Until more recent years my biggest problem with Halloween was not being able to put on my pyjamas in the early evening in case I had to open the front door to trick or treat-ers. Now, however, as pertinent a predicament as that still is, I find the dilemma as a Christian is somewhat greater.
Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the 8th century November 1st became a day to honour saints, which adopted many of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve and later Halloween. For a while, Halloween was a Christian festival. Now, due partly to the rise in commercialism, in this country at least, it has become a massive phenomenon where the whole country celebrates ghosts and witchcraft, and where it is perfectly acceptable for young children dressed as vampires to ring our doorbell demanding sweets.
As a Christian, I am well aware that the Bible states that witchcraft, witches, and sorcery are an abomination to God. If you want persuading, see for example Leviticus 20:27. Personally, I therefore don’t want myself or my children to have anything to do with celebrating this festival.
However, we now, wonderfully, live in a pocket of community in Coventry, where through the local shops, library, and most of all through the kids’ school, we know and love our neighbours. It will tonight be our friends and their children who come knocking on our door trick or treating, and our next-door neighbours themselves whose houses are decorated for the ‘festival’.
Above all, I don’t want those we love who don’t yet love Jesus to see Christians as mean, as spoil sports, and as those who don’t want to take part in local community. The God we love is a God of goodness, fun, light, love, and generosity, and tonight of all nights is an opportunity for seeking to share that news.
Therefore, although our children will not be taking part in the local door knocking, there is a stash of sweets in my kitchen awaiting those who appear on our doorstep tonight, and I will be very careful about how I communicate what I think to those I chat to at the school gates. Moreover, we have invited many of our school friends to the children’s Light Party taking part tonight as a way of giving our friends a glimpse of someone far far better than the gods of this age that have blinded the eyes of so many around us.
What do you think? How do you use Halloween to show Jesus to those around you? I’d love to hear how you approach this time of year?