Every October, for as long as I can remember, church people — some of them might be Christians — start the annual Halloween debate.
I thought I might be lucky this year. I made it all the way to the last week of October before I saw it happen. But of course, some people just can’t stand it. A fitness guru I follow on Instagram who occasionally posts Christian messages apparently just couldn’t stand it any longer. So he became the one to start this year’s Halloween debate.
The debate centers on whether Christians should take any part in Halloween. Some Christians believe that Halloween can only be interpreted as evil. Therefore, they say, Christians should steer clear at all costs.
Others seem to understand that children can safely take part in the day’s festivities and even encourage it through “Trunk or Treat” events at the church. If you’ve never heard of “Trunk or Treat,” it’s an event where people decorate their vehicles and have candy and displays in their open trucks. Children dress up in costumes and “trick or treat” in the parking lot where the event is being held. It keeps them off roadways and out of neighborhoods. People generally consider it safer than just having kids ring random doorbells. I can’t say I disagree with that in this day and age.
The problem with churches that disapprove of Halloween but still host Trunk-or-Treat events is they seem to miss the obvious fact that they’re still taking part in Halloween.
They justify it by saying they only want the kids (and adults) dressing up in “non-scary” costumes. But if putting on a vampire or witch costume is enough to turn your spirit into something else, why isn’t dressing as a prince or princess or some random cartoon character enough to change your spirit? Almost no one is all good all the time.
Either dress up or don’t dress up. You can’t have it both ways.
This Halloween debate digs up the day’s history.
His post starts like any goofy conspiracy theory: He claims to have information “Google won’t show you.”
Said information reveals that Halloween traces its origins to a Pagan festival. Oh, the horror!
We’ve all heard this about Halloween. We’ve seen it from web searches powered by Google. I went to Google and searched “Halloween pagan” and pages of results came up. It showed me this article from Time, for example, and this one from History.com.
So like most goofy conspiracy theories, you can almost immediately begin disproving it.
But he goes right on, convinced no one would dare visit Google to look for themselves (while still encouraging people to “do their own research”).
He gives a few basics about the history of Halloween’s Pagan origins. He seems to argue that Christians should have nothing to do with the holiday. Clearly, he wants to be one of these hardliners.
He dodges comments about Christmas having its own Pagan origins. Every hardliner in the Halloween debate dodges that one because they sure don’t want to give up their Christmas plans even while they try to control what everyone else does every Oct. 31.
Then he makes the absurd assertion.
He relishes the comments from his “yes men” who pat him on the back for “posting truth.” He then says people who celebrate Halloween are “worshipping demons.” (It looks like that comment got deleted at some point.)
I left a response suggesting that Halloween is what we make it. I believe God knows what’s in our hearts. A loving, just God would be smart enough to know that a child dressing up as even a witch but who loves God isn’t acting as some sort of devil-worshipper for the night.
When a few folks called him out on essentially saying Christians were wrong to celebrate Halloween, he got defensive. He actually responded that he “didn’t even tell anyone they were wrong for celebrating.” Of course, I pointed out his own words in the same post: “If you follow Gods laws from the Bible you shouldn’t do things that worship other ‘gods.'”
I told him he clearly decided Christians are wrong to celebrate Halloween. If that’s the stand he wants to take, I respect his right to take that stand. I can disagree with his take and still respect his opinion. That’s something a lot of people have forgotten over the last five years or so.
But I told him he either believes Christians should or should not celebrate Halloween. He chose the latter.
With that in mind, he can’t then say that he truly believes a Christian isn’t wrong to celebrate Halloween.
That’s not some high-level religious debate. That’s simple logic. It’s either right or wrong for Christians. You can’t possibly believe it’s wrong for Christians to do something and then tell them they should go ahead and do it anyway.
Doing that would make someone a hypocrite, right?
That’s one of those little things that annoy people so much about church folk.
So is Halloween evil or not?
I think as with many, many things, it’s what you make of it. Some of the folks who jumped into this particular Halloween debate take issue with how many “young kids” celebrate Halloween without knowing the day’s true roots.
Well, that’s an important point, isn’t it?
How can you worship evil spirits if you have no idea that’s what the day began as?
I don’t happen to believe that the Halloween we know today has anything to do with Pagan worshipping — unless, of course, you happen to be Pagan.
I don’t believe that families who show up at a church’s Trunk or Treat event are celebrating evil spirits just because they choose to call it by another name.
What about children dressing up as a witch or warlock? Well, I think a kid can do so without being possessed. I think you can dress up as a vampire without having any desire to drink blood.
But then I think you can choose to dress up as a superhero that shuns all hints of evil…and underneath that, you can still be a person of poor character.
Dressing up as a monster for Halloween doesn’t make you one.
Unfortunately, dressing up as a respected Biblical figure doesn’t make you one of them, either.