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Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Personal Look at Halloween

Photo by supakitmod

Those of you who follow my blog know that I am a grandmother. So, prepare yourself for some memories of the “olden days” and happy times and some reminiscing.

I was a child of the fifties, brought up in a normal neighborhood in the sunny South. I have a brother who is two years younger and a sister who was born way after the story I will tell.

We loved Halloween! My mother would dress us up in some amazing, homemade costume, and we would take a brown paper grocery bag—yes, the big one—around to do our trick or treating. We did street after street after street, and people at every house were ready to give us candy. We would try to get as much candy as possible.

Most years, I tried to be pretty. I went as a princess, a gypsy, and a nice witch. My brother was a ghost, a monkey (with a tail!), and a hobo. (Those are the ones I remember.)

In those days, there was absolutely no fear that someone might put a razor blade in an apple or poison a cookie. There was no problem going to every single house for blocks and blocks. Our parents went with us and stayed at the end of the sidewalks, and we had so much fun!

When we returned home, my brother and I would sit on the living room rug and empty our bags. We lined up similar pieces of candy and counted them all. The funny thing is that I didn’t really like candy. It was fun just getting it. And I wanted to have as much candy as my sweets-loving little brother!

About the time when I was getting too big to do “little kid things” like Halloween trick or treating, the atmosphere changed. My parents took us only to houses where we actually knew the occupants. We found out that some warped people didn’t like children and wanted to harm them. It was a rude awakening.

Our family knew little about the origins of Halloween or the occult world. We were happily ignorant and did what every other person in our neighborhood did. We even carved a pumpkin with a happy snaggletooth grin.

I remember that our house got egged one Halloween, and we found toilet paper on a tree one morning after. But, overall, Halloween was a fun memory and a fun time.

Fast-forward some forty plus years.

I understand now that Halloween:
  • Started as a pagan festival.
  • Glorifies the world of the dead.
  • Isn’t only about little kids dressing up and getting candy.
  • Might encourage people to get into games or practices that have to do with the occult.
  • Might actually endanger children’s lives, if they do house-to-house trick or treating.
  • Provides a backdrop for bad jokes and destruction of property.
  • Glorifies gore, violence, death, horror, and evil.
  • Probably sends the wrong message of getting something for nothing (“nothing” meaning looking cute and saying the magic words).

I don’t celebrate Halloween today, nor would I do it with my children (were they little enough). I would not be happy with them dressing up as ghosts or ghouls or witches.

Here are my suggestions:
  • Let children play dress-up at home in happy costumes that have nothing to do with death, the occult, blood, or violence—on any other day—but not for Halloween.
  • Let them carve a pumpkin at a different time in the fall with a happy look—not necessarily a face—and a candle inside.
  • I don’t have an alternative for trick or treat, but I don’t see the necessity. (I never ate my candy, anyway.) Kids can be given candies they love at another time and in less quantity. It’s healthier not to binge on candy, anyhow.
  • Help your children understand that God is important, and witches and goblins are about the devil. Even little kids can understand that. Teach them that Halloween is about death, ugliness, and things we’re not to think on. (Philippians 4:8)
  • I’ve heard of churches that have “fall festivals” on other dates. The children dress up like Bible characters, and they learn about the Bible stories. I really don’t have a problem with that, especially if it’s not near Halloween. (I’m personally not in favor of “Christianizing” Halloween.) Why not do a fall festival in September, or a Bible character dress-up in the spring?

I believe that now, more than ever, our children need to be pointed toward the Lord. They need to understand that there is a different world out there—the world of the occult, the devil, drugs, and evil—but not be allowed to be interested in it. Whenever they have questions—even at Halloween time—answer them with verses about what God says. God’s opinion always trumps our own.

Here’s a list of Bible verses about occult practices:
  • The Old Testament penalty for witchcraft was death. (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10)
  • God was not pleased when Saul went to the witch at Endor, who communicated with the dead Samuel. The penalty Saul paid was death. (1 Samuel 28:7-25; 1 Chronicles 10:13)
  • God is angered by witchcraft and associated activities. (2 Chronicles 33:6; 2 Kings 17:17; 21:6; Isaiah 47:9)
  • God includes witchcraft in His list of the works of the flesh. (Galatians 5:19-21)

When children understand that all witchcraft and fascination with death and ghosts is wrong, when they understand that the Lord wants us to meditate on the good (Philippians 4:8) and on His Word (Psalm 119:97, 99), and when they are actually grounded in God’s Word, they’ll have no desire to delve into the other world.

Let them dress up—especially at home—in fun costumes of their own invention. Let him put a box over his head and be a robot, or let him make a helmet out of a watering can. Let her have a fluffy tulle skirt and be a princess, putting on some of your necklaces. Those things are okay. You could do face painting from time to time. How about draping the kids with cloth and acting out a Bible story? This is clean fun, and it should be encouraged. Children love to dress up and imagine and play act. Some families have a “dress up box” with wigs and different “costumes” in it, so that their kids can be imaginative—and not mess up their parents’ good clothes.

For your obedience is come abroad unto all men.
I am glad therefore on your behalf:
but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
(Romans 16:19)

Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good.
He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
(3 John, verse 11)

Please feel free to share your ideas about Halloween. How do you handle this holiday with your children?


  1. Timely and insightful post. Many churches do have fun family events at Halloween. I don't do Halloween anymore either. The horror stuff has just gotten over the top. Thanks Lou Ann.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Rose. God bless!

  2. I appreciate this post! I did Halloween for a few years when I was young, but my parents realized it was wrong and we stopped. And while I know some who hand out tracts with the candy, we don't even do that. We try not to be home on that night. My kids love to dress up all the time, we enjoy making pumpkin puree and roasting the seeds, and we have a Harvest Party at our church in November. Thank you for sharing so much Scripture - I think that is what is often lacking when we say that we don't celebrate Halloween.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I believe it's important not to say "no" without a Scriptural reason. When children understand that the Lord is not pleased by whatever it is, they understand the reason why their parents have made certain decisions. :o) God bless you and the family!

  3. Thank you for this! We don't "do" Halloween, and our children know it is an evil holiday. I love all your suggestions :-)


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