Trick or Treat?

October is finally here and I can’t remember when I’ve been so happy to
welcome a new month! When I was a little boy, October was one of my
favorite months. I have never liked hot weather, so I welcomed the cooler
temperatures of the fall. The fish always seemed to be biting and you
didn’t sweat as much sitting on the banks of the pond in October. But in
all honesty, I looked forward to October for one major reason – Halloween!
I liked to go shopping for a new costume to wear. I enjoyed watching the
Charlie Brown special about the Great Pumpkin on television (I still do … and
have the DVD!). I even looked forward to putting up the Halloween decorations.
But most of all, I looked forward to going trick-or-treating and getting candy.

In recent years, many people have become critical of Halloween. They
claim it is a pagan holiday and say that many of the traditions and practices
associated with Halloween began with the rituals of false religions. Well,
they are exactly right! But there are also traditions associated with
Christmas and Easter that were parts of ancient superstitions and beliefs.
But Halloween has taken the fall and many Christians do not even recognize
it as a special day on the calendar.

These days, fewer children go trick-or-treating. I believe that speaks
more of the times we live in than the aversion to celebrating any
traditions associated with Halloween. When I was a boy, I knew practically
every family that lived in our neighborhood. My parents didn’t worry about
me going door-to-door and accepting candy from our neighbors. But those
days are gone and today we recognize the dangers of letting our kids loose
on the streets after dark.

Recently, a few parents asked me if Christians should celebrate
Halloween. The answer isn’t as easy as you may think. Halloween is a
holiday that celebrates fear. From jack-o-lanterns, witches, ghosts and
goblins to dressing up in frightening costumes, Halloween is a day for
scary things. It is a holiday that creates a climate of fear. In 2 Timothy 1:7,
Paul wrote, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of
love and
of a sound mind”.

But when we keep our kids home because we believe celebrating Halloween
is contrary to what the Bible teaches, most children don’t understand.
They just know they’re missing out on fun and a bag full of candy! But we
can provide an alternative. October 31 is just another day on the
calendar. So rather than let the devil use it for his wicked purposes,
let’s take it back and use it to honor and glorify God. Let the boys and
girls have their candy and include a Bible story or devotion. I know
several people who hand out gospel tracts or information about their church
along with lollipops and chocolate bars to the trick or treaters in their
neighborhood. Play some games with your children or grandchildren and make
time to sing some songs they know from church. Instead of being a witch or a ghost,
encourage the children to dress up as their favorite super hero, cartoon character or choose a costume based on what they want to be when they grow up … a police officer, a
firefighter, a ballerina or a cowboy. Make it a special day involving the entire family
and create memories and traditions. Let’s make this October 31st a day to
“hallow Him” who died for us and celebrate the sweet fellowship we enjoy as
Christians!

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