For a lot of people, October is their favorite month of the year. For some of these people the appeal is not just changing colors and hoodie weather. A lot of people love October because they consider it “Halloween” month. In Christian circles Halloween is a bit contentious. Some believers view it as a harmless and fun tradition for kids. However, others see the holiday as much more insidious and believe that Halloween is essentially a celebration of the occult and evil.
I think this zero-sum viewpoint is a little problematic. A child wearing a Spiderman costume to collect candy is a long way from celebrating evil, and let’s be honest, to most people Halloween is little more than a time to give candy to kids in costumes. However, I think from a Christian standpoint, Halloween can be redeemed and that when approached with the right attitude can be used to glorify God.
First, Halloween tends to be a celebration of the supernatural. Being unexplainable and unexpected is often what makes spooky things spooky. The bible and by extension, the Christian faith, is all about the supernatural. In scripture there is a demon possessed man haunting a graveyard, there is a witch communicating with the dead, there is a literal angel of death, and the dead are brought back to life. In our rational and scientific age, one of the appeals of Halloween is that it reminds us that in the shadows of our understanding there are still things that cannot be explained. One of the appeals of the Christian faith is the same search for mystery. The difference is that Christians approach the supernatural with hope not fear, because we know that with God all things are possible. We know that it was God who parted the red sea, it was God who sent a pillar of fire down from the sky, and it is God who saves us through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Second, Halloween can serve as a good reminder to disciples. In Ephesians, Paul reminds us, “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Most of the year, the majority of Christians rightly focus on God’s love, providence, and grace in our lives. However, Halloween can serve as a good reminder that there are dark things in this world. There truly are things that go bump in the night, and that evil is a very real and active force in this world. Across the theological spectrum, there is an agreement in Christian tradition that there is darkness in this world and unspeakable evil is still committed. Halloween can be a somber reminder to the faithful that monsters are real.
Of course, remembering monsters are real also reminds us in the book of Revelation Jesus defeats a dragon. Remembering there is real darkness reminds us that the light shines in the darkness and that darkness has not overcome it. Remembering there are truly frightening things reminds us that time and time again God commands in the Bible “do not be afraid.”
The biggest reason I like Halloween today is because it does remind me that our God is a supernatural God capable of doing wonders that are beyond explanation and understanding. I am a fan of Halloween because it reminds me that even though there is real evil and vile terror in the world, there is also a God that is greater still. Halloween shines a jack-0-lantern light on aspects of our faith that are missed by other holidays and observances. I do believe that this can be a time celebrated by Christians. This is Halloween, to God be the glory.