Tonight, across America, 41,000,000 people, primarily children, will participate in “trick or treat” in celebration of Halloween, and quite a few will potentially show up on our doorsteps. As a lead pastor and follower of Jesus Christ, I am often asked my opinion regarding Halloween and whether churches or Christians should join in the “fun” or offer some other alternative, if not stand completely against it. Without getting into the history of Halloween (interestingly, Martin Luther nailed his 95-point thesis to the church door on Oct. 31st- “All Saints Eve” which sparked the Reformation), I personally think it’s ridiculous and profoundly anti-missional, especially for churches, to create some type of parallel or “Christian” event instead of actually encouraging church-goers to be home on Halloween when the trick or treaters come calling! I’ve seen churches advertise everything from Harvest parties to trunk or treat in the church parking lot to something called “Jesusween!” Seriously??
How is it that we can so grossly miss the point altogether? I appreciate that churches want to take a stand when it comes to morality and truth, etc., but to suggest if we participate in Halloween we are somehow compromising our “standards” or worse, joining in a demonic festivity is simply out of touch with the heart and mission of Jesus Christ. I’d like to think that Jesus would have been home on Halloween, meeting his neighbors, greeting their children, passing out some candy, and having some conversations. Halloween is a great set up for missional opportunity! Why offer an alternative or try to get people to the church parking lot or fellowship hall- which seems to only engage church people, when the people we’re supposed to be reaching- all our neighbors, etc., show up on the doorsteps of our homes?? And instead of preaching to them, we offer their children a Snickers bar, maybe a cup of cocoa, and we actually seize the opportunity to warmly welcome these folks into our lives.
Further, why not go door-to-door with your children and let them reap the benefits of stashing some candy? In the process, you also get to meet neighbors and others you may not otherwise have the opportunity to do so. And please, don’t insist that little Johnny or Susie dress up like Moses or Mary! I may get some flak about this from some who think participating in an event like Halloween is somehow not honoring God. But to me, honoring God really has to do with fulfilling Jesus’ mission by taking advantage of the opportunities already presented to us in our culture.
Yes, I’m pretty sure Jesus would pass out Snicker’s bars tonight.