This post was first published in 1999 and has been reprinted many times on various websites (with permission only, please). This seems like a good time to bring it up again.
Whether you consider Halloween pure evil or harmless fun, keep the following tips in mind:
Don’t get bent out of shape. The kid dressed as a bunny—or a vampire—knocking on your door isn’t actualizing centuries of Pagan ritual. He’s just having fun, with the permission of his parents, and encouragement from the culture in which he lives. If you don’t participate, there’s no reason to post a sign declaring your righteous stand against the child. Just turn off the light and don’t answer the door.
Children Trick-or-Treat. Trick-or-treat is not the venue for abortion photos, political pamphlets, or descriptions of hell. If you pass out gospel tracts, make sure they’re child-friendly. Attach candy or toy (no choking hazards, please) to tracts with tape. A tract without a treat disappoints and gives parents cause to complain about Christians.
Be nice. It is never God’s will for us to be unloving. Wiccans know that Christians demonize them the most on Halloween. Yes, the Bible teaches against witchcraft and all occult activity. It also teaches that God is not willing that any should perish. I’ve listened with revulsion to some Christians who can’t quite mask their glee at the idea of witches going to hell. God’s love and mercy is infinite. He desires the Wiccan, the dabbler, even the Satanist, to come to him for forgiveness and abundant, eternal life. Many do. But never because of unkind treatment.
Keep it clean. Some things are best left unsaid. I like a good pretend monster story, but don’t take this opportunity to recount the details of a real gruesome Halloween murder. “It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” (Ephesians 5:12). I don’t want to know.
Be a light in the darkness. “Be very careful then, how you live–not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV). Some Christians hand out Halloween gospel tracts. Some gather with fellow believers for alternative celebrations, sharing love with the community. Some mix it up, shining as a light in the world. Others quietly continue in the ordinary, noting their separateness before God as an act of worship.
Do the right thing. You alone will answer for your choices. If someone else does Halloween a different way, so what? God knows your heart. “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.” (James 2:12, NIV)
Be good. You can’t overcome evil by talking about the Pagan origins of Halloween, or by preaching against séances or refined sugar. There is a place for teaching, but knowledge doesn’t heal. Only good overcomes evil. “Overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
Kathryn A. Frazier is a freelance copyeditor, proofreader, and writer. She lives in Tampa, Florida with her beloved family, Scruffy Dog and Valentino the Ridiculously Tiny Dog. It's hot there. And swampy. With gators. She's really brave.