What About Halloween?

People of the Parkway,

Every year I get asked random questions about Halloween and our church's stance on it so let me address some of the questions here.  We recognize that people are at different places and we respect that fact so what I write here is an attempt to explain not convert.  

Does our church do anything on Halloween? No, we do not take our clues from the culture nor do we seek to compete with the culture.  Like technology, culture changes about every nine months so churches that take their clues from the culture are like dogs that chase their tail...they get a sense of excitement but never really accomplish anything. We see this as a great opportunity to engage our neighbors and acknowledge little kids who put a lot of time, thought and effort into their costume by answering the door with excitement and announcing, "Oh my, honey come quick, Spider Man is here!"  If your religion doesn't leave you room to be nice to little kids then you are a jerk and need to repent. 

What is our "stance" on Halloween? I'm not sure we have a "stance" on Halloween but we believe that for most it is moms walking their kids around the neighborhood for thirty minutes to an hour and then calling it a night. I don't think your kids are worshipping the devil if they go out and get free candy.  While some people want to make a big deal out of the fact that it is also Reformation Day by dressing as Martin Luther and passing out religious tracts to little kids while lecturing them about the evils of Halloween, perhaps this is not the best night for reforming or redeeming.  As someone once said, "Jesus came to redeem people, not things."  Therefore, we don't need to try to redeem Halloween by having a stance on it or by hosting some lame "event" at the church to give Christians a safe alternative to the devil's holiday.  We prefer engagement over avoidance whenever possible. 

Should we participate/acknowledge Halloween? This is a personal decision for everybody so decide what you are comfortable with and be okay with it without having to make some principled stand that everyone should adhere to.  However, if you are going to leave the porch light on and give out candy to trick or treaters here are some things to keep in mind...

1. Buy good candy!  Nobody likes candy corn so don't even go there.  Get the good stuff like Snickers, Milky Way, Almond Joy and Hershey's.  Nobody likes taffy either so don't bother with tasteless goo wrapped in black and orange paper.

2. Smile when you open the door.  Little kids just want candy so resist the urge to lecture them about the evils of this night.  If you are so busy that you can't enjoy yourself and be all there then let someone else answer the door.  When I was eight, Mrs. Malloy yelled at us for ringing her doorbell on Halloween because she was on the phone to her mom.  I never rang her doorbell again because she was a mean lady and I wanted no part of her, not out of fear but distrust.  I wouldn't trust a lady who made little kids feel bad on Halloween. 

3. When you sense things are winding down or you are running out of candy...dump the rest of your bowl into the bag of a little kid and announce, "Yours is the best costume of the night and here is your prize!"  After this, turn off your porch light and call it a night. 

I hope this gives you insight into some of how we think.  The Kingdom is about diversity and our people are all over the place when it comes to Halloween and I bless every one of them for their beliefs.  

Be safe and enjoy,

Neil
 

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