Taming the Halloween Scrooge
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Taming the Halloween Scrooge

Primary Bible passage: 1 Corinthians 8

Secondary passage: Acts 17:16-33

Focus Verse: Acts 15: 28-29
"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well."

Okay, so I’m a bit of Halloween Scrooge. Bah- Humbug!  Several Christian bloggers try to justify taking part in on All Hallow’s Eve, but I don’t accept their misinformed logic. All Hallow’s Eve is the night before All Saint’s Day. It is the one time a year presumed by modern day witches to be when the veil between life and death is at it’s thinnest. Ancient Druids and Celts used scary costumes and Jack-o-Lanterns to “scare evil spirits away”. Now do you understand my comment in the previous blog post about demons rolling around on the floor howling in laughter at us? The Catholic church, under Pope Gregory, moved All Souls' Day to November 2 to include, not only those martyred, but also all of the saints who passed on. It was moved from from the May 13 date which was declared by Pope Boniface only honoring martyrs.The Celts blurred their pagan practices with the Catholic observance of celebrating the dead, which became All Hallow's Eve. Many believe it was a way the Church's used to reach people who didn’t go to church back then, but their Halloween doesn't resemble what we practice today.

Any way you choose to view it, it really has nothing to do with anything godly. It also  has nothing to do with the meat sacrificed to idols passage in 1 Corinthians 8, anymore than participating in a yoga class with all it’s religious garb. In Acts 15:28-29, the Council of Antioch wished to clear up some confusion about how the Gentile Christians should integrate with the Jewish Christians. They were told there should not be an undue burden on them, but to avoid meat sacrificed to idols,the blood, anything that was strangled, and to stay away from sexual immorality. Very simple. The Gentile Christians had some issues with their consciences and eating the meat sacrificed to idols because they grew up with it. The Jewish Christians did not. Neither group was to participate in the rituals! For us today, we do need to be careful what we do, whether it be to participate in Halloween as it is, or do yoga or tai chi; we need to avoid pagan practices (i.e. Wiccan and Celtic religious practices). We live in a post-Christian world today. By staying away from doing these things, we are less likely to be drawn to religious practices which will pull us away from God and damage our witness.

Now, if you look at the Mars Hill passage in Acts 17:16-33  you will see that Paul recognized the people of Athens were religious. They even acknowledged an Unknown God, just so they didn't leave any god out. Paul didn't participate in their idol worship, but he did find a common point to share Christ with people -- the Unknown God. Since All Hallow's Eve is the night before All Saint's Day, November 1st now, we can take the time to honor those in the Christian faith for their loyalty to Jesus Christ by thanking God for the legacy of faith we learned from them. We can also appreciate Fall and the wonderful bounty of produce we have, while keeping our faith in tact.

I do realize not everyone is a Scrooge about it like me. There are some different ways to approach the Harvest time without caving in to Halloween trappings. First understand what Halloween is and is not. Second, find something valuable from the season to enjoy:
  • Fall Festivals. Hay rides, corn mazes, and outdoor fires to toast marshmallows.
  • Church harvest parties. Wear fun, creative costumes, instead of scary or gorey costumes. Please, don’t make kids stick to Bible costumes. How many ways can you use a towel and a bathrobe? Be creative and offer prizes for the most funny, most creative, most elaborate, etc.
  • Enjoy pumpkins and gourds differently. Find ways to decorate them creatively, other than faces. Pumpkin bowling, anyone?
  • Offer Trunk or Treat as a safe alternative for children who do go trick-or-treating. It is a great way to introduce families to your church. Avoid wearing costumes so the parents of the kids know who you are. Offer information from your church and fun witness give-aways like the multicolored bracelets, etc. (You can find these at Hobby Lobby and Oriental Trading Company). Chick tracts are usually tossed in the trash, so don't waste the money. Build relationships with the families first before sharing your faith.Keep in mind the Teal Pumpkin Project for kids with celiac and food allergies.
  • Turn the Tables. If you take your children out for Trick-or-Treat, avoid scary or gorey costumes. Don't use a Jack-o-Lantern or Skull baskets to gather treats, but use a fun decorated bag instead. Make Thank You cards for the people who give your children treats. You can put the name of your church, the plan of salvation on the back, or a blessing for them.
  • Fast and pray. We should still honor those have gone before us, but also there are Christians all over the world dying for their faith in Christ. Join me on Mondays by fasting and praying Call to Prayer.

You can honor God during Halloween and have a fun time during this Fall season. May God bless you!

For other reading:

Past years; posts: Bone Yard  & Creepy

History Channel

Wikkipedia on Samhain

Answers in Genesis

University of Albany

Focus on the Family

Simply do this Google search: halloween thin veil between worlds to find out more from pagan viewpoints. I refuse to link to their blog posts and websites. You will be shocked at what you learn.

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