(WW) — The stores are full of Halloween merchandise. The thrust of the many publications I receive promote Halloween. Some believers struggle with Halloween. They say it promotes the Satanic forces of the world. Some go so far as to regard it as a community and corporate sinfulness.
During my childhood Halloween was not a big deal in the small towns where I grew up. Even in the early days of my ministry, churches had Halloween parties and people came in costume. Participants wore disguises so no one knew who they were. Once on Halloween I had been to a funeral and arrived home just as my children were going to trick or treat. I accompanied them on their trek; and seeing me in suit and tie, folk would ask, “Now who are you supposed to be?”
Soon the Halloween stuff will disappear from the stores and publications. The corporate world will make a brief stab at Thanksgiving celebration and turn their attention full steam ahead to Christmas. Once again there will be cries of community ungodliness: “They are commercializing Jesus birth!”
How should Christians respond? Some churches condemn Halloween celebrations and forbid any emphasis of them in their church. Others respond more positively. Instead of trick or treat they do trunk or treat, lining the parking lot with cars loaded with candy in their trunks. With the candy they may hand out a tract and information about their church encouraging people to attend.
Last Halloween, I was interim pastor of a church with a longstanding Halloween ministry. The entire small community was encouraged to come to church on Halloween for candy and games. It was one of our best outreach ministries. It seemed to me it was their game on our turf, a good trade-off.
It is common for Christians to respond negatively when faced with experiences we view as unchristian. Often this negative response comes too quickly, i.e. before we truly understand what is involved. Augustine advised Christians to be slow to judge. If you react too quickly before you understand, he said, you may put yourself out on a limb you must later saw off.
Upon observing the waywardness of society, the Apostle Paul had this to say, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). Good advice!