Q: I have mixed feelings about how our family should be involved in Halloween. What should I do?
A: People come to different conclusions about celebrating Halloween, particularly if they have young children or grandchildren to consider.
For some people this holiday is a time for dress-up and candy; it is an opportunity for fun. Others express concern for their child’s safety or for the emphasis that is often made on violence or horror at this time of year.
Those who are interested in the right or wrong of the celebration may look at the holiday’s origin in the occult and believe it should not be celebrated at all; they are aware that some groups celebrate Halloween as a tribute to Satan.
On the other hand, others recognize that Halloween, the eve of “All Saints’ Day” (November 1), is also associated with Martin Luther and the Reformation. They celebrate the religious freedoms won at that time in history. Since each of these perspectives contain truth, it is difficult to know how to respond.
We encourage each family to develop their own approach to Halloween based on their own convictions and the options for celebration available to them. The responsibility to make this decision rests on the adults in the family, not the children. The peer pressure on children is far too great for them to be objective. Certainly, providing a safe, fun environment must be a priority.
Some parents adapt the traditional Halloween practices, while others develop totally different alternatives. These alternatives may include fall festival parties where children are encouraged to dress in a particular theme such as positive cartoon or book characters, famous historical characters, or Bible heroes.
Carrying out that theme with simple acting can be great fun and an opportunity for teaching values as well. Children will always be attracted to costumes and treats; finding positive ways to enjoy these pleasures is the primary challenge for caring adults.
If you decide to make a major change in the way your family celebrates Halloween, you may not need to do all the work yourself. We would encourage you to contact churches in your area to determine what activities are being planned.
Rather than separate completely from the night’s activities, some Christians give gospel tracts along with treats to children who come to their homes and make Halloween an opportunity to witness for Christ. Others offer safe places for lighthearted fun.