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It’s the spooky season where skeletons and bats decorate every storefront. Halloween is a popular holiday, but unlike many other celebrations, it has nothing to do with Christianity. Many members of the faith, therefore, question whether Christians should celebrate it, given its history.
However, customs have evolved, and this holiday has evolved into a more secular celebration that focuses on innocent fun, such as trick-or-treating and dressing up in fun costumes. Should Christians let their children engage in this Halloween fun as part of the educational process, following the frolicking with a lesson about All Saints and All Souls Day? Here’s a closer look at both sides of the debate.
Where Does Halloween Originate?
Halloween began with the ancient Celts of Ireland. The festival marked the line between the fruitful, growing warm season and the long, cold days of winter, a period often associated with death. These pagan celebrations included huge bonfires, and some sources say they may have also included sacrifices. In more modern years, the holiday has become associated with Satanism in some circles, hence the holiday’s dark reputation.
Because of its association with paganism and Satanism, many Christians feel you shouldn’t celebrate Halloween, that doing so is the equivalent of embracing a darker faith. One consideration you must factor in when deciding for your family is whether the historical roots of this festival supersede its modern use as a time for kids to have innocent fun dressing up and collecting candy.
Does the Bible Address Halloween?
Although Halloween celebrations probably existed for centuries, the holiday celebrated today became popular long after the time of Christ. Therefore, the Bible does not give a clear black-and-white answer as to what to do. It does, however, warn against and prohibit witchcraft, which many Christians interpret to include ancient pagan practices.
Therefore, another factor to consider when deciding if your Christian family should celebrate Halloween is how you interpret the word of God. If the connection with witchcraft is so strong that it makes you uncomfortable, there’s nothing wrong with an alternative celebration or not celebrating at all.
The early Church also proposed an alternative celebration: the Feast of All Saints and All Souls Day. Held the first and second of November, respectively, the first honors martyrs and saints, while the latter remembers the souls in purgatory who died in the faith.
People in some regions went door to door collecting soul cakes, promising to pray for the souls of deceased loved ones in exchange for the treat. Weigh this knowledge into your decision-making.
The Argument Against Christians Celebrating Halloween
Those who believe that Christians shouldn’t celebrate Halloween might have many reasons:
● The association with witchcraft is still too strong.
● The more modern association with Satanism is too strong and participating may entice their children to explore other aspects of that belief system at an age when they lack discernment.
● Their particular denomination or faith leader advises against it, and following the edicts of their church means skipping the holiday.
There are practical reasons that some modern people don’t let their children celebrate Halloween that have less to do with faith than practicality. Because this night is associated with mischief along with candy, some people carry that dark energy too far, committing real-life scary acts.
All parents should review crucial safety rules as this time of year approaches. It does seem riskier to head outdoors on Halloween, regardless of whether you celebrate the holiday. Furthermore, guidelines such as maintaining a safe distance from approaching vehicles protect your children the rest of the year, too.
The Argument for Letting Your Kids Participate
On the other hand, your children participate in the world the rest of the year. Some Christians believe you should celebrate Halloween to avoid depriving their kids of what has become a melting-pot celebration that embraces a diverse culture, not necessarily an opposing belief system.
Your children will encounter many people throughout their lives. Some of them follow the Christian faith, while others do not. Learning how to interact with all walks of people is a crucial life skill. Your children will need to know how to manage and overcome temptation, and the best time to do so is when they remain under your loving guidance.
Christians who argue their children should participate believe that they should prepare their children for what they will eventually encounter and need to manage independently. After all, when your children turn 18, they’ll decide for themselves whether or not to celebrate and how closely they conform to your wishes depends on their understanding. To fully comprehend, they must first experience — but they can do so safely with you protecting them.
Finally, it is part of a Christian’s duty to pass on their faith to the next generation. Allowing your children to celebrate Halloween opens the doors to deeper discussions on religion while keeping your children cheerful and receptive to your teachings instead of feeling sullen and resentful over what they perceive as missing out on the fun.
Should Christian Parents Celebrate Halloween? It’s a Matter of Faith
There’s no easy answer to the question of whether Christian parents should celebrate Halloween. Ultimately, it boils down to an individual choice.
Perhaps that’s as it should be, another beautiful part of God’s design — no one knows their children like a parent, and no one is a better judge of what they are mature enough to handle or not. Pray about your decision and consider all the factors before coming to an answer that feels right between you and God.
Beth is the content manager and Managing Editor at Body+Mind. She writes about parenting, fitness, mental health, and nutrition. You can find Beth on Twitter @bodymindmag.