Halloween: Balancing Truth and Cultural Relevance


halloweenHalloween is viewed by some as a time of celebration and a day to get free candy, others see it as day to get free or unrestrained access to the spiritual realm. Halloween highlights the themes of death, darkness, fear and even hell, themes directly opposed to Christ’s teachings, for He highlights life, light, peace, truth and heaven. So should Christians participate in this holiday? Is it too much to let your children watch Halloween movies or dress them up as monsters? Should you participate in parties or not celebrate Halloween altogether?

According to History.com, “Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating.”

Being that Halloween is a custom that was practiced by our ancestors in ancient Europe who were pagan, this holiday can get pretty serious. Therefore, this can be an opportunity for Christians of this century to clarify their stance on “dark” related topics.

Pastor Guillermo Hernandez, of Amazing Grace Hispanic Ministries in Plantation, said, “The Word of God is clear when it teaches us that we are to be light in the darkness. Topics like death and darkness are not to be taken lightly, for activities that may look like ‘fun’ can be potentially harmful. Participation in the occult, can lead to a life spiraling down in fear, destruction, and even death.”

Finding a new approach

However, avoiding Halloween altogether may not solve the problem, for it is impossible with the surplus of media that promotes it. Whether it is what we do in Halloween, what we say, or the things we decide to watch on TV, Christians are held to a higher standard. So is the problem just Halloween? Or our approach to it?

We cannot avoid the world altogether, rather we are called to be a light in the darkness. We have a light, we have the truth. So why not shed a light on the subject?

When asked about his view and stance on Halloween, Calvary Christian Academy, high school teacher with a missionary orientation, Tony Gigliotti, shared that he uses this time as an opportunity to shine a light. His family does this by dressing up in Bible character costumes as a way to share the gospel. This sparks a conversation where Christians like himself can share their approach to Halloween. Gigliotti said he thinks “People who are not saved should not be held to our standards, for we were saved through grace.” He encourages Christians to explain their approach instead of condemning someone else’s approach.

A time to reach out

Some people use the holiday as an opportunity to meet their neighbors, sitting out on their front porch with candy and making conversation with parents.  Some include a tract or invitation card to their church along with the Halloween candy as a chance to share the gospel. After all it’s not every day that the neighbors knock on your door and people are mingling so openly on the sidewalk.

Gigliotti said he considers this holiday “a day for Christians as a nation to pray and fast for those truly celebrating the holiday.”

Redeeming the day

In the words of Pastor Mike Leger, “Every day is the Lord’s and he can redeem what the enemy uses as evil. This Calvary Chapel youth pastor explained that “if we are not careful, Halloween celebrations can be a slippery slope to compromise so we have to maintain the tension between truth and cultural relevance.” However, sharing the truth of Christ can be misinterpreted by some as pointing a finger at nonbelievers or even Christians with a different approach toward this holiday. Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

The wisdom of Christ is needed on our approach to this upcoming season. For Christians, this can be a cultural opportunity to shine the light of Jesus appropriately and tactfully. Your approach to Halloween may be different from your friend’s approach and even a family member’s. Nevertheless, the Christian mindset for Halloween recognizes that children of God are to be in the world, not of the world, shining Christ’s light with love.

No matter what people tell you, if your main desire is to please God, then he will reveal to you the do’s and don’ts of Halloween himself.

Estefania Hernandez is a student at Calvary Christian Academy and a Good News intern. You can reach her at [email protected].

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