Every year, my family and I face the same dilemma. The last time either of us participated in Halloween has to be at least 10 years ago. We have made a decision to abstain from Halloween celebrations, including all the TV specials, candy, and trick-or-treat associated with it. I’m not against dressing up in costumes, or candy, or fun. I and my wife simply oppose the values that go along with Halloween—the celebration of darkness, horror, fear, and mayhem.
I wrote a rather long piece about Halloween and why we believe what we believe, and posted it on my blog in three parts (it’s almost 4,000 words)…scroll to the bottom of this post for the links. I got quite a bit of feedback on the blog and on social media, most of it negative. Here’s the general theme of the comments: Halloween is fun, therefore my being against Halloween is being against fun. The conclusion: if I am against Halloween fun, then I must be against all kinds of fun and therefore no fun to be around.
That’s a leap across a logical crevice too wide for me to safely arrive at the conclusion.
To be clear: Halloween is fun. In my posts, I never said it wasn’t. So is gambling, sex with strangers, getting drunk (not necessarily being drunk), telling filthy jokes, swearing every other word, and lighting bags of dog poop on your worst enemy’s doorstep then ringing the doorbell.
There are all kinds of fun, and each kind of fun has consequences. Fun has a price. Halloween celebrates darkness, death, fear, and mayhem. Those things might be fun to some, and in our culture which has been so inoculated to these values they seem harmless.
Every ‘R’ rated movie features all the kinds of fun I listed above, and though we might find them abhorrent when we put ourselves in the picture, we accept them perfectly well when others are doing it on the big screen. Our kids grow up baptized in this stuff, so Halloween seems like quaint good old fashioned fun in comparison.
If you separate yourself from the ‘R’ (and even ‘PG13’) rated culture, it takes a while for the garbage to wash off, and even longer for the smell to go away. But once there, you see how far we’ve slipped into the mound of filth every day.
Halloween is fun, alright, but if you take a step back and look at what values we’re teaching our kids, you’ll see how ruinous our path is. The only option is to turn around. I love fun. I love good clean fun. The beach, the sun, picnics in the mountains, going to the mall, even going to movies. But most movies are too debased for me to sit through. You might say that’s because I’m a fun-hating prude, but I say it’s because I’ve had a chance to wash the stink off me for a while, and if you don’t realize it, you may be so surrounded by that stench that you can’t even smell it anymore.
Halloween ruins children. It’s not the only thing that ruins children, and in fact it’s pretty minor compared with the tidal wave of filth in which most of us wallow. Sometimes it’s more effective to look at the quaint little bad habits than the life-controlling ones, because it’s easier to break those little bad habits, and so it is with Halloween.
Many churches replace the Halloween celebration with their own “trunk or treat” or “harvest festival”. As an evangelistic tool, it’s great to reach people for Christ in any way possible, including through popular culture. I am on the fence (but leaning against) the church taking a non-Christian celebration that stands in opposition to Biblical values and replacing it with a look-alike (candy, dressing up, bats and pumpkins) but also introducing the Gospel. Many times it pulls the faithful into the world more than it draws the unchurched to Christ.
For those who simply can’t step away from Halloween, I respect your opinion, and hope you can respect mine. Here’s the links to the original series.