The past few days multiple people have asked me what I’m doing for Halloween. Almost every time I said I didn’t celebrate it I was met with looks of confusion. How could anyone not want to celebrate Halloween? This holiday is so ingrained in our culture that people don’t even understand how someone wouldn’t celebrate it.
I get it. Growing up, Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays. As a child I loved dressing up, eating tons of candy, and decorating the house to make it look haunted. As a teenager I loved buying eggs and toilet paper and vandalizing things under the cover of night. As a young adult, I loved having an excuse to get smashed at parties with girls who were dressed in skimpy costumes. I always saw it as a time of great fun and mischief, but as you can see from the past few sentences, that's not necessarily a good thing.
Once I became a Christian I started to see Halloween differently. My eyes were opened to all the darkness surrounding this holiday, and how it had led me to do some bad things in the past. There is all the mischief and debauchery it encourages. There is the glorification of evil and death. There is the rampant consumerism. Even though some parts of Halloween are probably harmless, overall the fruits are pretty rotten. I don’t see how a Christian can look at it objectively and say they can’t see anything wrong with it. Most of the defenses I’ve heard for Halloween sound a lot like rationalizations. Things like, “It’s just a fun time for kids. It’s not hurting anyone," or "We don't celebrate the bad parts of Halloween."
The main question I have to ask is, “Would God really want me to participate in this?” If you simply looked at Halloween with no previous knowledge, what would you see? “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit.” (Luke 6:43-44) People dressing up as witches and devils, haunted houses full of things glorifying gore and death, vandalism, consumerism, people using it as an excuse to party excessively. The list of wicked things Halloween encourages is lengthy. The fruit of this holiday is usually darkness. Is having a little fun really worth it? Most people who celebrate Halloween probably aren’t directly worshipping the devil or anything, but why even give the appearance that the things celebrated on Halloween are ok?
St. Paul talked about giving things up for the sake of others in his first letter to the Corinthians. “Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” (1 Corinthians 8:8-13)
Foregoing Halloween can be difficult. There is something about it that is indeed fun, but is that fun worth the darkness it can lead to? It is easy to get sucked in, especially with the culture we live in, but as Christians our lives are supposed to look a little different. Why even be associated with the darkness of Halloween? What kind of example does that show? As Christians we need to remember we live in the world, but we aren’t of the world. We should be able to sacrifice a little bit of fun for the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ.
William Joseph Scheremet