The Obligatory “Halloween Is Bad” Post

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Witch's brew“Halloween is bad!” said my son just the other day.

That wasn’t how I was raised, though. My good Christian mother went into overdrive to handmake our costumes. More than once as a child I won the best costume award at my school. That same creative spirit in my mother extended to me, and by the time I was in my teens I was winning awards for costumes I made myself. During the energy crisis of the 1970s, I dreamed up “Super Arab,” a kind of Snidely Whiplash-like character dressed in Saudi garb with a giant felt oil derrick on my back and a bag of phony Franklins that I would shove in the faces of parents and say, “Look who’s got your money now!” Those parents got a BIG kick out of that one.

If only I had known how that would turn out in the long run.

Anyway…

I’m one of those crazy ones who believes he’s witnessed the whole Halloween thing take a decidedly more nefarious turn. Despite some essays that Halloween is a most Christian holiday, and despite protests that this Christian event has been co-opted by neo-pagans, the fact remains: it’s been co-opted by neo-pagans.

So my wife and I, despite going out as kids pretty regularly for Trick or Treating, have given a thumbs down to Halloween. Our son has most definitely picked that up and he tosses off the “Halloween is bad” mantra without much coaxing from us.

Blame us if you will for being freaky charismatics that are constantly on the lookout for demons hiding behind this tree or that, but despite the fact that a lot of high-profile Christian bloggers have poo-poohed such anti-Halloween vigilance, I’m going to defend my position here with one bit of logic that no one is discussing: We’re not raising our kids for 2005.

What do I mean by that? Well, isn’t it the goal of every parent to raise their children for the future? Given what I’ve seen in the rise of neo-pagan practices in just the last twenty years, I’ve got to believe it’s going to get worse instead of better. Earlier this year I was drawn into a conversation on an Emerging Church website of some renown where the topic was whether it was possible to be a Christian Wiccan. Trust me, I never in a million years thought anyone would be trying to combine those two, but there you have it.

Compromise comes through the little things. One day your daughter is preferring to wear black all the time, the next thing you know she tells you she’s into the Goth scene, and before you can say “Transylvania!” she’s running around with kids who fashion themselves to be vampires, even going so far as to drink each other’s blood. Satan looks for chinks in the armor and he’s had a long time perfecting his technique.

Who knows what my son will confront twenty years from now? All I know is that I’m trying to prepare him for that day. If my wife and I have ruined what some believe to be just another attempt by the greeting card industry to make some more cash, then so be it. I’m willing to err on the side of caution. Twenty years from now when some worldwide bastardization of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and whatever “-ism” they throw in the mix is masquerading as the new religion of the enlightened, I hope all children now being raised in Christian homes will have enough grounding in rejecting even the slightest hint of evil that the Lord will still find faith on Earth when He returns.

It’s going to cost something, too. Even now my son is missing his preschool Halloween party. That was a tough decision, but it’s a decision we made. We may not go to our church’s Halloween-alternative party, either, because I’ve never been a fan of Christians trying to redeem every worldly activity. Some things are best left rotten rather than trying to wash the stink off them and bring them into the Church. I’m still divided on that one. Ask me again on Tuesday.

I’ve got to admit that I do have some level of admiration for Christians who fire up the BBQ, hand out food and drinks, and try to use Halloween as an opportunity to witness to parents and kids trolling through the neighborhood. That fits with my image of Christians being the most hospitable people in any neighborhood. Still, I’ve got to wonder at what point we bag the whole thing because Halloween keeps taking one more step over the line.

Most people reading this today aren’t prophets, but I think that many of us know what’s coming down the road. Call me a prophet of doom, but I’m less encouraged by the day that things are going to get better rather than worse. Bunker mentality? Perhaps. But I think it’s wise to have one foot in the bunker right now rather than being a hundred miles away from it.

What’s happening to Halloween is just a symptom of a greater problem. As for me and my house, we’re going to serve the Lord. That doesn’t mean you can’t send your kids out Trick or Treating or dress up yourself as Mr. Incredible or Elastigirl if you want to and hand out candy. It’s just not something that’s worth it for us anymore.

See also: The Church and the Halloween Alternative Party

12 thoughts on “The Obligatory “Halloween Is Bad” Post

  1. Robert

    I love Halloween! For one night of the year, the playstations are turned off, the TV sets are darkened and neighborhood kids actually visit their neighbors, albeit for decidedly selfish reasons. We regularly hand out candy to over 200 kids in our neighborhood. When the day arrives that a seven-year-old Spiderman or a five-year-old PowerPuff Girl begins chanting Wiccan curses over my property as I toss a snickers bar into their bag, I might reconsider. Until then, I refuse to give up a few hours of kindness and generosity and neighborly civility. Perhaps that’s just what Satan hopes we will do.

  2. Gaddabout

    I think the practice of Christians demonizing other Christians for participating in Halloween is a basic example of legalism. It’s right up there with correcting a brother who eats pork and drinks a glass of wine.

    However, Christians have a right to honor or not honor anything they wish in their own good conscience. I think the problem non-Christians have with Christians who choose not to participate in Halloween is a more fundamental problem; they are essentially saying they have a problem with Christian parents who choose to influence their children’s spiritual choices, and I think that really grinds on some people who have hope of growing a more secular world.

  3. Just a reader

    What a masterful plan! While families spend a rare evening walking up and down the street visiting their neighbors, the christians have fled the neighborhood altogether, huddled in an equally cultic “fall festival” at church. This sort of christian xenophobia should delight the devil to no end.

  4. Daniel Nairn

    Hopefully we all agree that the decision whether or not to celebrate Halloween is a “food offered to idols” matter � something which Christians ought not pass judgment on each other for � but I don’t think that alone resolves the issue. The real point is not the etymology of the word or the history of this holiday, but, as your post says, what it means now. We are communicating in everything we do, and it takes a reading of culture to know what we are saying by participating or not.

    That being said: I also agree that Halloween is being adopted by neo-pagans. When I lived near Salem Massachusetts, I remember hotel rooms would be reserved for miles around as people flew in to commemorate the Salem witch trials on Halloween. This phenomenon really is growing. My parents also never thought twice about Halloween, but language changes.

    I plan on attending a costume party for our small group, because I highly doubt it will cause anyone to stumble, but it is certainly something to be weary of. Good post.

  5. Anonymous

    this Christian event has been co-opted by neo-pagans, the fact remains: it’s been co-opted by neo-pagans.

    But on the same token – so has Christmas, Easter and just about everything else.

  6. candleman98

    My fours kids ( 7,5,3 and 21 mo), had much fun participating in Trick or Treat in our new neighborhood. With a great mixture of Retiree�s and young families it is an event enjoyed by all in the neighborhood. The retiree�s seem to be flooded with memories of years gone by when they were in the stage of life my wife and I are in, as they excitely answer the door, and see the smiling faces of four clowns saying �trick or treat�.

    Our rules: No witches, goblins, skeleton or otherwise obnoxious costum. This year all four kids were clowns. Other years they have been princesses or pumpkins.

    Dan, I find this quote of yours uncharacteristically slippery slope of you. It�s a little exteme don�t ya think?

    Compromise comes through the little things. One day your daughter is preferring to wear black all the time, the next thing you know she tells you she’s into the Goth scene, and before you can say “Transylvania!” she’s running around with kids who fashion themselves to be vampires, even going so far as to drink each other’s blood. Satan looks for chinks in the armor and he’s had a long time perfecting his technique.

    {{{Candleman}}}

    A Christian parent, who loves the Lord, went �trick or treating� with his four clowns and has a household that serves the Lord. One does not negate the other.

  7. JuLee

    halloween is bad … not because we go trick or treating.. but because of the background and significance of how halloween came to be ..

    • thea foltz

      You may be for halloween. You may be against Halloween. But there will always be opposing sides. There is a solution so that both sides may come together. “Tombstone treats for God’s kids” is great news for our church kids! Check this program out and pass the good news along. It’s a two hour program in book form that just may change the livesof kids evedrywhere forever.

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