…you shall allow a redemption of the land. ESV Leviticus 25:24
Growing up, I believed Halloween was Satan’s holiday. After all, it celebrated death, ghouls, ghosts and goblins and all things pagan. Witches and skeletons, blood and gore, Halloween stands as the antithesis of the life and light of Jesus Christ. Because of this, I never went trick-or-treating as a kid, and when we had kids, didn’t go trick-or-treating for many years. Yes, we tried to love our neighbors, and occasionally passed out candy to the hoards of people that came by, but we never felt comfortable participating in what we felt was a celebration of death and all things anti-Christian. Then I began to notice that Halloween was the one day of the year when my entire neighborhood came out and interacted with one another. Neighbors threw parties, hung out in driveways, passed out candy together. Parents walked and talked together, kids ran around together, and in a few short hours, more relationships could be forged than in the entire previous year. It led to us trick-or-treating one year. It was amazing. We connected with tons of people. Yes, a few houses had jello shots for the parents, and some had a little too much death and gore, so we skipped them. But the rest of the time, we connected with neighbors, built relationships and were in the community. What happened?
The short answer is that the gospel is about redemption. Yes, as a holiday, I don’t believe in what Halloween celebrates. I strongly oppose celebrating death, gore, blood, demons, witches, and the like. I refuse to let me kids dress in anything remotely related to these things. However, Jesus came to seek and save the lost. When I pull out of my community because they are celebrating things I disagree with, I ultimately remove my witness. Hence, it seemed in light of the gospel, the best thing to do was to redeem the holiday. Build relationships. Lead others into the light of Jesus. Our theology should change our actions.
I have two challenges for you. If you grew up opposing Halloween, at least consider what I’ve laid out. You may have a small opportunity to redeem the culture. If you grew up loving Halloween, at least take a minute to compare it to the gospel. Let the gospel determine our actions, not the other way around. That’s spiritual formation.