On yesterday, I was asked a question that I knew would eventually come up: What do you guys do for Halloween?
Now, I always have a slight smile when I hear this question for two reasons. First, the question amuses me because I’ve only been asked this question around White Christians. This actually wasn’t really a discussion in the Black church. So the fact that this has only been a discussion in predominantly White churches is always amusing to me. Secondly, I’m never sure of the kind of reaction that I’ll receive from the person who is asking me. Some people will thoughtfully consider what I say. Others will be a little dismissive of what I say and talk about how harmless it is. So I always find a mixed bag of responses when it comes to celebrating or acknowledging Halloween.
Last year, my husband and I were exhorted not to be one of those “weird Christians” who ignored the holiday and disengaged ourselves from the rest of the world, but rather we should use the holiday to get to know our neighbors, invite them to church, and possibly present them the gospel. We had never considered ourselves to be “weird” for not participating in the holiday, but we also didn’t think that it was the best venue for presenting the gospel to someone.
In the Reformed crowd, I have heard of people hosting a Reformation party instead of a Halloween in honor of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses against the practice of indulgences in the Catholic Church. People are asked to dress up as famous reformers (or just wear regular costumes), and they have a party under this reformed banner. In addition, it was at our church home in Louisiana that I first learned about All Hallows Eve (or All Saints Eve and Day) being recognized among Reformed Christians. To my recollection, we didn’t do anything on November 1st, but the day was mentioned.
So, I have heard of many perspectives by now for participation and for transforming the holiday into something that is more God-honoring through the recognition of Church history, but I’m hoping to hear some more thoughtful reasons for participating or against participating in Halloween.
So I wanted to pose a few questions for all of you: What is your stance on Halloween? How did you arrive at that position? Or do you celebrate Reformation history this time of year?