How will we approach Halloween this year?
Updated: Jan 5, 2021
Training and equipping our children in Christian apologetics for every day of the year.
It's that time of year: Christian parents everywhere are rallying to work out how to approach Halloween Biblically, how to talk to their children about the conflicting spiritual messages being thrown at them in every supermarket and how to express this to their neighbours (at least, this is my experience!). Do we hold a Light Party to counter all the Halloween Parties? Do we carve a cross in a pumpkin instead of a ghoul’s face to show which 'side' we’re on? Do we hand out treats with Bible verses on? Are we compromising our Christian values or engaging the culture where they’re at in order to witness effectively?
If you know me personally, you’ll be aware that I care very much about Christians being equipped to "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15) . This often means some challenging conversations, and the need for a little personal study on other worldviews, knowledge claims and religious practices. With Halloween approaching, it’s time for some of these conversations to happen again with our kids. Wouldn’t it be better if we were training our kids all year round to handle these types of conversations? Apologetics starts in the home, with tricky questions raised by our own children. Are you answering them in gentleness and knowledge? Are you modelling an effective witness to your children so that they can grow confidently, Biblically and critically, to engage the cultures around them? Walter Martin, author of ‘Kingdom of the Cults’, commented that the average Christian can often be turned into a “doctrinal pretzel” because they’re just not equipped to navigate the beliefs of others with a Biblical knowledge of their own belief (paraphrase).
So as you do your personal research into this seasonal issue, and want to explore the viewpoints for and against engaging with Halloween, I’ve put together a list of resources that approach this from different viewpoints. Keep your Bible open, keep your heart open to the Holy Spirit, and seek God’s truth on this matter for you and your children. Above all, ask God how you can be training and equipping your children in the truth of God's word. The place to start is by reading the Bible daily with them.
One final thing: if you want to be raising your kids to think critically AND Biblically, you may enjoy browsing this website, Mama Bear Apologetics who provide support for mums who want to train their kids in effectively and gently defending their faith (You can download their free guide to apologetics.) In their biography, they write:
“Apologetics isn’t for arguers. It is for you. The issues may be settled in your own mind, but your children are still forming their beliefs about what is true and what is false. God has no grandchildren. You cannot pass your relationship on to them. They need to genuinely meet Him and place their faith in Him themselves. Christianity is increasingly under attack, and your children need to be able to defend their faith against those who would try to undermine it. Apologetics might not affect your faith, but it will most likely affect your children’s. Apologetics is for mothers of physical children. It is for mothers of adopted children. It is for mothers of spiritual children.”
Some resources to get you started (links are all in the descriptions):
-Grace to You argues that Christians should use Halloween and all that it brings to the imagination—death imagery, superstition, expressions of debauched revelry—as an opportunity to engage the unbelieving world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Parenting for Faith shares ideas on dressing up for Halloween, and how to talk to our children about this time of year and the symbolism of it.
- Another article from Parenting for Faith explains how a family response of switching off lights and turning off curtains to avoid attention at Halloween acted as a framework to induce fear into the children. This parent is rethinking how they used to approach Halloween.
-Doreen Virtue used to be a best-selling Psychic and Medium. She became a Christian and was convicted by scripture that we shouldn’t touch the darkness around us by imitating it. She now has a YouTube ministry, highlighting dangers of the occult and of New Age influences creeping into the Christian church worldwide. In this video, she interviews an ex-witch who warns about getting involved in the fun veneer of Halloween.
-Reverend J. John outlines 6 reasons why he believes Halloween is far from harmless
-This episode from ‘Unbelievable’ (Premier Christian Radio) gives us a debate between Peter Laws who is a Baptist minister and lifelong fan of the horror genre, as he explains in his new book 'The Frighteners: Why We Love Monsters, Ghosts, Death & Gore'. He believes that Christians don’t need to fear being involved in the spooky side of Halloween and thinks horror films aren’t bad for people who enjoy them. Michael Cummins is involved in supernatural deliverance ministry. He explains his concerns about demonic aspects of Halloween and horror films and tells stories of what he has witnessed in his ministry.
-Mama Bear Apologetics looks into the history of Wicca and how it’s making a comeback in our culture today. This article may be of interest if you want to understand some more about the symbolisms in Halloween. More importantly, if you were to engage with some modern Wiccans, this would be useful to know first.
- Alan Rudnick looks at how understanding that early Christians contextualised early pagan holidays into Christian holidays helps us to see that we do not have to compromise our beliefs with pagan ones.