FACT: Did you know the true intent of Halloween is turning children into goat sacrificing witches and warlocks? Well, it is.
Don’t quote me on this, but I even heard J.K. Rowling cut a deal with Mr. Halloween Himself to help—which is why she wrote Harry Potter which, as we all know, has now turned millions of children the world over into wand welding pagans and dragon worshipers. This is a perfect example of why we absolutely must not celebrate Halloween—for the sake of the impressionable children.
The knock you’ve likely heard on Halloween is that the roots of it are pagan. Which does have some historical credibility. Halloween began as an ancient Celtic harvest celebration marking the end of the calendar year and the beginning of winter. As winter brought greater chances of death (ie: they didn’t have indoor heating), the Celts believed the line separating the land of the living from the land of the dead became blurred on Halloween—hence all the ghosts. For more, check out this article on history.com.
If the pagan roots of Halloween are your reason for not celebrating it, that’s fine. But since you’ll want to be consistent in your convictions, I’d like to point out that the origins of what we now call Christmas are the same. Long before Christians adopted December 25 as the celebration of the birth of Jesus, many ancient cultures already had staked a claim to that time of year to celebrate and worship their own gods. For instance, the Germanic tribes set aside late December to throw a party honoring Chris Hemsworth’s dad, Oden. The Romans booked it for a yearly festival built to celebrate the god, Saturn. In fact, not only does Christmas have pagan origins, you could make a compelling case that it has more pagan origins that Halloween. For more on the origins of Christmas, check out this article.
So why does Halloween get all the shade while Christmas gets all the shine?
Great question. Here’s what I think: it’s generally accepted that the current meaning of Christmas is much clearer and more morally useful with our impressionable children than the current meaning of Halloween.
But I’m not convinced this is true.
Let’s run this experiment: I want you to go ask your kids what about Christmas they’re most excited about. Don’t have kids? Not a problem: Just ask any kid you find anywhere at all on the entire planet who has ever heard the word, “Christmas.” They’ll all give the same answer: “Getting presents!” None of them, even the most Cherub-cheeked among them will say, “I’m most excited to worship in reverent remembrance the birth of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
“Yeah,” you say, “but still—receiving gifts is a great analogy for how God gave us the gift of Jesus that I can use to explain Jesus to my kids in a language they can understand.”
Totally. It’s a layup that as a parent I’ll gladly take every time.
Did you know Halloween can be the same?
Just as the modern meaning of Christmas (receiving gifts) can be a powerful and uniquely effective experience for helping your kids understand the gift of Jesus, the modern meaning of Halloween can be a powerful and uniquely effective experience for helping your kids understand the words of Jesus—specifically, the Second Greatest Commandment Jesus ever gave.
In Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Cool, words, Jesus, inspiring and all—but how are we ever going to get our kids to understand that?
Well, let’s start with the “as yourself” part. Can you think of something cheap kids tend to want for themselves?
OK, well wouldn’t it be amazing if you could perform some kind of miracle and Jedi-mind trick on all of your neighbors, even the ones who think all the Jesus business is nutty, into helping you get your kids to understand loving their neighbors like themselves by all handing out free candy to your kids one night? And to complete the experience, maybe you could even get them to send their kids to your house so that your kids could not only receive candy but also practice giving it out too—like practice doing the cool thing that was just done to them?
Wouldn’t that be amazing? Yeah, yeah it would. So…
Good news, Christians: Jesus came to redeem. I bet your family’s Christmas celebration doesn’t feature a rousing time of singing Yule songs in worship of Oden, or a glorious feast in honor of Saturn. Rather, you are redeeming the winter solstice to tell and celebrate the true story of Jesus. In the same way, you can joyfully celebrate the modern meaning of Halloween without turning your kids into ancient Celts by redeeming the meaning—and you get to spend some quality hang time with your neighbors to boot.
If you’ve never trick-or-treated or have hesitated out of fear you’d be ruining your kids, give it a try this year with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are acting like your Heavenly Father by using whatever you have at your disposal to tell your kids about the incredible, unbeatable true story of Jesus.
After all, God says He’ll use whatever He has at His disposal to tell us His story—that He’ll even make even the rocks cry out if that’s what it takes.
This Halloween, let’s do the same.
And go ahead and sneak some candy—your kids won’t be able to tell.