There are so very many opinions about what to do with October 31st in the world of Christians! It runs the spectrum from churches having haunted houses in their basements to families hibernating in their basements with all of the lights turned off so no one thinks they are home.
I was actually referring to myself, as I have personally run the entire gamut on this! Growing up in the 70s as a pastor’s kid, we had Halloween parties at our church, complete with the referred to haunted house in the basement.
When I got married, we decided (based on teachings we heard on the demonic purpose of the event) we would have nothing to do with it. One year we thought we would just leave the house and go out to eat, but discovered we couldn’t escape it that way, because all the restaurant workers were dressed up and trying to draw our kids into the “excitement”.
Over the years, we have done a variety of things. We have rented a movie for the kids and huddled in the basement eating pizza with all of the lights off so no one would come to our door. We have been a part of different harvest festival “alternatives,” and for a few years we actually handed out candy with special Halloween tracts (which my youngest son loved doing because he saw himself as a missionary.)
There are so many directions I could take this article, but for now, I would like to share something a good friend and mentor, Becky Fischer, Founder of Kids in Ministry International, has written about the “holiday” of Halloween.
Here’s an EXCELLENT question I get asked all the time: “When we talk about not participating in Halloween, people bring up Christmas and Easter, saying they are Pagan as well…how do you ‘defend’ that?”
My answer: One of the biggest differences I see between Christians celebrating Halloween versus Easter or Christmas, is Halloween continues to be all about the devil, death and darkness. There’s NOTHING redeeming in that holiday that Christians can run with. But Christmas and Easter are interesting because Christians completely stole those pagan holidays back from the devil and made them PURELY about Jesus. There’s NOTHING about Halloween that is about Jesus.
Even the ungoldy world identifies Christmas and Easter as Christian holidays and know it’s about Jesus. Halloween…not so much. My big issue is Christians who have tried to “sanitize” Halloween by making a Christian version of it with their Fall Festivals and Harvest parties. That’s not redeeming the holiday! That’s NOT taking it back or stealing it from the devil. That’s us hiding our light under a bushel so we don’t have to face the darkness! We just pretend it’s not there…
That’s why something set me on fire this year with the concept of Oct 31 being “SHATTER THE DARKNESS DAY”! It’s not participation—it’s speaking LIGHT INTO THE DARKNESS.
Meet people in the culture where they are at. That’s what Paul did when he gave his big speech at the statue of the Unknown God. He didn’t say, “You nasty Greeks! Worshiping idols!” No! He used it as a platform to preach the gospel, “I have good news for you! I know this God, and I can tell you He loves you.”
You might be interested to know that the music to the old hymn Amazing Grace was once a worldly song sung in the pubs by a bunch of drunks. John Newton put Christian lyrics to it and it became a gospel classic. But no Christians ever complain that we shouldn’t sing Amazing Grace because it was originally an ungodly tavern song sung by heathens. (But then that’s maybe because so many Christians have no issues with bars and taverns any more. But I digress…)
Take back what the darkness has stolen! We can’t stop the culture from being the culture. It is what it is. So our answer to every situation is the word of God and bringing Light into every event and every conversation. The truth of God’s word is an answer to the darkness.
LET’S SHATTER THE DARKNESS ON OCTOBER 31!!!!!
I’m getting ready for my own personal “Shatter the Darkness” party on Oct 31. Got my white Christmas tree lights to outline the front of my house. Got a large Styrofoam tombstone that I’m going to break in two with a big poster that says “Jesus Defeated Death.” I’ve got a couple of little internally lit pumpkins and I’m going to put a sign by them that says “Jesus is the light in my heart.”
Here are some other ideas I have for signs: “Zombies can be born again through life in Jesus.”
Or “Say the Name of Jesus and scary things leave!”
How About: “Vampires are powerless against the blood of Jesus!”
Or maybe “Monsters, zombies, vampires, ghosts and demons tremble at the name of Jesus!”
“Jesus is the light who overcame the Darkness”
…I’m going to pass out lots of candy, I am going to give them a CD copy of my salvation message for kids called the Gospel Pumpkin, and tell them each, “God bless you!” as they leave. I have a male manikin at the Fire Center that I’m going to bring home, dress up like Jesus, and stand him visibly in my dining room window with one of the signs. I also am going to place a boom box outside in the yard and play songs like “God’s Not Dead He’s Surely alive” by the Newsboys.
Now before I get any tongue lashings about churches doing carnivals or “Trunk or Treat” events and such, telling me how we have to be a light in the darkness and offer an alternative to our unsaved neighborhoods, please hear me. The body of believers I am connected to has a very effective carnival every October 31st.
And now after revealing that, I will probably get a tongue lashing from those who believe you cannot call yourself a Christian and have any part of Halloween whatsoever, including validating it with an “alternative” event.
The thing is, every Christian I know bases what they choose to do for Halloween on their personal interpretation of specific scriptures.
I am so grieved at how incredibly divisive this has become in the lives and churches of Christians. May I remind us all of three very powerful scriptures:
Romans 14:4-6 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it…”(NKJV)
1 Cor. 10:29-33 …For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (NIV)
John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (NKJV)
I fully realize this article will probably spark some very strong emotions and scriptures presented in the comment section, and that is great, as long as there are no words of judgment and condemnation. Make sure what you write is with a heart speaking in love about what God has shown you.
Remember, we all have blind spots, not one of us has this Christian thing figured out perfectly. We see dimly through a glass. Please respect the process God is doing in all of us. And remember, no matter what you do or don’t do, Jesus is still Lord over the date of October 31st!