It's not that I am against dressing up, gathering with friends, or even eating candy for that matter. I've just never "done" Halloween. When we were growing up, my dad would tell us that Halloween was "Satan's birthday" - and honestly, that was enough explanation for us. Although we dressed up for our class parties at school, that was it. And to be honest, I don't ever remember feeling left out or like part of my childhood was being denied me.
During my high school youth group days, we watched a video on the pagan roots of Halloween and how many of some of those practices continue today. I wish I could remember the name of the video, but alas, my memory fails me. You can check out this website for some of that background, as well as some of the current practices that still happen among Satanists and witchcraft followers today: http://logosresourcepages.org/Holidays/halloween.htm. I recognize that many of the sources quoted by this pastor are other Christian resources; and it doesn't seem like the non-Christian world has much to say regarding the current "occult practices".
Regardless, I can't deny that Halloween started primarily as a pagan holiday. As I write this, I'm listening to the Bismarck radio station and the DJ is commenting on creepy, mysterious, explainable things that happen on Halloween in various North Dakota locations. And I do believe that Satan and his demons are indeed real.
So when I read this verse in 1 Thessalonians, I struggle with what to do about Halloween:
"Abstain from every form [or appearance] of evil" - 1 Thessalonians 5:22Should we as believers have absolutely nothing to do with Halloween because of its roots? Is that what Paul is calling us to in that verse? Or is there a way that we can redeem Halloween - say, for example, by passing out gospel tracts or wordless book bracelets to trick-or-treaters? I've heard that some of Christmas traditions have their roots in pagan things as well - so do we abandon those practices too? Is this another way that we can fulfill the exhortation: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. . ." (Romans 12:2)
Honestly, I don't know what to do about Halloween. Do I lean to one extreme and have nothing to do with it - and is that Biblical? Or do I use this opportunity to reach a group of people I might not usually encounter and have the chance to introduce to Jesus? I pray for the Lord's leading, guidance and wisdom: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5)
What do you think? What do we do with Halloween?