moderation, could potentially be found in our home on any given day as well. 


So, when it comes to “Halloween,” we do allow Hannah to dress up, if she wants to, and she helps us hand out candy to the neighborhood trick-or-treaters. And, yes, she gets a treat or two in the process…


We view this day as opportunity to practice hospitality.  If the world is willingly coming to my doorstep once a year, you had better believe that I am going to take full advantage of it!  Handing out candy to the kids gives us a chance to connect and interact with both the kids and the parents – even for just a few moments. 


But, our “participation” ends there.


We do not go trick-or-treating.  Why?  Fair question!  My husband and I believe that if you hold a conviction, or even an opinion about a particular issue, it is important that you be able to clearly articulate why you hold that conviction. And, I have found that a well-thought-out position is far more likely to garner respect, even from those who disagree, than the knee-jerk reactionary approach that indicates little thought and consideration.  We also think it is important that children should be prepared to explain the family’s stance, beyond “We don’t do that.”  So, we have made sure that Hannah understands, and can also articulate why we do, or don’t do, certain things.  And, even at 4, she is perfectly able to field the inevitable questions, teasing, or disapproval that comes with holding a “different” position than the majority.


The first reason is rather minor in comparison to the other two.  While we do allow Hannah to have candy, we do try to limit the amount of refined sugar we consume.  And, if Hannah was to go trick-or-treating, she would probably collect far more candy than the three of us combined could consume before next Halloween!  So, it seems pointless to allow her to collect large amounts of candy, knowing that she will not be able, or allowed, to eat it all.  Plus, knowing that someone spent money on it, I just feel wasteful throwing it out.


Second, safety is a major concern.  I fully, and willingly admit to being an over-protective mama, and sheltering my child. Frankly, it is hard enough to keep track of a child who is running around at the park in full daylight, with several other children all dressed in normal clothing. But, throw darkness, and 40 or so other children in similar costumes into the mix…and the difficulty grows exponentially. And, these days, even “safe” suburban neighborhoods are peppered with sex offenders (you can check it out online…it was quite the eye-opening experience for me when I first did!), and you just can’t be too careful.


Lastly, while I do not see anything inherently evil in candy and costumes, there are aspects of Halloween that are dark, scary, and evil.


Many homes utilize the spooky “decorations” (ghosts, witches, etc.), scary music, or stunts intended to frighten.  And, personally, I do not find it amusing, or enjoyable to scare children. And, exposure to that which is scary and evil, in the name of “fun,” making it appear innocent, desensitizes children, and adults alike, to the reality, and the seriousness of spiritual warfare.


Witches and evil spirits are real.  And they are evil.  They are not a source of entertainment or a cause for celebration.


We live in a world that glorifies sin, fear, and death.  And, as much as I would like to shield my daughter from all of the scary, evil aspects of this holiday (and in the world in general), I simply cannot.  She still sees the ghosts, and witches, and skeletons on the house down the street or at the grocery store.  And, believe me, if I could avoid going to the store this time of year, I probably would…but, I can’t, my family still wants to eat!  Even if I did attempt to go to that extreme, she still has friends (yes, even church friends!) who like to talk about the scary side of Halloween, or whose parents allow them to participate in aspects of this holiday that we do not.  Just this last Sunday, our church (which meets in the gym of a local, public high school) was festooned with posters advertising “Witch and Wizard Day” and “Dia de los Muertos,” complete with skeleton faces and pointy witch hats. Put that on the list of things I never thought I’d see at church! 


Short of barricading ourselves in the house, with no access to the outside world for the entire month of October, or longer (don’t think I haven’t considered it!), I have not found an effective way of avoiding “the world.” 


But, although we live in this world, we are not to be of it.  So, although we “participate,” we do not “celebrate” Halloween.  And, we do so in hopes that a literal open door might lead to spiritual open doors in the future.


  1. Kat

    Hi Veronica, Thanks for sharing your convictions. We have wrestled with this holiday for several years now and have come to no strong conclusions. I was curious though if you’ve ever heard of or read this book:

    1. Kat,
      This is something that we have struggled with too…And, for now, this is where we have landed…not to say we’ll stay here permanently, more study, more prayer, and we may be somewhere entirely different next year!

      A few years ago, I looked at several books on Halloween/Reformation Day at the Christian bookstore. This might have been one of them…I didn’t buy any of them, so now I can’t remember if I have seen this particular one or not! When my sister and I were little, my parents had a book about the history and origins of Halloween that I would love to find…or at least something similar. I’ll have to check this one out. It looks like it might contain the information I am hoping for.

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