Should Christians celebrate Halloween? Should Christians go “trick-or-treating?” This is a great question that is often brought up in the month of October. During this time of year we begin to see all of the retail stores decked out with spooky Halloween costumes, candy, and decorations. We see advertisements for costume parties and contests, ghostly haunted houses, and more. Given the slightly morbid tone of Halloween, Christians often find themselves asking if it is appropriate to celebrate such a holiday. What does the Bible say about it?
Halloweens History and Origins
Halloween (also called All Hallows Eve, All Saints’ Eve, Samhain, Hallowed End) has its roots in paganism. The Celtics used to celebrate this day as the end of the harvest. They would gather all of the remaining harvest, and also slaughter animals for storage in celebration of the end of the harvesting year. People would also dress up in costumes in an attempt to disguise themselves from evil spirits they thought were roaming around.
Halloween in today’s time is celebrated in many different ways. Some people use Halloween as an opportunity to practice witchcraft, and the wiccan followers seem to especially enjoy this holiday. Others use Halloween as a time for kids to play dress-up, and go door-to-door for candy. Others may go to clubs or bars, and enter “costume contests.” Some people ignore the holiday completely and treat it as any other day.
There is no doubt that much evil takes place on this day. Many people wake up to find their mailboxes smashed, their houses rolled with toilet paper, eggs smashed on their homes, and other pranks or acts of vandalism. Some people even sacrifice live animals, and black cats are often a target of such despicable crimes.
Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
Rather than asking “if” Christians should celebrate Halloween, the better question is “how” Christians should celebrate this day. The fact of the matter is that October 31 will happen, and we are all going to be doing something on that day. Christians should seek ways to glorify God on every day of the year, and Halloween is no exception. So what are some proper ways for a Christian to behave on this day? How can a Christian give glory to God on this holiday?
Before we take a look at ways Christians can glorify God on this holiday, let’s first look at what a Christian shouldn’t do. What does the Bible specifically prohibit, or what would be sinful for a Christian to do on Halloween?
Christians Should Not Celebrate the Occult or Engage in Witchcraft
Witchcraft and the practicing of the occult is strictly forbidden in the Bible. The penalty for practicing sorcery or witchcraft in the Old Testament was death, and God strongly urges against this behavior, or even associating with those who practice it:
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
The verses above clearly show us that not only should we avoid activity with the occult, but we also shouldn’t mix with people who do such activity. God has called us to live separate and clean lives.
While it may seem like harmless fun playing with Ouija boards, casting spells, or dressing up like wizards and witches, the Bible roundly forbids such activity.
Christians Shouldn’t Do Drugs or Engage in Sexual Immorality At Parties
Doing drugs, such as smoking weed and getting drunk on wine/alcohol, is clearly a sin. Engaging in any type of sexual immorality (such as one-night stands, premarital sex, etc.) is also clearly a sin. Unfortunately, many Halloween parties involve drugs and sexual immorality. Christians should not engage in this type of behavior. The Bible says people who do such things unrepentantly will not inherit the kingdom of God:
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 (Emphasis mine)
The verse above should be a sober wake-up call to those living their lives in unrepentant sin. God does not view the above behavior as holy behavior. Notice also how this verse mentions the word “sorcery,” which again refers to witchcraft, wizardry, and other type of behavior.
Christians Shouldn’t Dress in Revealing or Inappropriate Costumes
Another concern for Christians is dressing in revealing or defiling costumes. The Bible clearly teaches that we should dress modestly, and that nakedness should not be uncovered:
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1 Timothy 2:9
It is not uncommon today to see many people at “costume parties” dressed in provocative clothing, revealing cleavage or other body parts which should be kept private. God’s word warns against such clothing.
Furthermore, some costumes that mimic demonic forces, witches, wizardry, grotesque death, or characters from inappropriate movies are also inappropriate. Therefore, Christians should not only pay attention to the modesty of any costume, but they should also consider the message they are sending by dressing up in a costume that is inappropriate in other ways.
Christians Shouldn’t Vandalize
Another common practice on Halloween is to vandalize property. This can include activities such as “egging” a house or car, “rolling” a house with toilet paper, smashing mailboxes (a federal offense), and other similar “tricks.” This behavior is not only illegal (vandalism), but the Bible sharply warns against such behavior. Instead, Christians are called to be self-sacrificing, loving, and merciful.
Even if an enemy has wronged you, do not pay them back by doing this type of vandalism, for the Bible says:
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
We aren’t called to destroy property, but rather, to do good works:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Also, vandalism is a violation of most local (and even some federal) laws. The Bible says we are to obey our governments and the laws of the land (so long as they don’t contradict God’s word):
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Ways Christians Can Glorify God on Halloween
So what are some ways Christians can glorify God and celebrate Halloween without entering into sinful behavior? Here are some ideas on ways you can turn October 31 from a pagan holiday to a God-honoring day.
Harvest Parties or Fall Festivals
Many churches have what’s called “harvest parties” or “fall festivals” on October 31st. These parties are a great alternative for Christians because it allows you to fellowship with other believers in a Godly way. These festivals can include all of the fun parts of celebrating a holiday, but it avoids the sinful aspects. They may bob for apples, have fun games, delicious food or treats, and other fun games or activities.
This is also a much safer way for children to have snacks and candy, as many people have stopped going door-to-door due to fears of unsafe food, child molesters, and so forth.
Rather than carving faces on pumpkins, they can carve crosses, Bible verses, and more.
Dress Up As Bible Characters
Another great way parents can allow their children to have fun at home on this day is to have them dress up as Bible characters. Children can play dress-up, and even do re-enactments of certain Bible scenes or stories. You can have fun crafts, games, or snacks on hand, or even offer prizes.
Not only will this be a great way for kids to have fun, but they will also be learning more about the Bible. It may help make the characters they read about more real in their minds.
Witness to People
Some Christians prefer to use Halloween as an opportunity to share the gospel. They can do this by distributing candy with gospel pamphlets, personally witnessing to those who come to their door, and more.
Conclusion: Christians and Halloween
Everyone will be doing something on October 31st. The question for the Christian becomes, “What can I do that glorifies and honors God?” Halloween may have almost entirely pagan origins, but Christians can take this day and make it about Jesus Christ.
Christians should be cautious to avoid sinful practices on this day, such as the occult, drugs, sexual immorality, inappropriate costumes, and vandalism.
On the other hand, there are many great Christian alternatives, and activities such as harvest parties, Bible re-enactments, and witnessing are all great ways to enjoy the day while glorifying the God of all creation.