If so, then there are many Christian holidays that you must also reject, as they are pagan days that have been redeemed by the Church over the centuries. One of these holidays is Christmas. In the same way that Samhain was once a season of evil, so were Yule and Midvinterblot. Yet, these became known as Christmas and the trees that once were burned in ritual were brought into homes as decoration and to be burned as Yule logs. Shall we purge our homes of our Christmas trees (which some of us fight so hard to prevent being called “Holiday Trees”), Yule logs, and anything else that may be reminiscent of another time or be used for some other purpose? I don’t think so. Instead, I rejoice that a time of fear and darkness has been redeemed as a time to celebrate the coming of hope and light into our world.
Others may try to tell you that Halloween is a holiday for Satanists—the most important day of their calendar! That’s great: so why are we so content to let the devil take the day as his own? All things can be used either for evil or for good, and even in places where evil goes on, good can prevail (such as Jesus eating and drinking with the most despised of sinners…but never sinning himself). Besides which, Halloween is not a Satanic holiday: its roots are found both in the pagan and the Christian.*
Should we reject Halloween?
For sure, I do not believe that Christians should participate in the ways that the unchurched do. It makes little sense for followers of Jesus to glorify death and gore and drunkenness and senseless indulgence in sexual immorality. However, as I said before, it seems that the One whom Christians are pledged to follow has given us an example to mimic in this area. To be sure, there were probably people sinning at the parties Jesus frequently attended, but he didn’t write them off or avoid them. He kept on attending and engaging and loving, all without sinning and while being a loving presence—a light—in the darkness. We should not become entangled in the evils of this day, as we should not become entangled with the evils of every other day; yet, as Christ-followers we are directed to be present with hurting people: where they are at.
Redeeming Halloween for Jesus
This leaves us with our second option: redeeming Halloween for Jesus. As I said earlier, Halloween can be a day where evil is celebrated and practiced…but so can every other day. But why cut ourselves off from the world on Halloween? Why not be in the world, but not of it?
We live in a culture where neighbours hide from each other. Less contact is better contact; good fences make good neighbours; these are the mantras we tend to live by. But this is not healthy or good. Loneliness is now pandemic in Western society to the point that many large cities across North America have identified it as one of the greatest dangers to well-being in their societies. The city of Vancouver is now home to a foundation that will give grants to those planning initiatives to gather neighbours together, such as block parties and other neighbourhood events!
If you attend Abundant Springs, where I pastor, you’ve probably heard me ask: how well do you know your literal, immediate neighbours? And the answer for most of us is, “Not well.”
Now, here we are on the one day a year when your neighbours are coming to you! And we think that we should run from the darkness and hide with the porch lights off, or gather together as Christians in a “holy huddle” to prevent ourselves from being “contaminated.” In my mind, this is nonsense! We are called to be salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-14), to make a difference. We are to place ourselves in a position where our light can shine brightly and bring others to the love of Christ! We are not to hide it (Matthew 5:15-16).
Three Ways to Redeem Halloween
The way I see it, we need to be present, and we need to be active as representatives of Christ on this day. We need not jump into everything that Halloween pushes without discernment, but we should seek to highlight the good, and build relationships with those God has placed around us. For this reason, here are three suggestions for how you can make Halloween a day where good is done for Jesus Christ.
1) Enjoy Participating in the Good
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. When we stand up and shout from the rooftops that Halloween is evil and that we’re not letting our kids dress up as princes and princesses and ask for candy, the world just sees people who don’t like fun and who don’t like them. I, for one, have no interest in being seen that way.