Halloween: Celebrate or Avoid?

This time every year I feel a little torn. Fall is hands-down my favorite season of the year. I spend ten months longing for cooler temperatures, falling leaves, hayrides, and hot apple cider. Oh, and fun-sized Snickers. Lots and lots of fun-sized Snickers.

October marches into my life like a beautiful parade of all of my favorite things, but then it gets weird. I start seeing skeletons hanging above the cash registers in the grocery store, zombies in Wal-Mart, and witches at my son’s school. (No kidding. I have seen all of those things this year.)

Kids have a way of opening our eyes to the things of this world that don’t line up with the things of God. Honestly, I never paid a lot of attention to Halloween until I had a two-year-old and a four-year-old in the backseat of my minivan asking me why there’s an eight-foot scary spider in the neighbor’s front yard.

Halloween can be scary. There are a lot of elements that aren’t suitable for our children. Participating in traditional Halloween festivities feels a bit like taking a step backward with as hard as I’m working to teach them to be salt and light in this dark world.

And yet . . . nothing thrills my little man more than dressing up. Halloween is like his birthday + Christmas + doughnuts for breakfast to his little heart. Obviously, just because my kiddos love something doesn’t mean I should let them do it. But is sidelining our family from Halloween the best answer? Can we participate without getting sucked in by all the yucky stuff?

I don’t have all the answers. For this year, we are opting to do non-scary costumes (pirate and power ranger) and to only trick-or-treat at family members’ houses the day before Halloween to avoid others in scary costumes. As I’ve thought through our Halloween plans in light of God’s Word, I’ve come up with four principles to apply to our Halloween festivities.

Give a History Lesson
I'm sure you've heard that Halloween is based in some not so holy traditions. That's true. In fact, here's a brief history lesson:



  • Halloween began as a Druid festival of the dead in Northern Europe.
  • The Druids did not know about Jesus.
  • Because they had not been exposed to biblical truth, they mistakenly thought that the souls of the dead came and mingled among the living.
  • This was a scary thought, and so they dressed in costumes to disguise themselves from evil spirits.
  • They also carved turnips and potatoes and put candles inside to symbolize ghostly spirits.
  • When the holiday came to America, participants found that pumpkins were easier to carve than turnips, and viola, the jack-o-lantern was born.

A lot of our modern holidays are influenced by pagan traditions. For example, Christmas trees can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians’ false god Ra. Some sources claim the word Easter is derived from Eostre, an ancient goddess of spring and fertility. My two cents is that refusing to celebrate these holidays because of some non-Christian roots throws the baby out with the bathwater.

Holidays provide a natural “in” for conversations with your littles about God and why we live like we live. I plan to tell mine that Halloween was started by people who did not know Jesus. Because that caused them to feel hopeless, they did things to try to keep the scary things away. We don’t have to be afraid because we know that Jesus came to give us life and to have victory over death. Sounds like great jack-o-lantern conversation to me.

Fear Not
I’ve pounded this truth into my little guys’ heads. There are well over 300 verses in the Bible about fear. Most of them communicate one simple truth—Fear Not.

Here are a couple of my favorites:



“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10).

“So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Heb. 13:6).

Since God puts so much emphasis on not being afraid, it seems unwise to intentionally scare ourselves with scary costumes, decorations, or parties

Be Light



“What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” (2 Cor. 6:14b–15).

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

God is light. The Bible tells us that in Him is no darkness at all. None. Zero. Zip.

Perhaps my biggest beef with Halloween is that it makes us all a bit more tolerant of darkness. We feel more free to watch dark movies, talk about dark stuff, decorate with darkness, and dress up like dark characters. These are things we would likely never stand for the rest of the year. 2 Corinthians tells us that darkness and light cannot co-exist. As children of the light, we have no business dabbling in dark themes like death, vampires, zombies, and witchcraft.

Halloween is a great example of something we can squeeze through the “Whatever Test”:



“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8).

Simply ask yourself if your plans for October 31 are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. If so, you’re good to go.

Thankfully, fun sized Snickers pass that test. So does warm apple cider and fun with friends and family. Sounds like my Halloween plans get the green light.

How about you? Do you plan to celebrate Halloween this year? What are your dos and don’ts for making sure your kids live as children of the light, even on October 31?


About the Author

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is married to her high school sweetheart, Jason, and together they parent four energetic boys on their small farm in the midwest. She is the author of more than a dozen books and Bible studies, the content manager … read more …

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