To Halloween or Not To Halloween: That is the Question

I must have been about 16 the year my mom rigged up an incredible “Sliding Ghost” for Halloween that came flying down our entry staircase whenever the front door opened. It was a thrill to every trick-or-treater in the neighborhood who darkened our doorstep. I also remember the year a few of us joined our Youth Pastor in playing tricks on other teens as they made their way through a local cemetery on a nighttime adventure. It seemed like a goofy, silly season that let us all act like kids for a few hours.

Make no mistake: I grew up in a profoundly Christian home with two parents incredibly committed to raising their brood in the fear and admonition of the Lord. We never felt like we were selling out or compromising; Halloween just wasn’t a big deal. We enjoyed the fun of bobbing for apples in a friend’s barn, dressing up in wacky costumes, and eating way too much candy.

But then, I became a parent and things seemed to change. The innocence and silliness of the season began darkening, revealing more disturbed and violent sensations. Scarecrows turned to vampires. Ghosts turned to demons. Clown paint turned to oozing blood. Animals showed up tortured or missing. Death abounded. Evil lurked.

So here’s the question: Has the season actually changed...or have I? Probably both. As my children grew, I became increasingly troubled by the tone of this holiday, which I was seemingly supporting. I was personally confronted with a simple decision: In the precious few years I have to mold my children, do I want to spend even one day a year dancing with darkness?

It’s a quandary for parents. I appreciate the churches that throw those wonderful “Fall Festivals” for kids. Thanks to them, we have some adorable photos of our kids dressed up like Sylvester the Cat and a ladybug. I also applaud the home schooling groups that emphasize the “All Saints Day” aspect of the season by assigning papers on heroes of the faith. They’ve wisely chosen to follow Scripture’s direction that we “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

For me, it comes down to that foundational truth outlined in Ephesians 5:16. I intend to “be very careful, then, how (I) live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is (Ephesians 5:15-17). For this reason, we've chosen a pretty limited course when it comes to participating in Halloween festivities.

I’m curious: How have you settled this issue in your home? What does your family do when October 31 rolls around on the calendar? I’d love to hear about it!

NOTE: If you’re interested in exploring this issue more, check out an intriguing approach outlined in the book Redeeming Halloween, authored by Kim Wier & Pam McCune.


  1. We did not celebrate Halloween for several of the reasons listed. When my children became adults however, and could discern for themselves the right and wrong of it, they made different choices. Almost as if they felt they had missed out as children.

  2. As a God fearing, homeschooling, professional ministry family, we do participate in some Halloween festivities. I recently blogged about it. Here is a link with my take on the issue.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with Laura's blog post. I am a homeschool mom of a boy 11 and a girl 3. We also celebrate some aspects of Halloween. I especially enjoy opening our door to others and showing them kindness and love. Each year I am sure to take time with each family that comes to my door and make sure they know we are a safe place to come if they ever need help, a friend, or a confidant. We give out the best candy haul in the neighborhood and a pumpkin maze tract about Jesus and his love for all people. Most years we have a Halloween party for our kids friends as well. We do crafts, decorate pumpkin cookies, bob for apples, play Halloween Pictureka and Twister. Last year I made the mistake of thinking my oldest child and his friends were getting too old for the party. My son and his friends love the get together so we are still going strong. Most of all our family has memories and time together at fall festivals, trick or treating, picking out pumpkins, loving our friends and neighbors. Halloween is what you make of it. We choose a loving environment to accept all who enter in. I especially love getting teenage trick-or-treaters and always give them 2 big handfuls of candy each. Good for them for hanging on to childhood and making good choices. I especially love The Pumpkin Prayer we use each year as we carve our pumpkin. The last lines of the prayer are: Open my mouth to tell others you are near. Let your light shine in all I say and do. My light is on trick or treaters are always welcome!

  3. I grew up Pentecostal christian and my mom was from the caribbean.. they don't have Halloween there. We celebrated halloween by dressing up but she didn't understand the culture..when I was 8 she found out for herself what this holiday was about and she abruptly stop us from participating. To our dislike. Now that i'm an adult with my own children, i've looked into this celebration, where it originated from and it's pagan & dark, everything from the carved lit up pumpkin to dressing up is all about evil spirits, demons & death. I knew that I wanted to teach the origins and the scripture that says "ephesians 5:7,8 Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness and now you are light in the Lord, walk as children of light." The Lord always warned the Israelites about the egyptian customs and gods and that they should stay away from them. Why shouldn't we? I teach my kids not even to compromise but changing it into something positive because doesn't matter to the devil...maybe that's drastic but they get the picture.

  4. A picture paints a thousand words...

  5. Thanks for sharing LuAnne. I dressed up probably only once for Halloween growing up.