“So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
|These photos were taken several days ago. I assume these young people were starting an early celebration of Halloween since it was a Saturday at around 4:30 p.m.|
This post isn't meant to offend anyone. It is just an opportunity to be clear on my position concerning Halloween. I do not celebrate it and I have to say that lately I've been very alarmed to learn that so many Christians do seem to celebrate it.
It is virtually impossible not to see the influence of Halloween all throughout the month of October. Even on television, movie channels show scary movies and horror movies all month. Wherever you go in the stores there is row upon row of Halloween costumes for purchase. Retailers even clear out their regular stock until the "Halloween season" is over so they can make room for Halloween costumes. My local grocer even has put out a lot of Halloween decor this year but at least they have also put out harvest displays to balance it.
Whichever way you slice it, Halloween is big business. Very big business.
Individual consumers are spending increasing amounts of money on celebrating Halloween. The average American consumer planned to spend $66.28 on costumes, candy and decorations in 2010, up from $59.06 on Halloween in 2006, says the National Retail Federation. Canadians planned to spend $60 on Halloween in 2006 according to a similar survey by the Retail Council of Canada.
But retailer Value Village's 2011 annual Halloween shopping survey found the average Canadian planned to spend $300 on the big day - and pet owners planned to spend on average an extra $59 on their furry friends. Ken Alterman, president and chief executive of Value Village, says that Halloween sales have increased more than 35 percent over the last five years. It's a similar story over at Canadian Tire, where Halloween now represents the third most important seasonal category behind Christmas and summer backyard living.
(Source: "Halloween - A Really Sweet Business Opportunity", Susan Ward, About.com)
Christian perspectives on Halloween are strongly divided. Here are three differing views to consider:
- "... Halloween is anything but harmless. It focuses one's attention on witchcraft and demonism, which flies in the face of the holy God Almighty! When parents not only allow but also encourage their children to celebrate witches and goblins, they are teaching them that it's acceptable to deal in demonism." -- Jerold Aust from "Halloween: Behind the Mask"
- "... Rather than 'hide' in the face of evil, we should unabashedly and boldly create an alternative that is positive and uplifting; that celebrates good over evil and the triumph of God over Satan. We need to provide an environment that also makes room for heaps of fun while using the day as a 'teachable moment' to celebrate God's protection, provision and purpose for our lives." -- Elliott Watson from "Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?"
- "Not all believers should celebrate Halloween. For those who have been redeemed from the occult, Halloween in its foolishness may contain what was for them deadly seriousness ... It is understandable that they look with horror upon what once enslaved them. Such sensitivity may be appropriate for them, but it is not appropriate for the majority of Christians. Holding their opinions as appropriate for most believers is like having a former bulimic dictate how Christians should regard church hot-plate socials ... Christians should instead celebrate Halloween with gusto. If we follow the traditional formula of having a good time at his expense, Satan flees." -- Anderson M. Rearick III from "Matters of Opinion: Hallowing Halloween"
(Source: "What Does the Bible Say About Halloween?" by Mary Fairchild, About.Com)
I do not condemn those who choose to celebrate Halloween but I can evaluate whether I personally condone celebrating it for myself. The Bible doesn't actually say anything about Halloween but I think it provides a lot of guidelines about what is good and acceptable. For me, I find that the day is centered a lot around dark and sinister characters and the atmosphere is meant to be scary and dark (cemeteries in the night, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, zombies, blood and gore, etc.).
I don't like to be associated with the things of the dark. No matter how you try to dress it up as "fun" it is really not about fun stuff behind it all. I didn't always feel this way. As a child I also loved to dress up and go looking for candy. What child doesn't love to get free candy and lots of it?! Even back then there were annual scares about children finding apples with dangerous razor blades inside of them. Today in most towns and cities in my province, children don't go out alone to "trick or treat". They are usually escorted by their parents due to the dangers involved in going out alone, and often they don't go house to house "trick or treating" for candy, but go to organized events and parties instead.
A lot of people don't feel the way I do about Halloween and that is their choice. I know that the commercialization of the day promotes fun and frivolity and for young children, teens and adults. The day provides an excuse or opportunity to dress up and party and for some, another chance to drink. It has become customary here to celebrate Halloween on the Saturday before October 31st. That is so people can party throughout the night and not worry about having to get up in the morning to go to work. They use Sunday as a day to rest and recover before heading back to work on Monday. The young people I met in costume downtown (some in costume in photo above) had obviously been well into the drinks even though it was only 4:30 in the afternoon. There was a strong smell of alcohol on the young man who gave me a hug from behind when I was trying to snap his photo. I didn't get a good photo of him in costume.
I believe that Christians should consider whether the activities they engage in give glory to God. In this case, I would have to say that the activities of Halloween do not give glory to God, so I don't participate or encourage participation by those I am close to.
I also don't like all the commercialization which surrounds Halloween, or Christmas or any other holiday for that matter. When it comes to Halloween, I save money on not buying all the decor, costumes and candy that goes with the day. I also save money by not going out to party.
I try to remove myself from commercialization of the holidays even for Christmas. For example, as the children have grown, I don't give them gifts on an annual basis. However I might give them something they really need or want from time to time. Mostly we just spend time together and gather around a meal since we don't get to see each other that often. Another idea I like is taking all the funds we might have spent on gifts for one another and giving them to a local charity. This one is harder to implement because everyone has their own ideas as to what they want to do. Sometimes I just let my family members know not to buy me a gift and do something good for someone else instead.
In closing, I heard a great teacher, Dr. Jim Richards, on television recently, he said (paraphrasing) if you want to know who is influencing the world today, follow the money. Selah.
You may have other great ideas for how to celebrate the holiday spirit in ways that help others or give glory to God, whether it be Halloween, Christmas or other holiday.
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said. 'Wake up, 0 sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."