A monthly column by Vivienne Solomons who is a legal consultant who passionately believes that God wants His people to make a difference right where they are and to stand up for what is true and just. She is also passionate about encouraging young women to walk victoriously with God and she is engaged in a challenging faith journey as a parent of a child with special needs.
Earlier this week, while out grocery shopping, I noticed that the particular supermarket I was at, was selling large (actually very large) pumpkins, which were, of course, the perfect size for carving a jack lantern, a pumpkin lantern associated with Halloween. For a moment, I was that little girl of years gone by, excitedly looking forward to carving out a pumpkin with my brothers and watching our handiwork finally light up. And in that moment, I even considered buying it just so that I could do the same with my own children. It would be a fun family activity after all. But as a family, we have chosen not to celebrate Halloween, in other words, we don’t observe any of its customs or participate in any of its traditions. That’s not to say that my eldest child doesn’t ask us each year if he can dress up and go ‘trick or treating’ with his friends. Of course, over the years we have explained as best we can to a young child, the reasons for our decision, but this year, all of 9 years of age, he brought an additional argument in his attempt to sway us: Christians also celebrate Halloween, so why don’t we? Good question!
It is true that many Christians celebrate Halloween. And, of course, there are also those that don’t. Indeed, much has been written on the history of the celebration of Halloween throughout the centuries and many opinions abound as to the ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of the participation of Christians in the unofficial holiday that has become part of mainstream culture. In this regard, I have found some of Jamie Morgan’s, Pastor at Life Church in Williamstown, New Jersey thoughts on the matter helpful:
- God is the Giver of life. Should I celebrate a holiday that focuses on death?
- There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out all fear. Should I participate in a holiday that has fear as its very foundation?
- Witchcraft is detestable to God. Shouldn’t a holiday that promotes witchcraft (in all its forms and guises) be detestable to me as well?
- Halloween is a sacred high holiday for Wiccans (the official religion of those who practise witchcraft). Is this a holiday I (as a Christian) should celebrate alongside Wiccans?
- Is it cute to dress my child as the devil (or some other scary character)? What if I let him wear a fireman or some other ‘wholesome’ costume? As a believer, I need to be wise to what is good and innocent of evil. So if I allow him to participate in Halloween even while dressed in a ‘wholesome’ costume, wouldn’t I be sending him a mixed message by allowing him to participate in a celebration of what may be described as ‘evil’?
- Does Halloween bring glory to God? No, it doesn’t; it celebrates the devil.
When all is said and done, however, how we walk out our Christianity is a very personal decision. And yes, there is tremendous pressure on us as believers to conform to the pattern of this world and to do what everyone else is doing. Often it is simply just easier to go with the flow than to consider a matter (prayer)fully before committing ourselves to it. Moreover, what I have found is that just when I think I have won the fight as an adult, my child comes along and again I find myself pressured (albeit in a different way) to do what everyone else is doing. Yes, we all want (our kids) to fit in, to be accepted by peers and to have friends. But surely, this cannot be at the expense of what we believe and the values we hold dear.