I am looking forward to Halloween. I like the costumes, meeting the neighbours, seeing all the smiles on kids faces, and of course the candy. We levy a pretty high ‘candy tax’ in our house. Also somehow I always overestimate the amount of kids that will come to our door so we end up with extra chocolate bars to get rid of.
But speaking as a Christian, and as a pastor I recognize that not everyone in my faith community shares the same love for Halloween. Some Christians for various reasons really dislike Halloween. And when we as a faith community really dislike something we have the tendency to be a little weird and kind of annoying about it.
So this year I thought I would do my best to help out. If you are a Christian and are feeling uneasy about Halloween here are a few tips and pointers to help you avoid annoying your neighbours.
If You Chose NOT To Participate;
Do So Quietly– Most people are not celebrating Halloween because they love Satan. They are celebrating it because they like free candy and dressing their kids up in cute costumes. I recognize there can be a lot of violent, sexual and down right evil imagery around Halloween and I don’t care for it either. But most people are not in it for that. Giving them a tongue lashing or posting rants to Facebook about the evils of Halloween won’t make those things go away. And they make you look kind of cranky. Instead just take a page out of the Jehovah Witness’ handbook. Turn your porch lights off and quietly watch some TV until bedtime.
Do Not Throw An Alternative Event That Still Is Clearly Halloween– Some Christians want to celebrate Halloween but call it something else. I have been to a few ‘harvest parties’ where kids dressed up and got candy. I don’t think we are fooling anyone with this attempt. If you really don’t want to celebrate Halloween then don’t. Simply pick up discounted boxes of candy on November 1st so you don’t miss out on those tiny Kit Kat bars.
Do Not Judge Those Who Participate– This should be a given but I am going to say it anyway. If you have come to the point in your faith that you feel you cannot participate in Halloween that is fine. But other Christians, like myself, have not. Don’t judge. We are not conforming to the world we are enjoying what we consider to be a mostly harmless celebration.
If You Chose TO Participate:
Pass Out Candy-I know there is a movement in the US in particular to mobilize Christians to give out tracts and the like on Halloween. This practise is very annoying, and I doubt has resulted in a single new Christian. Remember when you were a kid and the dentist in your subdivision gave out toothbrushes instead of candy? You were disappointed because you wanted a chocolate bar. This is the same thing, only worse. At least parents looked at the toothbrush and thought it would be useful. When they look at the chick tract you gave them they just think you are a little scary.
Go Easy On The Sanctified Decorations– There are some pretty impressive Christian themed pumpkin carving patterns out there. If you feel like having a sanctified jack-o-lantern power to you, but I suspect one is enough.
Before I sign off I do have one final suggestion. This has nothing to do with faith at all but I still feel I should pass this along. As far as I can tell only about 1 in every 100 people or so like those yellow, orange and white candy corn things. Don’t give them out. They are gross.
Happy Halloween to you all, Christian and Non-Christian alike.
Thanks Bonnie, it is good to see your name pop up again!
This is awesome! You are one cool Christian! 🙂 My favorite line, “Most people are not celebrating Halloween because they love Satan” haha
Thank you! And I think it is true, most people are not.
p.s. I’d love for you to participate in my “A Day in the Life” series! Be awesome to have a guy’s day in there 🙂
Kerry why don’t you zip me an e-mail and we can chat about it.
This might explain it best…http://kerryswindingroad.com/2013/10/14/a-day-in-the-life/
And then I went on to make a button for it. Ha! Going through this week. A lot of people are just doing one general post or you can do one for the rest of the week, totally up to you. Also, check out my page for it where I link everyone’s posts.
That’s my favorite line too! I also like the note about candy corn. Barf.
I am glad I wrote that line all the more now!
Um….You are wrong. Dead Wrong. Candy Corn is awesome.
haha ok Maybe I engaged in a bit of hyperbole. It seems like more than 1 in 100 like candy corn. Maybe it is more like black liquorice, somewhere in the 1 in 20 range.
Black licorice – GROSS! Candy corn – YUM! Though, unless it is in a sealed container, we won’t be eating it. Safety first!
ok, black licorice has got to be more in the 1 in 10000 range. Only people who like that are toothless old people.
I love this post and the list of DO NOTs. Things to avoid handing out: tracts, toothbrushes, candy corn, and RAISINS.
lol You are not the first person to suggest a ban on raisins today. I guess they are part of my blind spot, I like the little boxes of raisins and for that matter raisin cookies.
Yup – as a parent with REALLY little children, both of whom will be trick or treating, those raisins will actually be a treat to at least one of my children, likely both.
I might be SLIGHTLY shocked at the amount of Halloween decorations happening on my street. I might have even said “I feel like we are living on a street with Satan worshipers!” I might have been using the literary device of hyperbole though.
We just put up some spiderwebs and some friendly ghosts to fit in. We will not be going to the scary houses with witches and monsters all over the house, but not because we are Christians – because we don’t want the kids to be scared. Great tips!
There are a lot of decorations on our street too! I am not sure I have ever seen so many. Some of them are pretty creepy too. There is one house with severed hands and feet in the window, I think we will skip that one for the same reason that you mentioned.
So – I might be guilty! I plan a ‘Trunk or Treat’ the Sunday before Halloween at our church as a community outreach. This satisfies those in our church who don’t celebrate Halloween, but it is also one of our largest outreach events during the year! If you came to the event, you wouldn’t even know a church ran it (except that it is at the church) – but we don’t talk about the ‘holy ghosts’ or about ‘jesus’ angels’ or the devil or anything! In fact, we don’t talk about Jesus at all! The kids get to play some games, get some prizes, and then go trunk-to-trunk getting candy. The only thing they get from us is an invite to come back in their treat bags! (I very purposefully make sure it isn’t held on Halloween as I don’t want it to be seen as an alternative to that!)
Does that count as something Christians shouldn’t do?
I really liked this post! And I HATE tracts and candy corn!
No I don’t think this counts as a thing to avoid, I think it is a great idea for exactly the reason you said. You haven’t set up the event as the holy alternative to Halloween. You created a fun outreach event that ties into what is happening in the community at large.
There is a real difference in intent. Instead of ‘protecting’ you are ‘connecting’
We should rename Christian Halloween to “Tract or Treat”. Bahaha!
Well that is better than ‘Jesusween’
‘Weighing’ in…literally…mostly about black licorice and candy corn…which I like…well love…ok…scarf down (inhale) handfuls whenever I can get them…also the little orange pumpkins…and tootsie rolls, and candied peanuts and those peanut and toffee bars that my husband used to buy at the corner store for the cousin he didn’t like when his Mom gave him money to go get treats for the visiting relatives. So I guess I’m old and toothless….and gi-normous. Also…Halloween – love it – love the costumes and the fun – read this by Steve Bell a couple years ago and find it an equally great voice on the Halloween/Christian conversation. http://blog.stevebell.com/2009/10/keeping-christ-in-halloween/
Meghan learned to love black licorice because she realized all the kids gave it a way. It was a way to increase her own candy supply!
I appreciate your thoughts and agree it’s fun to see the kids dress up and get some candy…too much is just too much. What I don’t like is the really evil and frightening costumes…no need for that. I used to go to a church where we went to a few busy areas and gave out hot chocolate to parents. That was fun and very appreciated on a cold October night…and neighbourhood parents got to meet which is always a good thing.
That is a great idea, one that I may borrow sometime. And I agree some costumes are way over the top.
I quite enjoyed reading this.
While I’m not an active Christian anymore (I was baptized, got my first communion, but never went so far as to be confirmed), there were many points I agreed with you on.
I personally LOVE Halloween. I love horror movies, I love feeling scared (that’s weird, right?), but Halloween night is mean to be for the kids, and little kids get scared when you put up severed heads and limbs, and portray murder scenes on your front lawn. Did you see that article? There was a man whose Halloween decorations prompted several 911 calls – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2461451/Halloween-decorations-crushed-corpses-911-call.html
What bothers me are the Christians who use EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY to try and push their faith onto other people. I use the word “push” quite deliberately, as they can be quite pushy about it. I’ve experienced this both here at home and while living in Korea.
Being pushy won’t convince me to join your faith. If anything, it pushes me further and further away, because I don’t want to turn into “that person”, who can’t just let little kids have fun.
Oh wow I hadn’t seen this. People really are starting to go over the top with the Halloween decorations. And I hear you about interactions with pushy Christians. Some day I will have to tell you about the time I was doubly evangelized while sitting at Starbucks reading.
I don’t think I ever cared much for Halloween, even as a kid. I feign interest for the sake of motherhood and being a public school teacher, and hey, I love candy, but it always felt to me like I was dressing up to look like someone I’m not, and going to a strangers house to beg for food. It never really sat well with me. I love horror movies and books and games, but the trick-or-treating business always felt weird. But hey, enjoy yourselves! I am gaining the enthusiasm for holidays for my little guy.
…and send your spare Rockets to my house.
There are never spare rockets in my house, I love me some Rockets.
Winding Road shared this on her FB page and oh my goodness – what a great post! I’m so glad she shared as you summed it up brilliantly! I’m a huge lover of Halloween, it is a great celebration of the harvest and renewal and I find it is great for my soul!
Anyway – loved this!!
Thank you so much I am glad you enjoyed it.
Hahaha! love it. Halloween is an awesome holiday! Not even for the candy. I love the festive ness and all the mythical creatures. So much magic in the air!
It’s all in what you make of it……
Glad to see it from this perspective. It always amazes me how some people make too much out of nothing. Yes, they can become annoying in the process..
Jenna bought us a bag of candy corn from the bulk barn last week; I didnt get a single one, she ate them all.
Sounds like she did you a favour if you ask me.
Ran across this article as I’m looking on Pinterest for cute Christian ideas to include in the goodie bags I give to my neighbor. Very interesting points. I totally get the “annoying Christian” thing, but I also want to be a sold-out Jesus freak. We live in Seattle with a 5% population of evangelical Christians, so….I’m torn. I want to tell my lost neighbors about Jesus as I give them candy, BUT don’t want to push them away. Thoughts?
Hey Melissa thanks for the question and for finding my little corner of the internet. You raise a good question. I don’t consider myself an evangelist but I do feel all Christians are called to spread the gospel. I will do my best to answer your question. Here are a couple of points to consider;
1. The vast majority of people who get home and see the information you placed in their bag will toss it away without really reading it. The few that read it will most likely dismiss it. I am not sure if anyone has even been converted by randomly reading a Christian handout. So by placing the Christian track/comic etc, or candy in the bag I don’t think you will achieve the goal you want to, telling your neighbours about Jesus.
2. The people you are most likely to reach are people you know well and are active in their lives. This would be your non-Christian friends and family. If you don’t have any non-Christian friends (with only 5% of the population being evangelical Christian you would really have to work at that) you need to make some. Real friends. People you care about and are interested in. Jesus often spent time with people and dealt with them immediate needs before he went deeper with them. Sometimes we try to skip that and inform people what their real problem is and what the solution is.
My suggestion to you would be to take Halloween as an opportunity to talk and get to know the people who come to your door. See if you recognize anyone from where you shop, or where you work, or where you go to the gym etc and start building connections from there. Take your passion for Jesus and marry it to your next passion, when you do you will find your most fruitful mission field.
Are you passionate about Jesus and children? Maybe you can host a parent and tots/kids meet and greet?
Are you passionate about Jesus and cooking? Maybe you can share goodies around your neighbourhood
Are you passionate about Jesus and the gym? Maybe you can become a ‘chaplain’ in your gym, people could come to know you as a person willing to learn about them and pray for them.
I could go on but I suspect you get to idea. Take your desire to be ‘a sold-out Jesus freak’ and make sure you pair that with being a person that people like to have around. This is slow going for sure, but in the end I think it is much more successful than any other thing we could do.
I hope this helps, please feel free to ask anything else, or tell me if you think I am off base.