I find it a curious comparison between Jesus’ analogy that an evil spirit will return to a “house swept clean”, taking along multiple other spirits more evil than itself, and the popular franchise store called Spirit that fills vacant store buildings nationwide at this time of year promoting Halloween paraphernalia. According to his description, the Lord concludes that the end condition of those involved is worse than ever (Lu 11:24-26). The connection seems eerie.
So as not to convey the impression of imposing personal restrictions upon others, it should be stated clearly that Scripture does not require that Christians abstain from participation in the holiday of Halloween. Of course, the specific holiday is not cited in the Bible, nor are secular holidays necessarily restricted under the New Covenant. In fact, we are reminded of the principle that all things are permissible, just not always beneficial. Permissible, however, does not condone all things and it does come with accountability. It simply conveys the truth that each person is allowed to make their own choice without predetermined, one-size-fits-all boundaries.
However. There are significant boundaries for Christians. Much like Cain and Abel, we are invited to offer our lives and choices of worship before God. Those who strive to seek honor of his Name ahead of their own preferences in their daily doings gain the favor of Heaven. Those who attempt to justify their own desires risk defiance against the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
If the basic motivations aim at promoting godliness into the celebrations, I believe it is possible for Christians to honor God while participating in Halloween related activities. I also think it very likely that many who claim Christianity willingly violate numerous Biblical principles and invoke un-beneficial curses against themselves.
Here are several principles worth contemplating for those desirous of putting God’s will ahead of their own on Halloween. This sampling from the word of God equally applies to the whole vampire phenomena popularized by recent movies.
- Struggles in this life are not primarily between people, but instigated by very real demon powers that seek to damage the lives of those who let their guard down. Eph 6:12
- Witches on brooms. Whether in desperation or in play, “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.” Following after them will guarantee the wrath of God. Lev 19:31, 20:6, Gal 5:20-21
- The historical claim is that Christians redeemed Hallow’s eve by convincing the superstitious that costumes resembling the dead, who apparently came back to life on that eve, were just fun outfits and that they wouldn’t really die if caught by those mummies. The Bible is less flippant with the eternal consequences for turning from God to do our own thing and attributes that lie to Satan not Christians. Gen 3:4
- In contrast to the ancient myth, God warns those who celebrate wickedness that they will stubble around in dark fear pursued not by ghouls but by his own angel of death. Psa 35:6
- Imitation is said to be the most sincere form of honor. Based on the decorations and costumes which glamorize death, darkness, violence, and deformity, even in smiling skulls and fanged pumpkins, the one being honored is the murderer from the beginning. Jn 8:44
- God does not masquerade the macabre or the misleading. He represents himself in normal ways we can relate to like in the Son of man, in burning bushes, clouds, thunder, glowing rocks, healthy vines, and gentle whispers. In dramatic contrast, Satan disguises himself as a deceptive snake, a man-eating lion, the accuser before the guilty, the genie of great wealth and power, a fire-breathing dragon, and a cute angel of light in an adorable ballerina costume. 1 Pet 5:8, 2 Cor 11:14
- If our chosen masks demonstrate avoidance against authority, a lack of belief in Jesus, pleasure in the vile, promotion of the violent, acceptance of the sexually explicit, honor of the magical, allegiance to leaders exercising ungodly power, or anything that misrepresents the truth “their place will be in the fiery lake”. Rev 21:8
- Costumes are recommended for believers. Rather than what is externally popular in culture, they look like themselves, secretly dressed for battle. Eph 6:11
- God does not want anything to do with those who enjoy the perverse or who tolerate whatever represents evil. Psa 101:4
- Satan has an agenda to attack the little ones. Those who dismiss him as just a pitchfork welding cartoon, and don’t take his stalking serious, will give him a foothold in their lives and the lives of their children. Eph 4:27, Jms 4:7
- Horror stories, scary theme-parks, and gory details play on the inherent fears in our nature, but that spirit is not from God. He does not give us a spirit of fear and instead often tells his faithful not to fear. Only the disobedient would entertain such a dark spirit and call it fun. 2 Tim 1:7 (KJV)
- Whatever we concentrate the eye of our interests upon reveals the full condition of our heart. Motives are the key. Mt 6:23, 1 Sam 16:7
- If celebrations are geared toward personal entertainment without clearly glorifying the Lord, their source is of the netherworld. Living for pleasure is a living death. 1 Tim 5:6, Gal 6:8
- Christians don’t trick others. And we don’t put on masks to disguise our greed, even if our agenda is just candy, because character is the same in the little things as much as in the big things. How we present ourselves isn’t about gaining compliments from others. Are these the truths we teach our kids? 1 Thes 2:3-6
- If we want to uphold our claim as Christians, we are instructed to pursue that which reflects light and avoids things of darkness. Otherwise we are called liars. 1 Jn 1:6
- Whether on Halloween, Christmas, or whatever today is, think about what is true, lovely, pure, and right before God. Make such thoughts evident in your pursuits. Celebrating death is just dumb. Phi 4:8
- Have nothing to do with the worthless deeds of darkness. Instead, we are commanded to expose that which dishonors God…like Halloween. We are not to even participate in those things we know are just God-absent myths and nonsense. Eph 5:11, 1 Tim 4:7
- Why act and look like everyone else who disdains our God? Why not put on Christ? God’s appeal is that we “come out of her”. Rev 18:4, Jer 51:45
All things are permissible for a Christian. The Bible doesn’t say we can’t engage our world, even on Halloween. But what we do and why we do it will reveal the motives of our heart. Eventually, our costume will be removed and the real us will be exposed…clothed in Christ, or naked and rejected.
Practical Theology takes the subtle and glaring evidences of God’s desires, as noted in Scripture, and strives to reflect them in the freedoms of our choices. For those with the grace to receive what is presented here, may God bless your life and your family as you seek to honor him this holiday.
Be holy on every eve.
How have you engaged Halloween revelers without compromising your Christian integrity?