Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? Here are a few ideas to consider

Should Christians celebrate Halloween?

It’s a question many Christian families struggle with year after year, and for good reason. The Bible never actually spells it out in black and white, and there are excellent arguments on both sides of the debate.

Some Christians do not celebrate Halloween, citing its pagan origins, close ties to witchcraft and obsession with all things gross, gory and evil.

They remind us that Christians are supposed to be different–set apart–and that missing out on one night of spooks and teeth-rotting candy isn’t really missing out on anything at all.

They have a good point.

On the other hand, some Christians DO celebrate Halloween.

These Christians focus, not on the ways Halloween has been celebrated in the past, but the opportunities it offers Christians today.

When answering the question “Should Christians celebrate Halloween,” these Christians see the holiday more as a fun, Americanized tradition or even a ministry opportunity — rather than as an exercise in sin — and argue that, if Jesus were alive today, he’d be passing out the biggest candy bars of all.

They have a good point too.

So, who is “right?”

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

It isn’t just your average American family that struggles with the question of “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?”

Many well-regarded pastors, authors and bloggers come down on both sides of the debate, although most will readily acknowledge the other side’s opinions as valid as well.

In her thought-provoking article “Christians Who Celebrate Halloween,” Carissa Shaw writes, “What other time do you have an opportunity to be a light in your neighborhood literally dropped in your lap like this?”

It’s true. Halloween definitely provides a great way for neighbors to get together–something that simply isn’t done on a regular basis anymore.

And in her article A Christian View On Halloween, Courtney Joseph writes: “Since the Bible does not give a clear mandate “thou shalt not participate in passing out candy or dressing up as minie mouse on October 31st” – this is an area of Romans 14 – called liberty, conscience or a grey area.”

Personally, I tend to agree.

So, if there is no one “right or wrong?” — How do you decide?

Do you fully participate? Participate in an alternate activity, like trunk or treating? Use Halloween as a ministry opportunity? Ignore the holiday and treat the day as any normal day?

That depends on your convictions and motives. But here are five things you may want to consider as you make your decision:

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for additional information. 

1. Everything is Permissible, but Nothing Everything is Beneficial

1 Corinthians 10:23 says, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say–but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’–but not everything is constructive.” 

Even if Halloween isn’t immoral, is it the best use of your time? What would the outcome be if you did or did not participate? How would you, your family and your neighborhood be affected if you did or did not participate?

Is Halloween a chance to intentionally invest in the lives of children in your neighborhood in a way that will edify everyone? Or is it a chance to “one up” your neighbor with a yard display, candy selection or gory costume that puts theirs to shame?

Whether you want to participate in Halloween or you don’t want to participate in Halloween — Why? What’s the real reason? What are you really hoping to get out of it?

2. Halloween is a Great Opportunity for Outreach

On the other hand, if you want to develop community and share the light of Jesus with a world in need, Halloween is a great chance to do it!

I don’t know how it goes in your neighborhood, but Halloween is the ONLY night of the year when you can have tons of strangers come knock on your door and when you can go knock on tons of strangers’ doors and be welcomed.

Why not take advantage of it?

And if your church does some kind of event like trunk or treat — that’s a GREAT way to meet and welcome neighborhood families who may never set foot inside your church doors (or in your church parking lot) any other way.

3. The Devil is Very Sneaky

Although, one thing that does concern me is how sneaky the devil is.

You see, the devil rarely just shows up and says “Hey, how about a big ol’ pile of disgusting, vile sin! Dive right on in!” No, we’re smart enough to see right through that. We’d head for the hills in a heartbeat, and satan knows that.

Which is why satan doesn’t try to get us to jump straight into big sins, but will often quietly and methodically lead us astray through things that we think are “not that bad” or “not a big deal.”

And if he can convince children that “pretending to be evil and creepy is a lot of fun!” and parents that it’s “not a big deal” well… that sounds like his kind of plan to me.

In fact, Rachel shares some of the dark side of Halloween that we American parents typically completely overlook in her post “The Question Christians Should Be Asking About Halloween.”

Worshiping the dead, offering sacrifices, conjuring spirits, and placing curses on others… These things may not be happening at our neighborhood trunk-or-treats (I sure hope not anyways!), but they are definitely still happening, and I’d be willing to bet that they are a lot more common and probably a lot closer to home than you’d think.

Definitely something to keep in mind…

4. Halloween is a Great Opportunity to Teach About Good vs Evil

As Christian parents, we are presented with plenty of opportunities to teach our children the good, happy side of the gospel — that God loves us, wants what’s best for us, and that we can all go to Heaven someday if we believe.

But what about the other half of the gospel?

That we have a real enemy, that death is real, and that some people believe other things than we do?

Well, as it turns out, Halloween is the perfect time to have discussions about things like darkness, fear, evil, and death.

Not sure where to start? Start by talking about the things you see while you’re out and about.

Or check out the “Sweet Opportunity: Seeing the Gospel in Halloween” Family Bible Study by Anna from Narrow Gate Prints.

Using the Bible as your foundation, this family Bible study will help you show your kids how the gospel relates to six different aspects of Halloween – Trick or Treating, Costumes, Darkness, Fear, Evil, and Death.

And you can even get the first chapter free.

5. The Devil Doesn’t Get a Holiday

As you are helping your children answer the question “Should Christians Celebrate Halloween,” be careful not to give the devil too much credit, however.

Yes, Halloween may have pagan roots, but that doesn’t mean the devil gets to claim it as his own.

God created all 365 days of the year. Satan created 0. 

The day isn’t his. He has no right to it. And I’m not about to give it to him.

For you, that could mean that you don’t give it to him by choosing to not participate. Or that could mean you don’t give it to him by choosing to give it to God instead, ignoring the dark side of Halloween altogether.

I don’t think either is a bad answer.

But either way, you need to make a choice: How will YOU honor God this Halloween?

6. Halloween isn’t the Only Cultural Tradition With a Questionable Past

Not participating in Halloween due to it’s ties with witchcraft and satanism? I totally understand and respect that.

But that brings the question: Where do you draw the line? Because Halloween isn’t the only cultural tradition with a questionable past.

For example:

  • Wedding rings, wedding ceremonies and funerals were and are a pagan custom – should we also boycott those?
  • Several months of our calendar year are named after gods.
  • MANY Christmas traditions (such as lights, bells, mistletoe) come, at least in part, from pagan sources
  • And the same is true for Easter traditions as well.

If you must, in good conscience, boycott Halloween over it’s undeniable pagan ties, wouldn’t it be right to boycott many parts – if not all – of Christmas and Easter as well?

Where do you draw the line when Christian and secular history is so intertwined?

7. “Alternative” Activities Aren’t Really Any Different

So, say you decide you will participate in Halloween, but you will do it in a more “God-honoring” way.

But if you take your kids trunk-or-treating instead of trick-or-treating, or if you celebrate “Hallelujah Night” instead of “Halloween night” — is it really any different?

Are you actually setting yourself apart? Or are you just modifying a bit so that you make yourself feel a little better?

Do you really have “Putting God First” in mind? Or are you just trying to make a small concession to ease your guilt and make the decision easier on yourself?

Something to think about…

(And I am absolutely NOT judging or condemning here. Just providing some questions for you to think through yourself as you decide “Should Christians Celebrate Halloween” for yourself and your family!)

Personally, my family does participate in Halloween – but only in the Americanized, sanitized version of it.

We carve pumpkins into silly faces, dress up as superheros and princess, and go trick-or-treating for way more candy than any little belly needs. And we might even do a cute craft of two (like these cute handprint spiders).

But we draw the line at dressing as witches or demons, anything gory, or anything eerie or evil.

That’s what works for us. You’ll have to prayerfully consider what will work best for you.

Hopefully these six thoughts give you a few things to think about as you decide.

What do you think? Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? How does your family spend the day?
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A devoted Christian, wife and mother, Brittany loves helping other women grow in these roles as well. When she isn’t busy taking care of her growing family, you can find her at Equipping Godly Women, where she regularly shares tips, tricks and encouragement to help you be the amazing woman God created you to be. Brittany also has a thriving online community on Facebook as well.

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I never realized there was a question about celebrating Halloween, other than the obvious unhealthy candy part of it. I also didn’t realize Halloween was ever a day to celebrate the devil. I know in Mexico it is celebrated as The Day of the Dead to remember those that have died. In a semi-related note, it also baffles me that strict Christians ban Harry Potter in their homes too. Christians don’t like good fiction and using their imaginations?

I love having good fiction in my house. I do not like having things about witchcraft in my house. Things like that are evil and just invite satan into your home. No thank you.

Yeah, Halloween has a shady past that is tied in with paganism and all sorts of anti-Christian religions. (This article explains it well without being too “out there”: Some Christians do participate, others don’t. Both are fairly common.

And I’m one of those crazy Christians who won’t watch Harry Potter too (though my husband does and I’m 99% sure there are a couple of them on our DVR right now…). The reason being is that it is full of witchcraft, wizardly, spells, and ties to the occult, which the Bible makes very clear that Christians should stay away from. (Deuteronomy 18: 9-13 is just one reference)

I’m sure on the surface level it looks like just a fun fantasy and I’m sure it is a fantastic, well-written, captivating story. It’s just the way that it promotes and glorifies other, darker religions that I stay away from.

Just curious, do you feel the same way about The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings? Those both have sorcery and magic as well, but were written specifically as Christian allegories. I know Potter wasn’t written with that intent, but its ultimate message is not to glorify the darkness. Actually, its overarching theme is that sacrificial love is the most powerful force in the universe. I believe that fits pretty well with my faith.

I do feel more comfortable with The Chronicles of Narnia, as it is written by a Christian specifically with Christian themes. It has been so long since I’ve seen it, though, and I’ve never seen The Lord of the Rings at all, so I can’t really comment on that… But that’s just my personal stance. I’m not trying to make a sweeping generalization here that everyone has to follow.

Beautifully written, Brittany. I especially love your point number 1. Thank you for your gracious, balanced, and Biblical approach to this sensitive topic. May God bless you!

Thanks for posting, what a great article. Last year we sat in our garage and made homemade apple cider and gave out little ziplock baggies with some candy and bible tracts in them. I had all of the teens coming back for seconds:) We are doing the same this year but I think I will send my husband with some tracts as well when he takes the kids around our neighborhood. Here is where I get the tracts from Ray Comfort if anyone is interested:

That sounds like a great idea to me! I’m sure plenty of people just throw them away, but who knows who will read it and take it to heart or who will be inspire to do something similar next year.

In our Church we Celebrate All Souls and Saints Day. We also set with our neighbors in our circle and have a wonderful time together as neighbors. We have a small fire and enjoy seeing all the children and adults coming and talking and laughing. Its what you make it. Try not to be so serious.

I love this Brittany! There are so many people who avoid it al together, and I don’t think that’s right. I have never thought of the “Don’t give the devil a holiday” aspect of it, but that’s true. Why can’t we as Christians take back the holiday?

We don’t do gory costumes, or spooky Halloween movies. We DO dress up in cute costumes and are sure to say thank you at each house we stop at. My kids have NO clue about the pagan history of Halloween, and they don’t need to at this point.

Why don’t you think it’s right that others choose to walk right by this holiday. I certainly don’t think it’s wrong that someone doesn’t care to celebrate Halloween, I don’t think it’s wrong to celebrate. I have no opinion either way myself, but I’m not understanding either decision being right or wrong. If people feel the it seems to be a pagan tradition they’d rather not take it, that’s fine. Many feel the same with the Christmas tree. If others look at it more as just another tradition in America, that’s fine too. I’m not certain there is a wrong or right, other than the specific celebration of witchcraft, and evil.

Thank you so much for this article. I’ve been confused and praying about this, it’s actually been on my mind lately, and then I come across this…. Amen. God bless you

You’re welcome! It’s definitely a complex issue with good arguments on both sides. Some are adamant it’s a pagan holiday, others believe it’s a Catholic holiday… Personally, I don’t see a clear cut answer that applies to everyone (though many will disagree), so I would pray about it, search Scriptures, etc and make the best choice you can.

Thank you for this timely article. I have been a little conflicted this season. I appreciate how you presented both views.

Excellent article! I really appreciate the way you were able to explain and give both view points validity. Honestly, I’ve felt a little defensive on the subject lately and your words have helped me feel more comfortable in my decision. Best of all it brought me to you blog, you’ve definitely gained a new reader!

I came across a post today by a person on facebook requesting help with getting more information on her journey to becoming a witch. This really got me thinking…how can a Christian explain to a witch that he/she celebrates Halloween? I think this analogy explains it…Christian is to Halloween as Witch is to Christmas. We don’t cast spells, they don’t celebrate Jesus. We trick-or-treat, they open presents. What does God think of that?
I think you covered it. Do things as unto the Lord, and express His love to everyone. I have never been totally confident in my decision not to celebrate Halloween. I used to celebrate it HARD because it is right after my birthday, but now that I am grown and have kids I’ve been trying to avoid it mostly because 1, It doesn’t make sense to try to teach them not to fear things, then one day (or month) a year we celebrate scary stuff (though you can’t escape it, it’s everywhere!) 2. the candy, which i try to be very much in moderation with year-round, is the whole point of the holiday for them 3. it’s expensive 4. when you get older…high school, especially college age…Halloween is about skimpy clothes and getting drunk. We know tons of Christians who do celebrate it, and some in our church who don’t. I’m all for handing out candy as a way to witness, what a fantastic opportunity! But we don’t celebrate ANY of those holidays very much for the reasons you gave, they are very pagan in origin and for the most part have little connection to Christ unless you seriously strive to make them Christ-centered (but you won’t see me protesting my wedding ring). We are bigger fans of celebrating birthdays. I read about Halloween from a witch and warlock’s perspective, and they aren’t even sure of the origins because it’s so muddled and may be several different celebrations combined. I think a lot of “issues” like this are a sure-fire way for the devil to get a foothold in Christian relationships and cause great division in the body from a small disagreement. I LOVE that you say the devil has made ZERO days. And if Jesus were here for Halloween, I agree with what you said. If he were here for Christmas, he’d probably be serving in a soup kitchen, and for Easter, hunting eggs with children.