As soon as the schools go back, and Strictly Come Dancing starts you can be sure that the shops start to become full of pumpkins, and skeleton costumes, ready for Halloween. But how should Christians respond to Halloween? Is it simply a fun festival for the children or does it have a dark side that we should avoid?
Firstly, Christians should not respond to Halloween with superstition. The Bible reminds us that evil is a real force at work in our world, as ‘the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). We shouldn’t underestimate his ability to blind the minds of unbelievers to the reality of spiritual warfare. (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Secondly, we can respond with confidence. While people are often fearful of witches, ghosts, and evil spirits, we mustn’t forget that God is in control, not Satan. Jesus has secured the victory over sin and evil on the cross: ‘having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.’ (Colossians 2:15).
Finally, we can also offer hope. ‘Christ died and returned to life so that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.’ (Romans 14:9). Halloween is an opportunity to share the hope of the gospel. For example, if we offer sweets to children calling to trick and treat, we might include information about the Christian faith or church. Or we could organise an alternative Light Party, celebrating Jesus as the light of the world.
C S Lewis provides a helpful balance for us: ‘There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall into about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.’ (The Screwtape Letters).