A candle shines brightest when it’s dark in the room. Halloween is a strange mixture of fall festivities and seemingly harmless kids’ costumes, all mixed in with horror movies and the celebration of death. Sometimes evil itself is lifted on a pedestal.
What is a Christian family to do? Do we shutter our windows, turn out the lights, and wait out the storm? Do we shield our kids from cartoon witches as well as realistic ones? How realistic is too realistic to be kid-friendly?
Parents and other leaders of children are wise to pay special attention to what our kids are exposed to during Halloween. There is a real devil at work in the world, and no doubt he is maximizing his opportunities. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
The Devil Does Not Have the Upper Hand
That said, the devil does not have the upper hand during Halloween. Jesus is stronger than Satan, even when evil things are being celebrated. 1 John 4:4 declares that “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Therefore, Christians, we don’t need to be afraid of the wicked things being paraded at Halloween.
If our role is not to cower from the evil things, what is our role? A more common attitude toward Halloween may be to do the fun stuff along with everyone else and call it a night. We might not let our kids pick out a devil costume, but otherwise, we look pretty much the same as everyone else in their masks.
This attitude of playing along and blending in does not acknowledge that real spiritual forces are at work in the world. If Christians don’t stand out at Halloween, when will we?
Romans 12:17-21 challenges us: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
And Jesus himself presents a fearless picture of believers in a dark world:
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
10 Ways Christians Can Shine a Light at Halloween
What would it look like for Christian families or individuals to apply this Biblical attitude to the Halloween season? The following are some ideas for ways to let your light shine during your neighborhood’s trick-or-treat time.
1. Light up your home and lawn brightly and cheerfully. Evil doesn’t own the colors orange and black, the pumpkin, or many other festive decorations. Make your house the safest and most fun place on the block.
2. Set up a hot chocolate stand in your front yard during trick-or-treating. Seek to engage families in conversation and get to know your neighbors better. If you have kids who want to trick-or-treat, encourage them to invite others to come to get some hot chocolate (or whatever you’re offering.)
3. Play fun music (maybe not hymns, but happy music that adds to the party feel.)
4. Have really good candy (or healthy snacks if you’re one of those people…) Since day one, Christians have been marked out by generosity. Your neighbors are about to walk up to your door with an empty sack. Responding generously to this cultural request is one of your chances to shine.
5. Make your costumes approachable. Although a cool mask can be fun, it makes it pretty hard to recognize your face next time you’re taking out the trash.
6. Challenge yourself to learn some names. Let’s be honest: many of us have no idea what our neighbors’ names are. If you feel awkward about asking someone’s name, think of it as one of your chances to suffer for Christ (speaking sincerely). He knows everyone by name and wrote a whole book about them. You can at least get started on learning the title.
7. If you get into a good conversation, don’t be afraid to talk about your faith or to offer to pray with someone. The trick is to think about what’s best for the person talking to you. Would they be encouraged by a story of how God’s helped you? Would they benefit from having someone pray for them over a difficulty they’re facing? That person can be you.
8. To counterbalance #7, don’t force a faith conversation or a prayer if it’s not helpful for the person you’re talking to. This is not about you being a Super Christian (“I shared the gospel with 3 neighbors on Halloween, how about you?”) Again, this is about the needs of others.
9. Seek out a chance to connect with a few neighbors again shortly after Halloween night. You could offer to team up on fall yardwork or bring over something you baked.
10. Pray for your neighbors by name. The more you pray for people, the more likely you are to care about them.
Don't Stop at Halloween Night
While opening your home to others on Halloween may be a huge leap in the right direction, it’s pretty hard to show all the good works Jesus modeled for us in one night. He demonstrated God’s love for us by living and dying selflessly, openly, and whole-heartedly.
Some Christians have been unwilling to participate at all in Halloween, for fear of celebrating evil along with everyone else. But what if instead of celebrating evil, we’re turning it into the “get to know the neighbors” holiday? Satan is far more at ease when we’re ignoring the lives of those around us. Deliberating showing generosity and hospitality on Halloween is a powerful (and often fun) way to participate in Jesus’ Kingdom advancement.
Photo credit: Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages
Allie Boman is a wife, mom, follower of Jesus and freelance writer in the Chicago area. She served for fifteen years with Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship and studied classical piano in college. She loves to cook ethnic food and explore new places with her family. Her personal blog is QuickReads.blog. She’d love to connect with you!