11: Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
Ok, let me just step up on my soapbox for a minute . . .
As you are aware, this Friday is Halloween. For Christians, it can be a confusing time. On the one hand, you don’t want to deny yourself or your kids a bit of fun. On the other hand, you know what the holiday stands for, and where it came from. So what’s a person to do?
Do what you always do when faced with a question about life—turn to the Bible!
1 Thessalonians 5
21: Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22: Avoid every kind of evil.
As we draw closer to Jesus and read the Word of God more, we come to know about good and evil. For instance, we know that most people who take part in Halloween activities are NOT devil worshipers and are NOT sacrificing small children or animals to Satan. (That’s a good thing!)
However, we also know what the festival encourages—being as scary as you can, wearing masks to hide (which gets right back to Adam and Eve, when you think about it), going up to strangers and asking for favors (“Trick or treat!”) and playing tricks on others, vandalising property, or even setting fires. We all know the dark side of Halloween, and according to 1 Thessalonians, we are to avoid that part of it.
9: When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10: Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11: or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
Notice what this passage speaks out against—witchcraft, sorcery, fire, omens, casting spells, fortune-telling—and just what are the popular costumes at Halloween?
Witches, devils, Harry Potter, fairies . . . . You can see how these types of costumes expose kids to this darker side. The danger is not in a harmless piece of cloth, but in what it encourages kids to investigate further:
“Hmmm…exactly how DO you cast a spell? I think I’ll just look that up on the Internet . . .” A scary thought. You know the kind of predators and sick people who can lurk on such sites. This is the real danger—that through acceptance of and exposure to these milder elements of Halloween, kids are encouraged to seek out more information…
And we must remember, while our God is a God of love, there are serious consequences for leading a child into sin:
2: It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
So what’s a person to do? Kids want to be part of the fun—they don’t want to be isolated, right?
21: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Here’s a suggestion, and it is only a suggestion, for I struggle with Halloween as well—I have a five-year-old son in kindergarten! What we have decided to do is to focus on good instead of evil. Can he dress up in a costume? Yes, but it will never have anything to do with witches, demons, or evil spirits. One year, he was an alligator—the next, a dog.
And what about trick or treating? Dad takes him by the hand to the mall! This way, he can still get some treats, and he is NOT going to strangers’ homes asking for things. Also, the beauty is that, when it does not become cool to dress up in a cute costume and have Dad hold your hand, taking you to a public place like THE MALL! (where you might be seen by your friends), then probably the child, and not the parent will say he’s had enough of Halloween.
All the while, he is taught at home and at Sunday school about making good choices and standing up for what he believes in.
12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Remember, that cute devils and witches and ghost costumes are exactly what the devil wants. The average nonbeliever makes fun of Satan and spirits this way, but if you believe in God, then you also know that Satan exists. You also know that he is quite different from a Saturday morning cartoon or a comic book character.
We can’t hide our head in a hole like an ostrich, and pretend Halloween doesn’t exist. Instead, we teach our kids how to shine a light for Jesus on that day. And if we have to, we carve a cross into that pumpkin to help us do it!