Fall is the time for hoodies, pumpkin bread, colorful leaves and Halloween … Or wait! Should that be harvest parties? It depends on whom you talk to.
Some Christians gladly participate in Halloween, while others are much more comfortable attending a harvest party that celebrates all of fall’s goodness without the dark and creepy elements that often go hand-in-hand with Halloween.
Making a choice about how to celebrate autumn fun is a personal decision that should be made with careful thought and prayer. If you need help, follow along with the suggestions below as you weigh your various options.
Examine Your Motives
The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it? I, Yahweh, try the mind, I search the heart … —Jeremiah 17:9-10
It’s a good idea to consider the conditions of your heart before beginning the decision-making process. You might be leaning one way or another because of influence from your church friends, your community or your own childhood memories, but God’s desires for your family should be your guide for this decision. Pray and ask God to show you what is best for you and your children. If you are being swayed by other influences, ask God to help you focus on Him and His will.
Here is one documentary that many churches across the country view each year that explores a number of the inhibitions some Christians have when it comes to celebrating Halloween — it’s called Halloween? Trick or Treat?
Weigh the Pros and Cons
There are positive elements to both Halloween and harvest parties, and both have drawbacks. Make a list of what you see being the pros and cons of each celebration and refer to it as you decide what to do.
For example, harvest festivals can be a great community outreach for your church. Additionally, parents may take comfort in the fact that a harvest festival allows kids to enjoy a special autumn celebration without any mention of death, gore or scary creatures.
However, if your house is dark during trick-or-treating, your neighbors might consider you unfriendly, and your children might be disappointed that they don’t celebrate in the same way as some of their friends. If this is the case, you should explain to your children why you made the decision to abstain and how your conscience or biblical reasoning came into play with it.
Handing out candy on Halloween or trick-or-treating door-to-door has the potential to build neighborly community and help you become more familiar with the people who live around you. Plus, kids enjoy dressing up in costumes, and the costumes your family chooses can be fun, rather than creepy. On the other hand, seeing scary costumes or decorations in the neighborhood can be overwhelming to some children, and it’s difficult to celebrate this holiday while also addressing the issue as to why evil is celebrated and trivialized during this time.
Be True to Your Conscience
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. —Romans 14:5, KJV
Don’t make the decision on how to have Fall fun based on what anyone else is doing. This is a matter between your family and God. Just because everyone else around you is condemning Halloween, that doesn’t mean you must also. And you shouldn’t celebrate Halloween just because everyone else on your block does or because your minister says it’s okay to do so. Every family’s situation is different, so you needn’t make your choices based on anyone else’s convictions. Instead, pray about it and ask God what is right for your family.
Consider a Middle Ground
Your decision doesn’t necessarily have to be a completely black-and-white one. If you’re struggling to make a choice, think about middle-of-the-road options you could select. Perhaps you’ll decide to attend a harvest festival that allows fun costumes, or you’ll participate in a local church’s Trunk-or-Treat event, which offers a trick-or-treating experience in a controlled environment.
You could also choose to stay home on Halloween to hand out treat bags that include both candy and an informational card about your church or set up a table in your yard where trick-or-treaters can stop for a warm drink and a friendly smile.
Not every Christian will make the same choice about how to observe the fall season in fun, memorable ways. Ask God to show you his plan for your family, and confidently follow along in the way that He guides you.