This week at Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer of Wheaton College argues that Christian families should plan on trick-or-treating this Halloween.
While acknowledging that the decision for or against trick-or-treating is a decision that depends on individual families and their convictions, Stetzer says that he and his family have chosen to be involved in the Halloween tradition. He says that other families can and even should do the same, offering three reasons why.
First, he says, this is “likely the only time all year when neighbors will flock from near and far, ring your doorbell, and want to have face-to-face interaction with you.” That makes Halloween the perfect time to connect with the people who live down the street from you—a perfect chance to show hospitality to your literal neighbor. Stetzer suggests using this time to remember their names and exchange phone numbers in anticipation of planning future family gatherings.
Second, “you don’t have to abandon your Christian faith or confess allegiance to pagan deities in order to celebrate Halloween.” All it takes, he explains, is wisdom in choosing appropriate costumes and decorations for your family to use—things that don’t support an anti-Christian ideology. Using an example, he points out that “it’s simply not true that you are participating in deeds of darkness when you dress up like a farmer and get candy from neighbors.”
Lastly, Stetzer writes, “you can have a missional Halloween in how you greet neighbors.” In a sense, he’s saying that you can be just as mission-minded during trick-or-treating as you should be during any other time of your daily lives. Just like at any other time, Halloween is a time to build relationships based on the love and grace of Christ.
In my opinion, there’s no obvious right or wrong answer when it comes to Halloween. It really does depend on the family and their personal convictions. Regardless of personal preferences, however, all Christians must remember the powerful God they serve. As Stetzer explains, “Christians needn’t be so scared about how to handle Halloween. Like all things in this world, it’s about learning to separate the wheat from the chaff—the worthy from the worthless.”
Our God has the ultimate power over the evil forces behind Halloween and its history. He can use either your involvement in or abstaining from trick-or-treating for his ultimate glory. So, whatever you do this Halloween, do it for the glory of God.