Three Reasons to Examine How You Celebrate~

1. What may not hurt you may hurt others.

Paul said that it wouldn't harm a Christian to eat meat sacrificed to an idol. After all, the pagan gods that the meat had been sacrificed to weren't real gods. In the same light, he probably would say that Christians are not prohibited from dressing in costumes and going trick-or-treating or attending Halloween parties. After all, "We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one." (I Corinthians 8:4)

But Paul went on to say that by doing what the believer was free in the Lord to do, the believer may be distressing another believer who doesn't realize he has this freedom. "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak" (I Corinthians 8:9). The weak ones would be those who still had problems with the idea of eating the food sacrificed to idols.

During Halloween, little children in particular are the weak ones. On TV, in movies, in school, and with their playmates, many children today are exposed to occult influences. We may be opening our children to these influences if we approve of these things in Halloween fun. We adults may be fully aware that we are only spoofing witches and ghosts, but the young may not be so sure.

If we have given our lives to Jesus Christ, then our eternal destiny is safe in the hands of Almighty God. But that's not true of most of the people around us.

There is a valid reason for most people to fear a "lord of death" -- even if they don't take him seriously on Halloween. We who have found life in Jesus should be careful that our freedom doesn't keep others from finding that same eternal life.

2. Some permissible things may hinder your Christian growth.

The Bible encourages us to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

This one night of the year, most eyes are not fixed on Jesus but on a darker image. The Christian's "race of faith" leads him to eternal life, to a joy that has no shadow. Should we really be focusing on the devil, witches and other dark beings, even for one night?

3. God says, "Don't imitate evil!"

"When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you 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? (Deuteronomy 18:9-11)

If our children dress as witches and sorcerers, if we hang cardboard ghosts in our windows, if we entertain with tales of ghouls and haunted houses -- what are we doing but imitating that which is evil? We need to make it clear as Christians that witches and evil spirits are not funny and are not harmless, even if the people in witch costumes are only play-acting.

Are There Alternatives?

As Christians, we have plenty of reason to celebrate. While the world around us focuses on activities honoring fear and death, we can celebrate the One who brings life.

The following ideas might help you celebrate October 31 in a way that's joyful for you and your family:

1. Celebrate All Saints' Day

Protestants shy away from honoring saints. Their reluctance generally is based on a fear that the honor will cross the line into worship or prayer to saints. We are to worship and pray to no one but God.

However, there is a good biblical basis for looking to those who have faithfully followed God in the past: Hebrews 11 has a roll call of believers who have set examples for us. But in his Letters to the Corinthians, Paul makes it abundantly clear that he and other saints are only servants -- men and women like ourselves who are following God. And it is God and God alone to whom we look in our worship and prayers.

But with nearly 2000 years of church history, we can well remember many faithful believers whose lives can encourage us in our walk with the Lord. That can include not only famous figures from the church's history, but also the saints we have known personally -- people in our own family and in our own church who are now with the lord. While the Celts trembled at the thought of their departed kin returning on Samhain, we can celebrate Halloween and All Saints Day by joyfully recalling our own departed saints. (Christians from many Protestant traditions may want to recall that October 31 is also Reformation Day, celebrating Martin Luther's beginning the Reformation by posting his "Ninety-five Theses" on the church door.)

2. Have a different kind of party.

You can have a fall harvest party, an All Saint's Day party, or simply a costume party. Have children (and maybe adults too) dress up as biblical characters and/or figures from Christian history. Or find some other positive theme. Some Christians plan a "Fools for Christ" party (see I Corinthians 4:10). This involves costumes and craziness, but none of the traditional symbols of death and witchcraft. Whatever you choose, avoid the usual Halloween symbols in decorations and activities. The way to "celebrate the dead" is by honoring God's saints, already in heaven, part of the body of Christ of which the living saints are a part.

3. Hold a Bible study on what God says about the occult and witchcraft.

This might be especially good for teenagers, since they are probably coming into frequent contact with influences of this type. This may sound farfetched to you, but in recent years there has been an amazing growth of witchcraft and Satanism in the U.S. Some New Age cultists are attracted to many aspects of witchcraft, especially the ideas of tapping the "powers of the universe" and of controlling our own destinies.

4. Use trick-or-treating as an opportunity to tell others about the love of Jesus.

Most Christian bookstores carry small pamphlets about the Lord -- designed especially for children on Halloween. These could be taped to candy and dropped into each trick-or-treat's bag.

5. Gather for a prayer and praise meeting.

During this night when Satanists and witches covens meet to cast their spells and perform grotesque rituals, it seems appropriate for believers to gather to praise the one and only God.

Praise God for His victory over death, Satan, hell and all evil. (Recall Paul's words in Romans 16:20: "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.") And pray for all the people who don't know that Jesus Christ wants to give them peace with God and eternal life. Pray for all the people who don't know that Jesus Christ wants to give them peace with God and eternal life. Pray that Jesus will reveal Himself to their minds and spirits.

Whatever you do on Halloween, use this biblical guidelines as you make your plans: "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (I Corinthians 10:31)

What About the Lord of Life?

Halloween's earliest origins reflect a fear of a lord of death that was common among ancient pagan cultures.

However, despite man's advances in science and philosophy, death remains for many a troubling event that they cannot avoid.

The Bible says that we have a spirit that, unlike our physical body, endures beyond the grave. However, the Bible also says our spirit is subject to death as well. But God offers us eternal life for our spirits. How do we get it?

First, we must understand that we all will be held accountable for the choices we make. If we choose to ignore God, we'll face eternal separation -- death -- from Him.(Romans 6:23, Hebrews 9:27)

Nothing we can do, no matter how good it may be, can make us good enough to have a relationship with God without Jesus Christ. (Titus 3:5, Ephesians 2:8,9)

But God sent Jesus -- our Lord of Life -- to be the bridge back to right standing with God. Christ's death on the cross paid the penalty that we faced for going our own way. (Romans 5:8, I Peter 3:18)

If you want to receive the eternal life God offers, you must invite Jesus into your life to be your Lord and Savior (John 1:12, Revelation 3:20).

Why not invite Jesus into your life right now? Pray this prayer:

"Jesus, I ask you to come into my life. I want to turn from living my life under my own control. Come now and live your life in me. Cleanse me from my sins. I receive you as my Lord and my Savior. I will live for you all the days of my life. Amen."

If you prayed this prayer from your heart, you can have absolute assurance that you have eternal life.

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)

Which one of these do you think portrays a Christ-like image?
If Jesus was there with you, would you be proud to say,
"This is my child..... isn't he (she) cute?"
What message are we sending?

For More Information on the Origin & Evolvement of Halloween