The Annual Moral Dilemma Of Halloween

I hate Halloween. Hate it.

Can’t stand the movies, the costumes, the fascination with the ‘dark’, or the tooth decay that goes with it. And I’m also not a fan of those snobs that give out healthy alternatives like apples, or toothbrushes, or dental floss. What kind of sick mind does that? You decorate for Halloween, get your house ready for the trick-or-treaters and you give out dental floss??

I especially am not a fan of those who combine good dental hygiene with a spiritual tract. “Happy Halloween and here is something for your teeth and something for your soul.”

I think I am of the mind that you either need to be in or out on Halloween. Either step up your game and give out legit candy or keep your porch light off.

Speaking of porch lights – it doesn’t work in our neighborhood. The lights could be off, I could have a sign in my yard that says – “I Hate Halloween, Don’t Bother Me” and kids will still ring my doorbell. It doesn’t help that the guy down my street decorates just as much for Halloween as he does Christmas. His porch light stays off but the tombstones, fake cobwebs in the trees, pumpkins, and eerie music connected to a motion detector make up for it. Does he have a job? Is this what retired people who wear dress socks really do with their free time?

What Halloween really presents to me though is a significant moral dilemma. Is this a pagan holiday that as a Christ-follower I should avoid like the plague or a harmless day of dress-up? Should I ban the practice from my home or set up good Christian alternatives to it?

Most folks know the origin of Halloween. November 1st is All Saints (the Holy) Day, October 31st – All Hallows (the Holy) Eve. All Saints Day was a Christian holiday and the pagans took the day before it – Halloween – to celebrate all that was NOT holy.

It’s basically a reverse Christmas.

Back “in the day,” Christ-followers ambushed a pagan holiday that celebrated Mother Earth and multiple gods and framed it as a Christian holiday to celebrate the coming of Christ – the one, true God. Hate to burst your bubble but Jesus wasn’t really born on December 25th but we celebrate it then and the world seems to be okay with that.

Not that any of this really solves the dilemma for me. My own church has wrestled with this issue. Schools will allow us to promote a Halloween party but not a church fall festival. Doesn’t matter that the title doesn’t change a thing as to what we actually do at the event.

There are clear verses in Scripture that denounce witchcraft and sorcery. So on one level, I get why Halloween is seen as the most evil day of the year. But I also see nothing wrong with kids playing dress-up and wanting to fleece their neighbors for candy either. My own house is divided on this issue – so it’s not a clear-cut issue.

Here’s my suggestions if you decide to ‘do’ Halloween. Be a blessing to your neighborhood. Be the house that gives away full-size candy bars, free hot cider for the adults. Be a house that is warm and inviting, where you are sitting on the porch or in the driveway with lawn chairs and corn-hole. Make your house the place the whole neighborhood WANTS to go visit. Don’t give away tracts, Bibles, or dental floss.

Use the night to establish relationships and friendships with your neighbors. We have a cul-de-sac with two families with small children. We use events and nights like this to reconnect with them, to make sure they remember they can draw on our driveway with sidewalk chalk, and to remind them that mi trampoline es su trampoline.

But if you don’t do Halloween – that’s fine as well. Just keep the porch light off. Maybe that will work in your neighborhood.


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