Is halloween a trick or a treat?

As a Christian living in the western world and now is living in a country that seems to worship halloween, during the month of October I am faced with this one question – Is halloween a trick or treat?

In other words can Christians celebrate Halloween? It’s a question that comes up every year for some Christians who see children dressing up as devils, downing candy and visiting haunted houses with witches, axe-murderers and spirits flying through the sky.

The reluctance of some Christians is halloween’s historical and spiritual connections to both an ancient pagan holiday known as Samhain, that in recent years has made something of a comeback; and the Roman Catholic observances called All Saints Day on Nov 1, and All Souls Day on Nov 2, when Catholic churches remember those who have died.

In Mexico, All Soul’s Day is celebrated as Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos. Families hold picnics in cemeteries to be close with their dead ancestors with sweets and cakes baked in shapes of skulls and skeletons.

Given these connections, halloween is a non-starter for many Christians. For others, they say that halloween provides an opportunity for outreach using the medium of halloween but with a different message. One Christian at work said “you celebrate xmas don’t you?”. One pastor has launched an alternative called “Jesus Ween” that approaches halloween as an opportunity for evangelism, with participants encouraged to give out Bibles instead of candy. A local church has just announced they will hold a ‘trunk or treat’ and are encouraging us to be there on October 31st to give out candy and tracts. Is this too liberal?

I mean what do you say to a child when they state “Dad, God is against evil!” Then, pauses as he looks at the church bulletin and mumbles, “But He likes it a little bit, doesn’t He?” I urge every Christian parent to seek God’s will and decide upon their answer to the question.

Of course, I am sure to get feedback on this because many Christians view halloween as a harmless exercise in creativity and fun that does not impact their faith one way or the other. I choose not to give a simple ‘Yes/No’ answer lest I lead any agreeable souls to a decision without conviction. So I offer the following …..


In a day when good is called evil and evil is called good, it is very difficult to establish boundaries, especially involving questionable issues. Churches seem to accept more and more worldliness, while some Christians are getting less and less tolerant of anything except their version of the truth. Gray areas are widening by the minute. Choices aren’t as simple as they used to be.

Here are four guiding principles from the Scriptures:

#1 – Whatever I do should glorify God.

In I Corinthians 10:31, the Apostle commands that everything we do, including even eating and drinking, should be according to this rule. This is the greatest of principles. Many times, the first question a person asks about a ‘gray area’ issue is: “What’s wrong with it?” This is really the wrong place to start. The Christian perspective dictates we ask: “What’s right with it?” Eph. 5:10 puts the responsibility on the individual to “Prove what is acceptable unto the Lord.” The ultimate right is God’s glory and to avoid giving satan or evil any glory.

For example, as far as I know pumpkin carving is neither moral or immoral. What you carve and when your carve can glorify God and ‘give light’ or celebrate satan and shed darkness. Dressing up in costumes is not, in itself, bad, yet the outfit may be God-honoring like a clown for a kids club, flesh-appealing like short skits and speedo’s, or flat out Satanic like devil masks. God must be glorified in our actions (or non action), as well as our motivations. One does not nullify or justify the lack of the other.

#2 – Everything I do should benefit the gospel.

I must consider whether what I do helps (or hinders) the salvation of lost souls (I Corinthians 10:33). If I participate in the questionable issue, will it spread the gospel by adding to the mission (eg tracts to kids who may not get them any other time) or hurt Christ’s cause by distracting from the message (eg giving the impression evil is fun and the church supports it) ?

Light shines bright when the world is so dark; yet at the same time, worldliness can dim your ability to share your testimony. Separation from sin should be practiced, but not to the point of isolation from sinners.

#3 – What I do has an end.

Everything has consequences. Have I considered where the gray area in question will lead? According to I Corinthians 10:23, some things are allowed (lawful), but not everything is beneficial to me (expedient). Although this is not an end-all, I must give proper consideration for where my actions will lead myself and others in the future.

Halloween often affects families with young children. And children often practice in excess what their parents did in moderation. As a general rule, each generation gets further and further from purity and piety, even in the church. For example, Halloween was outlawed in America until 1845, and now it is very odd to some when families, even churches, do not celebrate this ‘holiday’.

Perhaps a Christian party or service is a good supplement for a positive alternative, but will it help screen out the worldly Halloween experience for our children?

So I ask YOU Christian is halloween a trick or a treat? To give feedback on use the comment box below or Contact Us

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