Do I Have to Carve Jesus into a Pumpkin to be a Christian at Halloween?

Halloween is met with mixed reactions from Christians. Some say that participating in Halloween gives sanction to a holiday that promotes witches, divination, and other occult practices. Others participate in the drunkenness and debauchery that accompany the holiday. And still others create “hell housesjesus-pumpkin4” at their church, attempting to shock young people and scare them into becoming Christians.

We’ve all heard reasons why Christians shouldn’t celebrate Halloween, and there’s no doubt that the origin of this holiday was pagan in nature. But what if, as Christians, we used Halloween well, not celebrating its pagan roots but redeeming it for Christ’s purposes? You don’t have to carve Jesus into a pumpkin to glorify God this year (but props to you if you can do it). Here’s a few ways to think about Halloween: 

1. Meet and engage neighbors. We live in a town that has lots of back porches, but few front porches. This is one of the few opportunities that we have every year where everyone is out front and all the neighbors are walking around. Interact with your neighbors – meet them, talk to them, engage them, reach out, and love them well.

2. Spend time with family and friends. Kids (and let’s be honest, adults too) love to get dressed up as their favorite super hero or Elsa from Frozen. What could be more exciting than a huge outdoor party where everyone gets to play dress up and you get a bag full of candy? Make this a night that your family looks forward to because it’s a night spent together, or a night spent with good friends – something that can be rare in our culture of busyness.

3. Demonstrate generosity. Hand out huge candy bars or have a great candy selection. Be the generous neighbor. Be the house that kids think is so cool! (Full disclosure: we can’t do the huge candy bar thing because we would inevitably have a lot leftover and that would be a problem at our house. See: gluttony.)

Halloween is a fantastic opportunity to redeem a holiday our culture has embraced that began dark and evil. Let’s pray that God would guide us in our plans, help us to think about Halloween well, and use it for his purposes in our world.

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