I allowed my daughter to go trick-or-treating last year for the first time, and it was the last time I'd do such a thing. I kept being nudged by the Holy Spirit that we were not glorifying God in word or deed by costuming up and joining others in doing so.
In fact, I felt that I had grieved the Holy Spirit by giving in to my daughter's peer-pressured begging to take her around the neighborhood. Sure, I knew most of the people she asked for candy, but not all of them. I certainly couldn't tell who was who behind masks and makeup.
That's the scary thing about Halloween: costume children up and let them loose to wander neighborhoods, going right up to just anyone's door -- even a sexual predator. No one knows who is who behind masks and candy-filled doors. But that's not even why God two-by-four'd me into not ever doing Halloween again.
It was this: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. [Philippians 4:8 NIV].
What is true about hiding behind masks and makeup, especially with the absolute evil-looking costumes available now? What is noble about begging for candy? What is right about taking kids to strangers' doors after telling them to never talk with strangers? What is pure or lovely about witches, zombies, fake blood, or anything else in stores' Halloween sections? What is admirable about telling children one thing in Sunday School then taking them out to trick-or-treat?
The answer to all those questions is one word: nothing.
Halloween is based in the satanic. It coincides with Samhain, which is the witches' new year for people who practice the pagan religion, which is also satanic. One particular website encourages pagan parents to blend Halloween with their rituals that honor their dead (which include communication to the dead) for their children.
For Christians, the fact that Halloween and Samhain coincide is all the more reason to put away their jack o'lanterns, spiders, bats, and other Halloween/Samhain symbols. Do we, as followers of Christ, really want to encourage the celebration of witchcraft to our children?
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (ESV) is very clear about witchcraft and communicating with the dead: "There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you."
Christians cannot think that they can ride the fence on this issue. We are to be in the world but not of the world -- and that includes Halloween.
Some might say, "What about Christmas trees? They're pagan!" The answer to that is a resounding yes -- and no. Like anything the world argues about, they serve up half-truths with their pumpkin spice lattes. According to The History of Christmas Trees:
"The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. Christians use it as a sign of everlasting life with God."
Some Christians display evergreen trees in their homes as a way of celebrating Christ's birth. Some Christians don't. The difference between Halloween and Christmas celebrations is that there is nothing redeeming or holy about Halloween.
Like evergreen trees, some Christians and pagans use family altars -- one is to worship God, the other, satan. If you do not worship God, you worship satan: "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters," [Matthew 12:30 NIV] There is no in-between. There is no fence-riding.
This year, and for years to come, my daughter will not be trick-or-treating. Our porch light will be off and blinds closed. Is this a time to mix and mingle with other costumed folk as a way to share Christ? Perhaps. But with everyone hidden away behind masks and makeup, who can tell the Christian apart from the horde?
That, my friend, is the entire point. We need to be different than the horde.
(C) 2018 Terrie Bentley McKee
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