It's OK for Christians to Enjoy Halloween

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Halloween is literally the one day of the year that an entire neighborhood will abandon its walled fortresses of insulation and, for once, hang out together.
Halloween is literally the one day of the year that an entire neighborhood will abandon its walled fortresses of insulation and, for once, hang out together. (Flickr/Creative Commons)

We've all done it. Your kids have scored about 12 pounds of candy over Halloween and they think they've hidden it well. But at some point you, as an adult who can very easily go to the store and buy your own candy, sneak into their room while they're sleeping and pull out your favorites.

When they notice the next day (and believe me, they'll notice) you try to tell them you only took candy you knew they wouldn't like. It doesn't work. But you don't care. Because this time of year means everyone becomes a candy obsessed kid again.

Let me just begin by saying that I realize that some people feel a strong conviction to not celebrate Halloween. That's cool. I respect your convictions.

But quite often I hear of Christians who have no such convictions feeling pressure to do the same. And I wanted to write this to show that there may be another viewpoint for Halloween that is not only valid, but may be even biblical. We don't need any more faith bullies.

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We do need people who can love each other even when they disagree. And while I have a feeling a lot of people are going to disagree with me, I'll try my best to explain why I believe it's OK for Christians to enjoy Halloween.

When I was growing up, my family didn't celebrate Halloween.

My parents reluctantly allowed me to go to a friend's house across town to trick-or-treat because I was a kid and candy was my love language, but when I got home I distinctly remember the porch light being turned off and the door locked. It was our way of saying that we were Christians and we did not support this, the devil's holiday. And I didn't really care because I was a kid and I had my candy. But as I grew older, I began to see that this day is a tough one for a lot of Christians to reconcile.

There are really two ways to view Halloween if you're a Christian.

1. It's a night dedicated to glorifying the devil and all things evil. Witches, ghosts, and frightening things are the antithesis of God's kingdom, therefore we should stay as far away from them as possible. But because it's a holiday (and we Americans really like our holidays) and the kids are begging for candy, we'll throw a "harvest party" instead. That way we can still celebrate Halloween without celebrating Halloween.

2. It's a holiday and as long as you're not celebrating the demonic but just having fun, it's not a big deal. I can enjoy dressing up and getting/giving candy without being a Satan worshiper. Everyone just needs to chill out.

Obviously these are oversimplifications and people fall along all different aspects of these spectrums, but hopefully you get my point. But I would contend that there are two other ways to view Halloween that hardly anyone talks about, and how you approach these viewpoints will in many ways color your take on Halloween entirely.

It has to do with whether or not you believe Halloween is a predominantly spiritual or cultural holiday.

If you hate Halloween, chances are you view it almost entirely through the lens of a spiritual holiday. To you, the witches and goblins and spiders and ghosts represent a deeper spiritual reality—that darkness in the world is real and the demonic is not something to be made into plastic and silicone.

You reject the day because you don't want to associate with something that is, below the surface, celebrating evil. You have issues with the origins of the day, the spirit of the day, or whatever, and you figure it's just best to ignore it completely. And you probably see fellow Christians who like it as "playing with fire" in a sense because they don't understand what they're dealing with.

If you enjoy Halloween, chances are you view it almost entirely as a cultural holiday. Sure there are spiders and cobwebs and ghosts, but it's more of a carnival feel than a spiritual one. You probably get annoyed by the over-spiritualization of the people who don't like it, because to you it's just a fun night to be out with the neighbors, dress your kids up, and get and give candy.

You had fun participating as a kid, and that's all it really is to you, an enjoyable event shared by all. Sure there may be a few neighbors who go overboard, but you just skip those houses and as long as you look out for your kiddos, everyone can have a great time.

More than anything, the spiritual versus cultural viewpoint is the crux of the disagreement between Christians who do and don't celebrate the holiday. And while I fall more in line with it being a cultural holiday, I think there are a few things that the spiritual holiday camp might want to consider before they once again ignore the day completely.

Halloween is literally the one day of the year that an entire neighborhood will abandon its walled fortresses of insulation and, for once, hang out together. This seems to be the very thing so many Christians long for, yet on the one night it happens we lock our doors and turn off our lights because we don't approve of the spirit behind whatever it is they're doing.

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