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A Heart For God: To Trick or Treat or Not to Trick or Treat?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

To Trick or Treat or Not to Trick or Treat?

"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Eat anything that is sold in the meat market, without asking questions for conscience' sake. For the earth is the Lord's, and all it contains. (1 Corinthians 10:23-26; NIV)

It's Halloween again very soon, my friends. And so I thought I might deal with the question of whether or not Christians should participate in costume parades and door-to-door trick-or-treating, etc.

Without going into the history of Halloween, let me just say we can all agree there's much about this holiday's origins that isn't good. Therefore those who believe Christians should have nothing to do with Halloween have a very good point. And more power to them.

But what about the other side of the coin (which I believe there is another side of the coin)? What about those who still choose to participate in Halloween despite its origins? Do they have a leg to stand on? I submit to you they do based on the verses above. In them the Apostle Paul talks about the believer's freedom.

The issue in Paul's day was whether or not a Christian could eat meat sacrificed to idols. Pagans used to do just that. They would dedicate meat to their so-called "gods." Then they'd sell the meat in the marketplace to anyone who would buy it. So the question was, "Could believers eat that kind of meat?" Paul's answer in the above verses was that it was okay to eat meat sold in the marketplace that had previously been sacrificed to idols ("Eat anything that is sold in the meat market"). It was not unlawful to do it. It was not a sin. (Is that a sigh of relief I hear from some followers of the Lord?)

And yet I would go on to say to these believers who choose to participate in Halloween (this statement of mine also finds it's basis in the above passage), "Is it still the best thing to do even if it is permissible? Or might it be better to attend a church-sponsored alternative celebration and bring your unsaved friends and neighbors along with you?" Even if the church you're attending doesn't offer one, there are other churches in the area that do.

Ultimately, the decision "to Trick or Treat or not to Trick or Treat" is yours, beloved, in this matter. Enjoy your freedom in Christ.

"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36)

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23 Comments:

Blogger mherzog said...

Here is a good video on meat: http://meat.org

9:40 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Paul goes on to say in verses 31-33: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved."

I think this is important to keep in mind as we decide whether or not to participate in Halloween events.

Are we glorifying God? Are we participating with others for their own good, so that they may be saved? If I participate, would I be causing others to question God or would I use it as an opportunity to bring God's light to others and to the Halloween event?

-Aaron
My "Trutheran" Christian Living blog

5:29 AM  
Blogger Dina Carpenter Meek said...

I think if you celebrate Halloween in the way the Druids did, then you've got a problem. But today, I would venture to bet 99% of kids don't do it for any other reason than to just have fun. Think about it - families actually come together planning costumes (hopefully nothing too horrific and dark), parties, choosing candy to hand out, walking the neighborhood together. All in all, it seems like a positive thing that has grown out of something originally not based in Christianity. I can't imagine that's a bad thing.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

An excellent blog. I've always come down on the side of every person following God's leading in this (or any other) matter.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Rocque said...

It is great that so many churches have alternative events to Halloween. It is too strange out there now to let your children to go around the neighborhood knocking on doors and asking for candy. I agree that there should be adult supervision if this is going to happen.
I think group functions are the best. We have a harvest festival where I work and we also let the nearby preschoolers visit us and get some treats during the day.
It is all great, safe fun.

1:18 PM  
Blogger MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

I have to be honest. We don't do Halloween Trick or Treating. And I have done fall festivals and such at churches in the past.

But this year I am reconsidering doing even that. Why? Because I am not sure that it is the BEST thing, even if it is an okay or "good" thing.

And whenever I am unsure of what God would have my family do in a particular situation, I find it best to err on the side of cautious and conservative.

Just wanted to throw another POV out there in case there are others on the fence like I am. :)

6:49 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

At the same time, MarshaMarshaMarsha, while it may only be a "good" thing to do, it has the potential to be the "best" thing depending on how you use the opportunity. You could strongly influence other parents or children for God's Kingdom. It could be an opportunity to present celebrations of fun in a light that doesn't need darkness, magic, or demons to be fulfilling.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Amy Stephanie said...

Yeah,right,you go throught satanic ritual abuse where they start celebrating Halloween in September.Be raped,sexually abuse up to 600 times from ages of 1 to 10 years like I was,forced to watch sacrifices of children,satanic communion,satanic baptism,see kids being dismembered during rituals forced into being placed in coffins with dead people during ressurection ceremonies and see how you feel bout Halloween.I hate it,I am a ritual abuse survivor,on Halloween this year,on a Saturday which makes us SRA survivors even more anxious,nervous.I'm going to fast,stay away from PC,tv,not go out,and pray pray pray.Think about what I have been through and you may rethink trick or treat.I am not crazy,this happened to me.Many churches have rejected people like me,even when I confided in only one person,they rejected me.Ritual abuse survivor's aren't "acceptable" in church so I will never go back to church.So,God bless you all.Understand,respect how you feel even if you do trick or treat.I love you,am a born again Christian survivor and rejoice that my King Jesus Christ saved me from death,loves me,and is my Lord forever!!Praise God,He saved,will deliver me.Take care
Stephanie

5:48 PM  
Blogger GodsSunflower said...

I've struggled with this issue for a long time. I don't dress up personally but have had to compromise for my kids. We decided it best to allow them to dress up as something that isn't evil or scary. Now they're old enough to say "I'm not scared of it!" but that's not the point. Churches all over my area do an alternative, one on Halloween - it's an awesome outreach that's Biblically based. The kids play games, get a snack, and have participated in things like what it must've felt like to be on Noah's Ark, etc. Every year they come up with something awesomely creative.
Stephanie, my heart breaks for you. You shouldn't be pushed aside because of the abuse you suffered. I have to over something I struggle with, not related to Halloween... in your case, I don't blame you for not having any part of it and I will pray for you.

12:33 PM  
Blogger David Guion said...

I have a great personal antipathy for halloween. I think that in addition to the scriptures you mention, the principles of Romans 14 are important: despite anyone's personal feelings about matters where there is not direct, explicit scriptural mandates, we need to accept differences of opinion in love and pursue our own decisions in faith. Never judgment. Great post.

David Guion The All-Purpose Guru

7:09 AM  
Blogger T, Michael said...

Like so many other issues, it is more about "why" we do it, rather than "what" we do. It is the condition of our hearts that draws the most scrutiny, and there is only one who can make such a determination.

I have seen and heard so many differing Christian views on this, that I have come to realize the relative unimportance of the holiday itself. It's not a big deal. Seriously.

The glorification of sin and revelry can be found in just about any cultural phenomenon. Take football, for example. As an institution, it is dripping with dishonesty, excess, drug addiction, violence, objectification of women and the promotion of gratuitous sex, murder, theft and pride. Not to mention the countless hours stolen from families by obsessed fans who can't tear themselves away from the sports channel.

But, hey, football is okay right? I mean, its all-American. So, it can't be bad. Hmm.

The fact of the matter, is that football is much more dangerous to a heart than Halloween is.

Again, like anything else, our intentions are the key. We need to be connected to God's leading in the situation. It's that simple.

You are never going to stop some Christians from being shrill and overreacting to things they think are evil. It has always been a problem and it will continue to be a problem. Take it with a grain of salt. Legalism is rampant. Its a good thing that they don't get to decide the soteriological condition of your eternal soul, huh?

Look, we are free in Christ...period. Go enjoy Halloween. Its no big deal. Get over it.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I totally agree with you. Many people don't celebrate Halloween, but have no problem celebrating Christmas. Do they know the pagan origins of that Holiday? I know we Christians celebrate Christ's birth on that day, but the origin of that holiday had nothing to do with Christ. If dressing up is an issue for some, they might consider not having a Christmas tree in their home as well!

Holloween is a very hugely celebrated time in our community. We don't involve ourselves with the dark side of it, but enjoy meeting our community, and passing out candy. Everyone in our neighborhood sits outside, some have firepits in their driveway, and it is a fun way to get to know people and invite others over.

I think many of us would do good to remember who Jesus spent time with and where he chose to spend that time. He went to where the people were. He didn't spend all his time with "like minded" people, who cut themselves off from the rest of the world. He told us that we are not to be IN the world, but not OF the world.

Thanks for writing this!

10:10 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I totally agree with you. Many people don't celebrate Halloween, but have no problem celebrating Christmas. Do they know the pagan origins of that Holiday? I know we Christians celebrate Christ's birth on that day, but the origin of that holiday had nothing to do with Christ. If dressing up is an issue for some, they might consider not having a Christmas tree in their home as well!

Holloween is a very hugely celebrated time in our community. We don't involve ourselves with the dark side of it, but enjoy meeting our community, and passing out candy. Everyone in our neighborhood sits outside, some have firepits in their driveway, and it is a fun way to get to know people and invite others over.

I think many of us would do good to remember who Jesus spent time with and where he chose to spend that time. He went to where the people were. He didn't spend all his time with "like minded" people, who cut themselves off from the rest of the world. He told us that we are not to be IN the world, but not OF the world.

Thanks for writing this!

10:10 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I totally agree with you. Many people don't celebrate Halloween, but have no problem celebrating Christmas. Do they know the pagan origins of that Holiday? I know we Christians celebrate Christ's birth on that day, but the origin of that holiday had nothing to do with Christ. If dressing up is an issue for some, they might consider not having a Christmas tree in their home as well!

Holloween is a very hugely celebrated time in our community. We don't involve ourselves with the dark side of it, but enjoy meeting our community, and passing out candy. Everyone in our neighborhood sits outside, some have firepits in their driveway, and it is a fun way to get to know people and invite others over.

I think many of us would do good to remember who Jesus spent time with and where he chose to spend that time. He went to where the people were. He didn't spend all his time with "like minded" people, who cut themselves off from the rest of the world. He told us that we are not to be IN the world, but not OF the world.

Thanks for writing this!

10:11 AM  
Blogger Amy Stephanie said...

But Halloween really really hurts!!But Christ is my Savior.I am saved,born again without any doubt at all.Understand,open minded,non judgemental,and respectful about all your views on Halloween.

Just remember to pray for all Satanic Ritual Abuse survivor's like me.I am not "being quiet" anymore cause what I went through was so horrible,strange that people just don't want to hear "all the bad" in the world.Just good huncky doorey feel good all time nation.It's time for our voices to be heard,all of us who suffer SRA/DID cause it sure hurts when we all seek out churches,and confide in very few,they think we are strange,turn their backs on us.The American church has,does scare me.Does Christ fully recongnize the church USA body?Seems churches are digging into themselves instead of Christ,ie,let's be bigger,better than before.Uh,church isn't entertainment my friends.I'm very scared bout churches now cause of their ways.Not all churches hurt.Some friends whom I've met who have suffered DID/SRA none of them are able to go to church anymore cause of extreme hurt,rejection.Let's speak out.Love us,this wasn't our fault.

My view on Halloween???Well,has been stated.Love to you all and may Jesus reign in your hearts cause He is coming soon.Come quickly Lord Jesus,come quick and vast.

Stephanie

10:00 PM  
Blogger GodsSunflower said...

Amy Stephanie,
You have no idea how much I feel for you right now. I think you should speak out about this. I don't know a whole lot of what happens with Halloween.
The satanic involvement is a big deal. The hurting that goes on is a big deal. I go back and forth about Halloween because I see different sides of it. I don't dress up and we make it a strict rule not for the kids not to be anything evil or scary for that day. (currently battling that issue w/my 10 yo)
Football - I don't like it, but to me I associate it with my dad and all his beers.. And the Superbowl, on that day more women are victims of domestic violence more than any other day of the year. I spend that day mostly in prayer, knowing this.
Amy Stephanie, I'd like to get in touch with you if possible? I'm on twitter with this username - GodsSunflower.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Joe Sewell said...

Amy Stephanie, my heart goes out to you. While I dare not say that I can relate or empathize, as I was never in anything close to that situation, your view is important for the rest of us to know. We need to know who stumbles over our own freedoms & beliefs. I wish I could help other than to pray, but that's all I can do.

I look at Halloween in a slightly different way. The whole idea of "trick or treat" smacks of extortion and vandalism to me. (waiting for some laughing to stop) OK, the "extortion" part is a little extreme, and my house has never been vandalized. That's what it promotes to some, though. How is that healthy?

Church "fall festivals" can be helpful, but I feel they can also draw attention to the day and to Halloween just by their existence. "What's a 'fall festival?' Why are they having it tonight?"

I opt out of the whole thing, treating it as just another day/night. Oh, I also opt out of the Stupid Bowl as well, choosing instead to watch Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl" instead. :)

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Christine Smith @Lifeverse said...

I have volunteered at two Christian schools. In the first school I was told that Halloween offends SOME Christians, therefore as a school we would respect those Christians and not celebrate it. Not even Jack-o-Lanterns, as you posted in the blog. At the second school, they celebrated Halloween and even had a school event where the kids dress up and collect candy. My personal feeling is that Halloween is distasteful- it has gone too far with skeleton bones, headless people, children with bloody knives in their heads. It's not entertaining, it's disturbing and disrespectful of people who have lost loved ones to tragic deaths. It's the one day of the year where witches are celebrated and sorcery is tolerated, even by Christians. We take our focus off God and wrap our eyes on celebrating evil. Yuk!

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Deut 18:10-11 NIV

8:03 AM  
Blogger Lex Meyer said...

@ "Amy Stephanie" - It broke my heart to read your comments about being a satanic ritual survivor, and I pray that Christ will completely heal those wounds and give you peace.

It broke my heart even more to hear about your rejection by church people, and I pray that Christ will heal those hurts also.

I want to encourage you that church (in its Biblical context) is simply a gathering of disciples who center around christ.

You have been hurt by "Institutional churches", and that is regrettable, but you have an opportunity to "be the church" with your believing friends, family, and neighbors. Church doesn't require clergy and liturgy, it just requires two or more disciples to gather in the name of Jesus Christ.

I simply want to encourage you to find fellowship with others, so that you can be mutually encouraged by one another in your walk with Jesus.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Rahn said...

so much joy to hear from Christians all over the world. God bless u all

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Halloween debate among Christians every year gets old. We can't ignore the fact that Halloween is Satan's high holy day. Satanic rituals are still going on today, as evidenced by our sister Stephanie here. It is a celebration of all that is evil, sinful, and dead. More missing children are reported on this day more than any day of the year.

I don't celebrate it at all, but I also don't have little kids. I'm not going to be judgemental against parents who take kids trick or treating. I don't think it is right to let the kids glorify evil with haunted houses, horror movies, and dressing up like evil characters. How does that glorify God?

Have the kids hand out tracts. Dress up as Bible characters if they must. If the church has an alterative activity, then use that as an outreach to the community. The children should know what the holiday really is without glorifying the devil.

8:22 PM  
Blogger debbieluvsjesus said...

Halloween goes so much deeper than "having fun." I have five girls and we have never celebrated.
The word says, come out from among them and be ye separate.We are to live our lives as unto to Lord.
As our brother stated, satanic things really go on, on this day.We Christians just take it to lightly.IT'S not all about fun, fun, fun.Wake up people.What does light and darkness have in common? Absolutely nothing!
We should not"compromise"our values.

10:40 AM  
Blogger debbieluvsjesus said...

Halloween goes so much deeper than "having fun." I have five girls and we have never celebrated.
The word says, come out from among them and be ye separate.We are to live our lives as unto to Lord.
As our brother stated, satanic things really go on, on this day.We Christians just take it to lightly.IT'S not all about fun, fun, fun.Wake up people.What does light and darkness have in common? Absolutely nothing!
We should not"compromise"our values.

10:40 AM  

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