4 Biblical Reminders for the Halloween SeasonSome avoid it. Others revel in it. Suggestions for discernment through the darkness.
For some Christians, Halloween just means kids in funny costumes and candy corn. They love the holiday and look forward to it all year long. Other Christians avoid the holiday entirely, hoping to spare themselves from the dark spiritual energy often associated with Halloween.
Those who abstain from Halloween often cite the Old Testament’s constant prohibition of dark spiritualism and of occult, pagan witchcraft, forbidding practices like divination, necromancy and cult worship of pagan gods. There is certainly value in that, but it’s not the only good Christian response to Halloween. In fact, Halloween offers Christians an opportunity to be aware of God in a new way, through the lens of darkness, fear and the unknown.
To respond to these admittedly difficult questions, here are 4 reminders with scriptural evidence that will help guide you this Halloween. Remember—these ideas are merely starting places for discernment, and if you want to know what God’s wisdom means for your life, pray about these things and wait for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
I. Jesus Christ’s authority extends to death and the unknown.
Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. —Romans 14:9
I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. —Revelations 1:18
Although these words have deeper meanings, the message could not be clearer. Although Jesus Christ is the source of life in the universe, He is also the sole authority over death itself. When Job suffers, He remembers that “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away” (Job 1:20-21).
We know that God is the authority of light and darkness, life and death. Jesus Christ’s authority extends into every arena of life. Even an actual warlock falls under God’s supremacy and authority, so there is never anything to fear.
This is the main point that needs to stay at the top of Halloween discussions. God’s power is not threatened by pagan witchcraft or dark spiritualism. He alone is sovereign over the spiritual world, and nothing will happen through Halloween that He doesn’t allow. Since we know that God loves us, we have nothing to fear, no matter what day of the year it is.
II. Halloween is an opportunity to reflect on death and the mysteries of the spiritual realm.
Human lives are more insulated from death than ever before. One reason is that the miraculous development of medicine and technology means that we’re living a lot longer than we used to.
But one negative aspect of this removal of death from the public sphere is that people are allowed to live their lives in a way that ignores the truth about death, that we all will die. It’s critical for Christians to spend time meditating about death, just as Jesus himself faced death fearlessly. It’s also important for non-Christians to think about death because the fear of death leads us to hunger of God’s forgiveness and a life of obedience to His will.
So, instead of rejecting the holiday entirely, one possible strategy for making the most of Halloween is to use the season as a reason to pray about death, and to pray that by celebrating Halloween, people would remember their own mortality and their impending need for God.
And don’t forget that God will answer your requests for wisdom. There is much to be gained by meditating on the mysteries of life, death and the spiritual forces of the earth.
III. Halloween requires Christian discernment.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. —Galatians 5:19-21
Another way to make the most of the Halloween season is to use Halloween as practice for discerning the spirits. In other words, Halloween allows a wonderful opportunity for Christians to demonstrate their spiritual ability to understand where good, honest fun stops, and where sin begins.
For instance, when people use Halloween as an excuse to practice moral recklessness, that’s not behavior that a Christian should participate in. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily evil to go to a Halloween party or to go out with friends and loved ones. What it means is that even at a Halloween party, a Christian should behave like Christ.
IV. Halloween is a tempting opportunity to judge others.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” —Matthew 7:1-2
They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. —John 8:7-9
Another clear Christian guideline is that we don’t get to judge people just because someone’s behavior offends us.
That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to be concerned by reckless behavior, and that doesn’t mean abandoning your moral code either. It just means practicing open-mindedness and patience for others, so that you can see them how Jesus sees them.
If you see people dressed and behaving in a way that you don’t think God wants you to dress or behave, it’s fine to say, “That’s not for me,” but no one’s behavior should change how you feel about them. If someone offends you and you stop loving that person, you’ve fallen for the trap of judgment. That is in clear contradiction to Jesus Christ’s example. We’re told to love even our worst enemies, and that certainly means loving people who make mistakes.
Ultimately, Halloween calls us to reflect on the mysterious power of the God we worship, a God whose fearlessness of death was demonstrated in Jesus’s sacrificial death for us, and any spiritual energy or idea or entity that might want to harm Christians, they have already been defeated by Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. So, whether you choose to celebrate Halloween or not, rest assured that the spiritual forces of this fallen world are nothing compared to the majesty and power of God.