Why Not Trick or Treat?

I was asked why do I hate Halloween. My first thought was hate is too strong a word. I do not hate Halloween. I enjoy the cute children in costume knocking at my door. Their happiness shines through innocently doing what the adults in their lives expect them to do. I don’t hate the modern tradition of Halloween. I do despise the evil roots of it and the potential evil the tradition attacks.

The name “Halloween” comes from the All Saints Day celebration, a day set aside for the solemn remembrance of the Christian martyrs. All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Saints Day, began the time of remembrance. “All Hallows Eve” was eventually contracted to “Hallow-e’en,” which became “Halloween.”

As Christianity moved through Europe it collided with indigenous pagan cultures. The organized church would move a distinctively Christian holiday to a spot on the calendar that would directly challenge a pagan holiday. The intent was to counter pagan influences. The church succeeded in “Christianizing” a pagan ritual. The ritual was still pagan, but mixed with Christian symbolism. That’s what happened to All Saints Eve. The fun of Halloween is real and so is the evil it came from. That can also be said for other holidays. Christmas, Easter and others have roots in the attempt to compete with pagan tradition. All the holidays have evil and good intentions in the seemingly harmless traditions.

God tells us to set priorities according to His eternal value system. We are to “seek first” God’s kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). No one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), and we cannot be devoted to both God and evil at the same time.

How do we who claim to have a relationship with God reconcile the conflict of wanting to allow the happiness of the holiday and continue to seek God?

Christians can approach Halloween in a limited, non-compromising way. There’s nothing inherently evil about candy, costumes, or trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. In fact, all of that can provide a unique gospel sharing opportunity with neighbors.

Whatever way you choose to participate in Halloween, honor God by keeping yourself separate from the world of evil and show mercy to those who embrace it. God will forgive the evil in a person, all they have to do is want it. What better time of the year is there to share such a message than Halloween?

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