One Approach to Halloween: Lightening Things Up

Amy Smith | October 24th 2019

It’s that time of year again when the seasonal aisle in the supermarket is filled with fake cobwebs and pumpkin buckets, and Christian parents everywhere wonder whether buying the spooky cat-shaped gingerbread biscuits is allowed. 

Let me share three experiences that have shaped my view on halloween, and one Bible verse that I hope will help.

Experience one—as a child. I hated Halloween. It was forbidden in our house, and I was frightened by it, but also fascinated by what happened at the parties my friends went to in witch costumes to bob for apples and get lots of sweets. My family would pretend we weren’t in and I would hide behind the sofa if trick or treaters came to the door.

Experience two—as an adult without kids. When my husband and I  first moved to our new house on a cul-de-sac, I remember chatting to the neighbours' kids playing on their bikes in the street and asking them what I needed to know about living there. The kids pointed to the houses around and said, “They are alright … They are nice … But them ones in there are dead grumpy, they always pretend they aren’t in on Halloween when we know they are, but they knock on our door with the Christian Aid envelopes.” Now, as then, our only interaction with many of the families on the street is on Halloween. My neighbours will be watching me go to church and do what I do all year, but this is the one night that they will knock on my door! I don’t have to be grumpy. I want them to know that the good news I have to share is what makes me generous. Giving sweets does not mean I think Halloween is wonderful, but I want them to get a better impression of what it means to love Jesus.

Experience three—as a mother with my own children. I want my kids to know that they have nothing to fear. We can dress up as whatever we want, but because we really love Jesus we don’t want to pretend to be people who don’t, even for one night. And because the Bible tells us the truth about what happens when we die, we don’t need to be confused or afraid. So, because we have more to give our neighbours than we have to take, we’ll get a bucket full of sweets, we’ll put our superhero outfits on, we’ll carve a “Jesus - Light of the world” pumpkin, we’ll leap round the living room at our very own pumpkin party and open the door to whoever knocks with a smile, because Jesus lights us up!

Ephesians 5 v 8 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”

This verse calls you to remember who you were. You were in darkness—you were once far from God, and dead to him. So don’t feel superior to your neighbours. We only know better because God has opened our eyes. Those with eyes closed to the things of God need our love and compassion—not our grudging exasperation. 

And remember who you are—you are light in the Lord. You have been made alive, and you have his spirit at work in you to help you live as a light in a dark world. You don’t do that well from behind a sofa—you don’t bring glory to Jesus by hiding. 

Your neighbours are knocking, so don’t be afraid. Remember who is with you to help you and lighten up—literally! Be the light so that others' eyes may be opened to the wonder of loving Jesus.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments below. We’ll have an alternative view from another Christian parent next week on the blog. Listen to Amy talking about her approach to Halloween on the Faith in Kids Podcast here. Find out about Halloween resources here.

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