I have recently moved from a church that taught things like tattoos are wrong, celebrating Halloween is wrong, kids dressing up in costumes (even unrelated to Halloween, and even if little girls dress up as princesses while having a tea party in her room) is wrong. I’m trying to reconcile some of the things that always bothered me. Where should Christians stand on celebrating Halloween? I understand it is considered to be a pagan holiday as are just about all the holidays we celebrate but we’re not generally told not to celebrate Christmas. I have read about its history and all hallow’s eve/ All Saint’s Day/Druids, etc. I know it is considered by a lot of Christians to be a satanic holiday. People quote Deuteronomy 18:9-13, and lots of other scripture about witchcraft and sorcery. Since there is no specific commandment on this holiday, I consider it to be more in the gray area and more so am under the belief that everything does not edify but all things are not sin 1Corinthians 10:23. I have let my kids participate in the costume parade at school which did not allow for costumes like witches, devils, skeletons, etc but permitted positive and character costumes. However, I felt convicted by my church for doing so. Likewise I would have been ok with my kids going to a couple neighbors homes to get candy but felt too condemned by my church to do so. So they always went to the church harvest celebration instead on Halloween. Would participation in Halloween be considered an abomination or sin? Even if kids only participated in things not associated with the satanic aspects of the holiday ( no haunted houses, no scary costumes, no scary decorations, etc?


You are right that this is a grey area.  In my opinion, if you are accurately describing the treatment you are receiving at your church, this group is unbalanced in the area of matters of conscience.  Paul tells us in Colossians that human-based rules such as regarding Halloween, tatoos, playing cards, wearing jewelry and dancing are not helpful in creating real righteousness (Colossians 20-23).   The Old Testament can be helpful in informing us in general about the things God hates, but we need to be careful to import rules from the Law of Moses into Christianity, as Paul is telling us in Colossians 2:16-19.  For example, we know that God hates witchcraft, sorcery, mind-altering drugs and the like.  This should influence our attitude toward these things.  Having said this, there are still going to be grey areas.  For example, the Law of Moses clearly outlaws tattoos.  Does this apply to Christians?  The simple answer is no, as we are not under obligation to the Law of Moses.  But it may not be that simple.  Is there a New Testament principle that addresses this issue?  Is the fact that “the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” applicable?  My conviction is that tattoos are questionable at best.   I would not get one and I would never encourage or even support any decision to get a tattoo.  However, I believe this falls within the range of Christian freedom.  It is not my place to judge those who have tattoos.  There are many passages that give advice about the use of Christian freedom, taking into account the convictions of others that could cause them to stumble.  These include 1 Cor 8, 1 Cor 9:19-23, 1 Cor 10:14-32 and Romans 14.  A spiritual person should balance their own freedom with the consciences of others.  However applying legalistic rules that are not found in scripture is always unwise.

OK.  Now about Halloween.  I can certainly understand why many Christians keep away from the holiday with a ten foot pole.  There are so many pagan and sinful aspects of this holiday. Ironically, it started as a Christian holiday to counteract a pagan holiday on the same date.  Halloween has come a long way, and in a bad direction.  However, there are also grey areas with regard to Halloween and each Christian ought to come to their own conclusions.  For myself, I would not send my child to a party where all kinds of satanic and demonic costumes are worn, but I will have to admit that the kids who do this are really not practicing witchcraft or worshiping Satan.  We should not overreact.  This is debatable.  Trick or treating seems to me to be rather innocent, especially if the children dress in appropriate costumes–not ghosts, demons, mass murderers, etc.   But some Christians will feel differently.  We need to allow for Christian freedom, and your church is not behaving in a proper way with regard to this Christian freedom, in my opinion.  Those who are not offended by this practice ought not to judge those who are and vice versa.  This is implied by Romans 14:1-23.  You may need to find a church which observes a more proper balance on such issues.

John Oakes

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