The Main Reason We Don't Celebrate Halloween

(This photo has nothing to do with the post, the boys just decided to go "fishing", and it was so cute.)

I didn't realize when I started this prompt series that one of the first subjects would end up being such a touchy one, at least when a person has my angle on it.

I've never celebrated Halloween.

Growing up, we always went to "harvest festivals" sometime during the month of October, but we avoided events on the actual day, holed up in our home with pizza and a movie.  We never got Trick-or-Treaters because we lived in such a rural area.  None of my friends really celebrated Halloween either.

As I became an adult, I not only never felt the need to celebrate it, but I also actively campaigned against it (you long-timers on here might remember a strongly worded blog post back in the day).  As a Christian, I didn't feel good about Halloween, and for a long time I had a hard time understanding other Christians who had no qualms about the holiday.  

I like to think I've grown quite a bit in my understanding of Christian liberty over the years.  (Read Romans 14-15:6 - that whole thing.)  I get now that a lot of Christians view Halloween as just an innocent kids' holiday, an opportunity to make memories and meet the neighbors, and they have freedom to celebrate it.  The Holy Spirit convicts us in different ways on these non-essential issues, and that's okay!  It's not something to argue about, or think less of anyone over, no matter which side you stand on.

As I've come to recognize that Halloween most likely falls under the umbrella of Christian liberty, and as I've had children who I've had to explain this whole issue to, it's forced me to further iron out my reasons for not celebrating Halloween.  I get that a lot of holidays could have pagan origins or connections, and I'm not one to abandon Christmas because pagans a long time ago worshipped trees or something - so the pagan origins of Halloween are a factor for me (because it's so strongly rooted in paganism), but not necessarily a reason by itself anymore.  We still live in a fallen world, and sin still contaminates everything; evil, neutral, and good.  So why do I still choose not to celebrate it (besides having sensitive kids who wouldn't be into it anyway)?

First let me lay a little groundwork for my personal reasoning - as Christians, we know that Jesus came to give us life, eternal life, life more abundantly!

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10

He came to free us from the consequences of our sin when we trust inHim to save us, to take our punishment, to defeat death by rising again!

So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
 “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54-56

So the bottom line for me is this: if all that is true and Jesus came to give us life, I just don't have a desire to focus on a holiday that, at it's root, glorifies everything to do with death.

When I talk to my kids about why we don't celebrate Halloween, that is what I say.  I say that some people believe in Jesus and think Halloween is fun, but for our family, we want to focus on light and life, because that is what Jesus gives us.  So far, they get it, and we just do our own thing on October 31st!  (This year I think we are actually going to celebrate Reformation Day, at my kids' request, since it also falls on October 31st.)

To finish this off, I'd just like to say if you love Jesus and enjoy the innocent parts of Halloween, I'm not here to argue or persuade you to give it up.  Like I said, I believe this is a non-essential issue that each Christian should prayerfully determine their own stance on, and I'm fine if you disagree with my take on Halloween.  I know there are even a lot of Christians that use it as an opportunity for evangelism, which I think is wonderful and needed.  I won't judge you, and I hope you won't read into anything I said either.  But that's how I handle Halloween.


Next up...well, I'm skipping meal-planning and daily-daily planning, because I don't do either of those things well, so next will probably be an update on my littlest lady!  She just turned eleven months old, which means birthday planning is in full swing!

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Michelle said...

I loved reading this and your reasoning. I’ve been all over the map with Halloween. My parents didn’t let me participate when I was very young. As a I got a little older, they let me trick or treat with friends, but my mom always made it clear that she does not approve of Halloween and why. By middle school, I didn’t want anything to do with it and have totally avoided it since. I’ve never had Gracie dress up or go trick or treating, and I’m still not sure how I will handle it in the future for various reasons. We do talk about why ghosts and witches are not real or godly and why we want nothing to do with those. I err on the side of not celebrating it, but I can also see why people view it as innocent fun since I did a little of that as a kid. For me, it was just like paying dress up and hanging out with my friends. I never liked the creepy stuff anyway! It feels a little like playing with fire, though, and I love what you said about focusing on light and life.

Natalie@She Builds Her Home said...

Callie, I love this post! Such a good balance of grace and truth and I completely agree with you that Halloween is a non-essential issue that falls under Christian liberty! That is such a good way to put it. When the girls were little we had a year or two where we didn't really do anything and spent a lot of time in prayer trying to figure out how we wanted to handle Halloween, and ultimately we both found that we weren't really that convicted not to (though I can totally see both sides of it and really see and respect the reasons you choose not to- those were considerations for us, too!) We generally stay away from any creepy stuff and just let the kids dress up for fun and trick or treat in their grandparents neighborhood and sometimes will go to a community trunk or treat or fall festival type thing, but that's about it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in such a graceful way! I, too, feel like I've grown a lot in being non judgmental when Christians choose to do things differently. It's very freeing, isn't it?

Amanda Bumgarner said...

I can totally see your thoughts on this! Jordan's parents didn't "do" Halloween when he was growing up, and in fact we were arguing last year about whether our kids would trick-or-treat because he didn't do it growing up and I did and want to do it with our kids! I think it's fun, but I don't like all the creepy stuff either and don't understand why parents let their kids dress up in really gross/scary costumes. I definitely agree that there are certain subjects that people can feel specific convictions about that aren't essential. I don't about Halloween, but in fact last year our friend's hosted a Reformation Party, and we went to that! But R did dress up like a bumble bee and it was the cutest :)

Bekah said...

I really appreciated your post! My parents are very (VERY VERY VERY VERY) conservative, so the fact that I was allowed to dress up for Halloween as a kid still boggles my mind. We lived in the country, so there was no Trick or Treating in the neighborhood, but our church had a party for it each year (not actually on the day) so I could wear my costume there and get safe treats from the church people. I never celebrated it as an adult mostly because for 16 years I lived in an extremely questionable neighborhood - and I was single - and didn't want to risk my life over some candy. Now that I'm married and living in a seemingly safer area, we do get candy for the kiddos that come by. And sometimes I dress Ryan up in a costume to wear to work because it makes his patients smile. (As a bald guy, he makes a FABULOUS Mr. Clean and Charlie Brown.) But I don't decorate for it or get all into it. And I have to say, I appreciate your dedication to your convictions and your simultaneous grace for others with different convictions! (And I will also confess I do celebrate the 50% off candy sales after the fact. Bring me some cheap chocolate!!!!!!)

Rachel said...

Neither Angel nor I celebrated Halloween growing up, and I can't imagine doing so--in a way, it's just not part of our "culture." However, here, we are faced with many holidays that have no ties to Christianity and a lot of roots in other religions...and we do participate in going to our friends' homes and joining their family dinners and giving money to children on Chinese New Year...we don't celebrate these holidays for ourselves, but I believe that avoiding our community when they are celebrating together would not be helpful to our witness in this community. In the same way, we invite people of other backgrounds to our Christmas and Easter dinners and Thanksgiving and talk about the meanings behind our celebrations! Holidays are a great opportunity to discuss truth!

Anonymous said...

I love your post. I'm norwegian and in Norway we didn't celebrate Halloween until someone "adopted" it some years ago. Now "everyone" celebrate it here. Some churches has made a more friendly celebration on Halloween. It's called "HalloFriend". The churches invite children/youth to do a lot of activities in the Church. When they finish an activity they get some sweets they can put in their baskets. The children can wear costumes- like princess costumes, animal costumes or something like that.It's not allowed to wear scary costumes. It's wonderful to see all the smiling faces when we celebrate "HalloFriend" in our Church. Maybe you can do something like this in your Church? The children loves it and the come back year after year. In our church we have met many families who are not members of our church. They have told us that they are so glad we make a celebration like this for the children in our town. Anne

Sarah said...

I never celebrated Halloween growing up. Our family tradition was to turn the lights out and play hide and go seek in the dark. I would be completely fine if Halloween went away entirely. Christopher's family dressed up and did the normal things so it's been a compromise in our marriage. Last year we did trunk or treat with our church and this year we might do something with friends. I let Annabelle dress up but we talk about the negative sides of halloween and why we don't participate or decorate for it. I think she might have a hard time understanding why we acknowledge some parts and not others but honestly that's something I struggle with too! We celebrate Christmas but Santa is as much a party of the festivities as snowmen are. He's part of the package but not the main attraction. It can be a tricky balance.

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