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Halloween = Evangelism?

by Seth Pierce

Well, it’s that time of year again, when the world breaks out their best sweets, macabre décor, and most enticing costume for candy acquisition—and as Christians it’s time we break out our little bag of tricks while others are seeking treats.

Typical Christian reactions to All Hallows’ Eve include a wide variety of awkward behaviors. Some of the more colorful are the in-your-face approach of handing an 8-year-old princess some literature—sometimes colorful works depicting the real, insidious origins of Halloween, which will probably scare her worse than a creepy graveyard scene with strobe lights on someone’s front lawn. If literature isn’t being handed out, then it’s other dry goods—such as pencils and erasers. I’m all about practical, but again, it isn’t helping the cause when your house is the one playing healthy tricks on people. Besides, pencils smack of school, and that’s the last thing a kid wants to be reminded of on a holiday.

The most popular by far is turning the light off and pretending no one is home. Strange since Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14, ESV).* Christians aren’t called to hide—the only people portrayed as hiding are the wicked when Jesus comes again (see Revelation 6:16). Nowhere do I find Jesus commissioning us to ignore the world—matter of fact, He specifically prays that the Father leave us in it (John 17).

Which is why a Christian refers to a “backslidden” member, or non-Christian, as being “in the world.” I like to ask the Christian what planet they live on.
Now, before you lose your salvation over the heresy you think I am sharing, let me affirm a couple things. Halloween has pagan origins—so does a lot of stuff, and that’s a tricky road to go down (even the word “cereal” comes from the Roman goddess of agriculture, Ceres—your Frosted Flakes are frosted with heathenism). What makes Halloween dangerous, in my mind, is its overt connection to the occult imagery, flat-out grossness usually depicting the mutilation of human bodies, and its attachment to a hypersexual/party culture—not candy and princesses.

But culture can be redeemed—that’s what Jesus wants us to do. Sometimes we do that through literature (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this), but often we do it through personal interaction and example. This is one of the few chances a year your neighbor (whom we are called to love, not pretend doesn’t exist) will arrive at your door. You have a few moments to learn their names, their kids’ names, and what house they live in. It’s a natural icebreaker enabling you to connect with them every other night of the year, maybe develop a friendship, and maybe share what you are passionate about—namely, Jesus. 

Don’t waste it.

To help you, here are some practical suggestions:

1. Whatever you do, don’t ignore your neighbors. Turning the lights out doesn’t make you Christian—it makes you antisocial.

2. Give out things people will actually enjoy—but personalize it. You can tuck a little note with an encouraging Bible verse speaking about how much value they have in God’s eyes, how sweet salvation is, etc. Be creative, not confrontational.

3. If you simply cannot abide being in your neighborhood, then join a community program that provides a safe place for people to get their sweets—malls, YMCAs, and churches often have safer alternatives, and it’s a good way to connect with community people.

4. This should be obvious, but avoid decorations, costumes, and activities that deface God’s creation and defame God’s name and reputation. Select things that are full of life instead of death. Your house can be the one on the block that celebrates life instead of death—use your house as a metaphor for your faith (that does not mean put crosses, fish symbols, and WWJD bracelets everywhere). Put flowers out, sit out on the porch with your family, play nice music—have an oasis in a sea of death.

And for crying out loud, have the best candy in the neighborhood.

* Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Seth Pierce is a pastor and author residing with his family in the Pacific Northwest. He enjoys Warrior Dashes, Spartan Races, reading, and collecting crazy stories, which he keeps in a secret file. You can connect with him at

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