My Annual Post on Halloween

This is my fourth October on Word Press, and in each of the past three years I have posted something about Halloween.  I’ve noticed that there aren’t as many this year on the subject… but there’s still time, and I’m sure there will be more in the days to come.112013 009-LR

Back in October of 1985 or ’86, I spent a Saturday afternoon with Mr. Edgar Dale, who gave me a guided tour of Virginia City, Nevada and of the historic part of Carson City, Nevada where I was living back in those days; it was one of the most amazing afternoons of my life. Mr. Dale was a spry 98-year-old who had been born and raised in Virginia City, and who had then moved to Carson City where he attended high school and graduated from Carson High School, Class of 1906. He took me all over Virginia City telling me about the people who lived in this house and that house, about the gunfight in this or that block, and the movement of the old trains that were still carrying silver ore from the mines of the Comstock in the 1890’s.

In Carson City, he pointed out the house on Minnesota Street where his best friend from high school lived. It seems that this friend was the preacher’s son, and that he had a younger sister. One fine summer evening, the sister’s birthday, Mr. Dale was invited to spend the night. He and his buddy waited until everyone was asleep, and then crept downstairs to get the rest of her birthday cake, and then snuck back upstairs, climbed out of the window and gorged themselves on the cake while sitting out on the roof. Apparently the boys thought they could talk and laugh out there without waking anybody up, but when the preacher came out the front door to see what was up, they  discovered that their brilliant plan hadn’t worked out so well.

Later that year, the boys again snuck out late at night. They met up and proceeded to acquire a goat that they placed on the roof of the preacher’s house, and then crept back to their respective homes. Oh, did I fail to mention that this was their Halloween prank for the year 1904?

The next day when the preacher came out to get the morning paper and noticed there was a goat on the roof, he knew right away that his son was involved, and that if his son were involved his partner in crime must be Edgar. Needless to say, the boys had to figure out how to get that goat off the roof, return it, and then be given not only numerous chores to do, but to be singled out in Sunday School for the next several months for all of the hard questions.

When I was that age, a prank like that would have landed me in jail!

That brings us to the question of Halloween and the Christian; should a Christian participate in Halloween?

Halloween has origins that are entirely pagan; nobody argues that point. Since it originated, a certain aspect of the occult has been added to it, and at least in some countries, there is a cultural aspect as well that has no particular occult connection, like Mr. Dale’s recollections of 1904. I must point out that Halloween is not the only holiday with pagan origins that most of us observe, but we’ll talk more about that in December.

Should a Christian participate in Halloween? Well, I don’t participate in Halloween, but that is mostly because my children have grown up.  When they were little, I allowed them to participate under my supervision. My reasoning was that Halloween as a festival for children and fun was neither pagan nor occultic; it was fun. I educated my kids on the difference and taught them the reasons and the dangers of messing around with the occult, and there were no untoward incidents of any kind.

I know that many will disagree with me on this, and that’s fine, I respect your views and understand why you have them.  Yet it seems to me that parents can take the effort to supervise and direct their children in their activities and ensure a safe and non-oocult Halloween, and if they’re really sharp, they can turn the occasion into one in which the gospel is shared, rather than into a pseudo-pagan indulgence.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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16 Responses to My Annual Post on Halloween

  1. Wally Fry says:

    We are taking the opportunity this year to hand out Gospel tracts with candy. Well written by the way.

  2. you are wise! I liked your idea, I liked how you said you can do something Christ centred instead of the whole occult thing etc, True, in everything you do , it should glorify God.

  3. fireflyby says:

    I so agree with you.
    Banning Halloween only gets kids more determined to celebrate it. I don’t have kids, but I have taught them for years and understand how they tick.
    I don’t like Halloween, but I don’t like fundamentalism either.


  4. Elaine says:

    I agree with your thoughts on this. I remember Halloween fun when I was growing up, as well as with my children when they were growing up as well. It was fun–not looked at in a negative or occult way.

  5. Little Monk says:

    Well put, Don. 🙂 I think we may be at an anniversary of our own, here… as I think “Comment” to your annual halloween post of last year, may have been my first published comment to your blog. It has been a very good year of fellowship… for which I thank you deeply.

    Let me then make my annual response in this area. As you, I respect the views and positions of all parents on this topic. ‘Twould be so much more convenient if babies arrived with “Owner/Operator Manuals” that explicitated policies on all these things, but there we are. Each region, culture, and family need to find the path of grace on matters spiritual for themselves.

    Still, in the midst of a culture that so often looks upon religion as a “social form”, and matters spiritual with but a nod and a wink… Halloween has always seemed to me to play a valuable role. It seems to be the only window left for the realities of hell, evil personified, demons, and the reality behind the occult… to impinge upon our community culture and consciousness. It is the sole surviving “ice breaker” for Christ’s victory over the darkness of evil, to grapple head to head in the minds and attention of people at large (young or old).

    Once upon a time, long long ago… I ministered with a number of young people who used this season to put on a “Haunted House” that used all the imagery to work into a presentation of Hell and damnation (in wonderful terrifying form), and ENDED the maze with a “passion presentation” offering salvation and rescue through Jesus Christ. This annual event attracted hundreds of young people every year, and was often the first presentation of the Gospel ever witnessed by participants. Christian kids often brought those without Christian exposure, and introduced them to the Gospel. Many followed up from here, found Christ, and began their Christian walks through this simple (but dramatic) ministry.

    All should, without doubt, follow their conscience on this as any matter. Still, sometimes “lateral thinking” can find ever more opportunities to present the Truth in every context (inclusively), rather than making efforts to shut ideas out through insulation and exclusivity. Was it C. S. Lewis who observed that the greatest asset the Devil has, is the decreasing belief in his existence at all?

    Grace to thee! — LM

    • Don Merritt says:

      LM, there you are; you have been missed greatly in these precincts!

      Yes, I agree with you on all points, and yes, I also recall your haunted house story from last year. It has indeed been a great year of fellowship. Thanks as always for chiming in, it is a blessing for all of us!

  6. trotter387 says:

    Interesting Don I do respect your view and the decision you made with your children. I took the opposite view working on the principle of the fountain at James 3 : 10.

    A blessing and a course out of the same source – trick or treat?

    Also the date is significant for another reason because it correlates with the exclusion of the spirit sons of god, who had forsaken their heavenly place for the daughters of men, being prevented from taking materialised bodies.

    My sons never lost out, nor did they criticise others for taking part but they were singled out for ridicule and vile treatment which demonstrated that some things are worth standing up for.

    Again an interesting difference in approach.

  7. Don, I have enjoyed reading your site, but I have to say I do agree with trotter387 on the matter of Halloween. Both my husband and I also detest this so-called “holiday” and we have chosen not to allow our son participate in Halloween themed events. We too, don’t think our son is missing much. Our church offers a “Trunk or Treat” on the said night of trick-or-treat, however, we were really sad to see our Christian brothers and sisters dressing in skeletons, ghosts, etc costumes in the past few years, even though it is specific stated not to dress in “evil or disrespectful” costumes. We did go to church’s festival the first year and we dressed our soon in his “armour” outfit, and I placed the Armour of salvation scriptures on each of the parts. I remember people asking what is that and not really understanding what we were showing. It was really sad to seen Christians not excited about God’s Word and more excited about who was dressed as the Carebears or the cute little bumble bees. I understand churches trying to keeping our children safe and spreading the Word, but it is sad to see that Christians do not recognize the evilness that is slipping into the “so-called” innocent events of holidays. I find Halloween to be one of the worst and having a small child, you see how easy they are drawn to the “spookiness” and evil attributes of this holiday. Thus, say, unfortunately even Thanksgiving and Christmas have become more pagan and less in showing the true meaning of Christ’s birth.
    Thus said, As always, an interesting view.

  8. pastorrwrice says:

    Thanks for your comments Don, and thanks for reading my blog. The church I pastor is situated smack in the middle of the busiest halloween street in our small town. We could close the doors that night, but instead we open them wide and touch the lives of well over 600 kids with candy, the hope of Jesus and our love. Halloween may be shrouded in evil, but I believe through Jesus’ love we can triumph over the darkness and bring light even on this night!

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