Churches and Halloween


Should churches participate in Halloween events such as Trick or treating? Trunk or Treating? Do it on a different day? Call it a fall festival? Or not participate at all? This topic seems to be a debatable one amongst many churches.

Let's look at some of the Pro's, those who are in favor of having or participating in some type of Halloween event.

#1 One pastor stated he likes handing out candy, he gets to meet everyone in the neighborhood. He says he is generous maybe giving out the BIG candy bars and all the kids will really boast about going to his house. OK, this could put the Pastor and his family in a good light to those outside of the church by being generous, and saying hi to the neighbors can show you are a welcoming person.

#2 Another pastor stated that even Jesus went and dined with the sinners and tax collectors, he hung out with them and was chastised for it. This Pastor felt that being out in the community is a good way to meet them and we are supposed to go out into the highways and byways and compel them. So handing out candy and flyers about your church's kids programs is a cunning way to get them into the church.

#3 Another church has a fall festival, with a lot of games and candy and costumes, but not the evil costumes. And they don't do it on Halloween, they do it like the weekend before.

I guess we have to look at what Halloween really is. What one may think it is, is a lot different than what it actually is and means. If you think Halloween is just candy and costumes and nothing more, well, ok, it may be that all you do is just that, dress in a costume and ask for candy, but what you are indeed doing is participating in a ritual. You are exposing yourself to things that are associated with that ritual and tradition.

1900 years ago was the approximate time and the start of Halloween traditions with the Celtic druids. It was the biggest holiday of the year. They specifically emphasized the mingling of the dead with the living. (What would have happened to cause them to have this belief? They most likely did not make this up out of the blue, it had to have something serious and real behind it. Think about that.) On the night of November 1st the Celtic Druids believed that the witches, demons and evil spirits freely roamed the earth and celebrated their time of darkness as the evenings became longer as winter approached. The demons would have their fun with mortals and play tricks on them. The tradition goes that the only way the scared mortals could escape the demonic spirits was to give up sweets and different exotic fancy foods, OR they could dress up like an evil spirit and blend in while roaming around.

So let's recap - basically, this tradition gets started somehow, because something happened in a community of people. Dead spirits mingled with living ones. People tried what they could to hide from the spirits, dressing up like them or appease them with sweet, food type gifts.

Now would we call this tradition something good and loving or wicked and evil?

(Php 4:8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Is Halloween true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report? Does the Bible promote the idea of witches and demons and the living mingling with the dead as a good thing?

(Lev 20:27) A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

This verse is interesting, obviously we don't put people to death like this anymore, we are in the age of grace through Christ Jesus. But never the less, this scripture exists for a reason and that reason was because witches and wizards do exist, they did exist back then and were pure evil. Do you think they are still around? What are they doing around Halloween time?

(Deu 18:9) When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
(Deu 18:10) There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
(Deu 18:11) Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
(Deu 18:12) For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
(Deu 18:13) Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.
(Deu 18:14) For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.

Again these scripture exist because these things are real, there are spirits that can be conjured up called familiar spirits, charmers, wizards, witches, warlocks that cast spells, they use divinations, and they talk and communicate with the dead. These scriptures are in fact proof that there are such things, although most of us don't experience them, they are real and people do experience such things. Now what was happening 1900 years ago with the Celtic druids?

(Eph 5:11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Have NO fellowship with... but REPROVE them...

(1Th 5:19) Quench not the Spirit.
(1Th 5:20) Despise not prophesyings.
(1Th 5:21) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
(1Th 5:22) Abstain from all appearance of evil.
(1Th 5:23) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Abstain from ALL APPEARANCE of evil and right after that it says God will SANCTIFY YOU wholly, body, spirit and soul. It is mentioned right after the phrase Quench not the Spirit, and then gives reasons on what could quench the spirit, do not despise prophesying, prove all things and abstain from the Appearance of Evil. Could appearing to fellowship with an evil tradition appear you are fellowshipping with this evil rooted tradition? If it is, then what does that mean for you and your church? Are you possibly QUENCHING the SPIRIT? Are you 100% absolutely postive that you are not? In any way to who or whom would this "appearance" be judged? Who is the "appearance of evil" and "have no fellowship with darkness" judge? All Christians are as is God Himself. So if you are a Christian and know this and you go along with your church's decision to support a Halloween event what does that mean for you? If you say nothing or if you agree with it?

Now let's examine the earlier pastor and church scenarios knowing what we have just learned.

#1 The pastor hands out candy, participates in the Halloween ritual and uses this as a good way to meet the neighbors. According to the scripture we just read, he is fellowshipping with his neighbors and participating in the ritual tradition. Sure they like him, but does his light of generous giving out weigh the other things? I don't believe so.

#2 Going out into the highways and byways and compelling them to come to church. Even Jesus ate and hung out with the sinners. So the argument here is that going out into the public for a trunk or treat and using that opportunity to hand out flyers while also participating in the tradition ritual. For one, are you are inviting your children from the church to participate by also going and asking others for candy while wearing costumes? There is definite common fellowship in participation of the ritual. Now what about the handing out of flyers to compel them? I actually could see that if you were not promoting the candy and costumes, nor having your children involved and you attended a community event to hand out flyers about your programs, I think that would be what Christ would do. So the whole Jesus ate with the sinners and hung out with the tax collectors argument is a valid one. But what was Jesus doing while He was eating and hanging out with the sinners? He was calling them to repentance, He was sharing the truth, He was not getting drunk and fellowshipping with them in their drunkenness, He was not sinning with them.

#3 Having a Halloween event and not calling it a Halloween event nor having it on Halloween. This walks a fine line and could be a viable work around. Inviting the community into your church for the fun festival and games would probably not in and of itself be an issue. Would there be costumes? What if no "evil" costumes were allowed, who would judge that? What if little Johnnie new to the community shows up in a Wizard costume, he is a Harry Potter Fan and Wizards are cool! Or a Demon, they are creepy cool! Gremlin? Witch? What are you going to do? Could you do it without costumes as to not have the APPEARANCE? I think you could do that without costumes and be ok as in the appearance would not be the same, and not doing it on Halloween would also be another non-conformance to the ritual.

In any of these well intended ideas, there are fine lines and appearances and fellowship. In all matters we are to look at scripture. And the intent of the scriptures make it clear about such things being evil and to not fellowship with that. When Jesus hung out with the sinners was He participating in doing what they were doing? Or was He preaching to them? So if your church was doing this to preach, and to call people to repentance, and not having your children do what their children were doing, then that would most likely qualify as doing what Jesus did by speaking or sharing the truth and the good news. If you were not handing out candy but tracts, you would not be well liked, but you would be doing what Jesus did. Can your church have a Halloween event? Sure. But what it looks like is very important and what is actually done is important. I would be very careful, and very cautious about how your church's event appears to God and to other Christians. Can you go into a bar and talk with people? Sure. Should you get drunk with them? No. Are there ways of being wise stewards and use cunning ways to compel them to come to Christ? Yes, but it is a very fine line in the case of Halloween. And in this case, I would be against any type of Halloween event involving the church. Could there be some exceptions? Maybe a very few like street preaching during a Halloween event, handing out tracts, and witnessing to or praying for people would work. Would it be as well received by the community as well as just putting up your church name on a banner and handing out candy? No. What side would you rather error on? Where is the line in conforming to the world and being like Christ? Homosexuality is getting a foot hold in churches today by using love as a trump card. Love trumps the other scriptures to them. Love is huge and God is Love. "Our church allows this because we allow and are for Love." But is their version of Love what God's is? Is your church event worth it, really, worth it? Is homosexuality growing in the church? Yes it is. Are those fruits then and are they clear evidence that God must be using "this kind of love" to grow His church? Our church is growing, it must be good right? Yes, the church allowing that may be growing, but in the wrong way.

Halloween has evil origins, many evil things happen on Halloween that would make your blood curdle, there are real witches, and people that do rituals to talk to the dead and they use Halloween as a huge doorway to the evil spirit world. We looked at scriptures proving these things exist and we are to be warned by them. Is it a far reach to say a kid in a ninja turtle costume asking for candy is an evil thing? Well, you answer this? Why are you even doing such a thing? Is the answer, because it's fun and everyone else is doing it? Then you are not being wise. A wise person would know and understand the meaning of what the ritual is and why it even exists in the first place. Satan is cunning! Ask yourself this, What are the ways that Demons get into people? Probably hundreds, maybe thousands of ways or more. What are the people doing, what doorways are they opening unknowingly? Why does God say to stay away? Do you believe what God's Word says? Then you should have serious caution. I won't tell you that to have a church event on or in association with Halloween is in every way shape and form an absolute no-no. There could be SOME rare exceptions, but I would be safe to say that those exceptions would not be very well received by the community like candy and costumes would be, and why would that be? Because Christians are peculiar and different.

I have made this case the best way that I know how, and I was convicted to write this because of my own situation. You can now judge me on what words I have said and how I have said them.

May God's Spirit be your guide, and His Word be your judge.

In Jesus Name, God Bless.

Michael Flipp