Halloween - 3 - Responses
So, we've heard some about Halloween's Roots and some Rumors about the holiday. How should people who follow Jesus respond to Halloween? There are a number of different ways that Christians have chosen to respond in these situations. If done with a right heart, all can be honoring to God.
1) Avoid - In order to keep one's children pure, some parents decide to simply avoid connection to the holiday altogether. They will miss school on the day of the party, go out to eat or have a family movie night during trick or treating, and avoid all costumes and anything to do with Halloween. They might take this opportunity to serve the poor or spend extra time in the spiritual formation of kids through additional Bible Study or prayer. It is critical that parents who choose to avoid not be overtly critical or condemning in their approach to the holiday or in their approach to followers of Christ who choose one of the other strategies on Halloween.
2) Engage - Others see Halloween as a prime opportunity to engage within the culture. The idea here is to allow kids to participate in pure ways in the Halloween fun. These parents will help their kids to choose appropriately fun and creative costumes that do not celebrate death or evil. Kids attend parties and go trick or treating as a part of a broader community in order to build relationships and be an influence. Those who choose the engagement strategy point out that this is the one day of the year when all of your neighbors come knocking on your door. It is also a day when you can visit everybody's house and spend a few moments with a trick-or-treat...or a few house with neighbors and their kids running around the neighborhood. Those who are best at the engagement strategy take it a step higher. Some might have hot chocolate available for parents in their driveway and take a few more minutes to chat with people who pass by. Others will invite their block to come over for a chili supper and candy-swap after the trick or treating.
3) Triumph - The last group of people see Halloween as something to triumph over. They do a fall holdiay bigger-and-better than the normal culture. Some churches put on an all-out Fall Festival that is more fun than the best Halloween party in town. They invite friends to their party so that they can see the power of Christian Community in action. Others will dress up as Bible Characters in order to create opportunities for dialog. Some have alternative fall parties in their homes as worship/fellowship opportunities for fellow Christ followers OR as outreach opportunities for people from all spiritual backgrounds.
For all of these groups, it is imperative to be kind to others who respond in different ways. Navigating cultural challenges can be tricky business. There are many ways to represent Christ well without submitting to the dangers that a broader culture can bring.