Why It’s OK For Christians To Celebrate Halloween

Tom Burns and his daughter pair up for Halloween costumes every year. As he wrote on his blog, this year she was unsure if her choice was all right so she asked her dad, “Do you think I could be Han Solo?”

Her hesitation? Han Solo is not a woman or girl, like all the other characters she’s dressed up as in previous years.

I love Burns’ response: “Yeah, why, of course, you could. That would be amazing. Why couldn’t you be Han Solo?”

Then she dropped the big one, telling him he should dress up as Princess Leia. Here’s the result.

Han and Leia ready to take on the Empire (The Good Men Project)

Han and Leia ready to take on the Empire
(The Good Men Project)

If I’m going to tell my daughter that she can do almost anything a man can do (excepting some very specific biological acts), then I also need to show her that a man can do almost anything a woman can do too… especially when it’s something awesome like dressing up as a character from one of the best movies ever.

Burns is right. Star Wars is one of the best movies ever. (You can disagree with me in the comments, but you’ll never convince me to think otherwise!) Plus, Han and Leia are the two best characters from the entire set of Star Wars movies, and while they each have their flaws they also have admirable traits that make for good dress-up fun.

The other thing that comes to mind is Galatians 3:28.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Burns knew that being a little girl was no reason not to wear a Han Solo costume, and likewise being a grown man was no reason not to pair up with his daughter by coming up with a Princess Leia costume.

Fighting the Fallacies of Men’s and Women’s Roles in Society

Some people in the church insist that there are things men and women can and can’t do: women need to get married and stay home to raise a family, men have to work and can’t stay home to raise a family, girls can’t play football, boys can’t play with dolls. The lists people come up with seem endless.

None of that is in the Bible, though, and it’s all a load of hooey. They’re just somebody’s idea of laws and rules they want you to follow because they can’t handle the freedom that comes from belonging to Jesus.

Here’s something that is in the Bible, though.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2.)

and

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Ephesians 5:1.)

So enjoy your freedom from rules and condemnation.

  • Do you want to celebrate Halloween? Go ahead.
  • Do you want to wear costumes – for Halloween or any other time of the year – even though someone might say you can’t wear them just because you’re male or female? Go ahead.
  • Do you want to make some kid really happy by saying yes to something the Bible doesn’t anywhere at all ever prohibit? GO AHEAD!

And if, like our family, you choose not to celebrate Halloween, please go right ahead and do that as well.* Let no one condemn you for it, because if God isn’t condemning your choice why should you listen to anyone else about it?

So despite how much I love the movie, rather than employ the standard Star Wars benediction “May the Force be with you” I will let you in on something infinitely better: Jesus is with you now and forever, and he approves of you.

***

*I bet you didn’t see that coming. We do celebrate the candy sales the day after Halloween, though!

***

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15 Responses to Why It’s OK For Christians To Celebrate Halloween

  1. rachelmonger says:

    However you celebrate Halloween, do remember that witchcraft is a powerful force or evil. We see it vividly here in Tanzania (it kills), but it is more subtle in North America. http://themongers.blogspot.com/2014/10/gory-and-gruesome-reality-not-make.html

  2. birdonabird says:

    As a cosplayer, Christian, and Star Wars junkie, this really struck me. Being a woman in each of these communities, I’ve seen undue judgement and misogyny in multiple forms (though I would say those experiences in the Christian community hurt the most, seeing as how we are meant to be beings of love, no matter our gender), and to have you identify them all in one fell swoop is touching. “Luminous beings” are we, no matter our faith or fandom; we would do well to remember.

  3. Laura Droege says:

    How would you respond in this situation? We moved to a new neighborhood this past summer, and earlier this month, we were “booed”. It’s apparently a tradition in the neighborhood. We anonymously receive a bag of “goodies” (candy, etc.), along with in the instructions to anonymously “boo” two other neighbors who haven’t been booed yet. (We hang a little sign in our window, saying we’ve already been booed.) We played along (just like we let our kids dress up and trick-or-treat).

    But I wondered how others who don’t celebrate Halloween would respond in this situation. Would this be considered “celebrating” Halloween, or simply being neighborly? Any thoughts from you or any other readers?

    • Tim says:

      Does this happen only around Halloween time? If so, then I’d say for non-Halloween families it could be an uncomfortable situation.

      Even without that issue, though, it comes across to me a little coercive – kind of like a chain letter. If this type of interaction is not my style (and it’s not!), I’d feel like the neighborhood would view me as not very neighborly if I decided to break the chain. That kind of defeats the purpose of trying to welcome me to the neighborhood as well. Relationships are hard!

      • Laura Droege says:

        Since we haven’t lived here for an entire year, I don’t know if this happens every Halloween or not. This is a fairly close-knit neighborhood, especially our street, where there are many elementary age kids and everyone’s friendly. (Many people moved into their houses at the same time, and that tends to link folks together.) I think I heard something about the street doing something for Christmas, so it may not be a Halloween only type deal.

        The good thing is that no one would really know if we had broken the chain or not, other than if we’d chosen not to put the “boo” sign in the window. We received the goodie bag anonymously and gave both of ours anonymously. (The kids enjoyed it, and my husband took them to deliver the bags after dark.) So theoretically, unless we’d publicized our disapproval of “boo-ing”, no one would know. They might figure that we didn’t have time or forgot or whatever, anyway. I think in this neighborhood, the neighbors wouldn’t be offended.

        Halloween in the Bible Belt is a little strange anyway. At least in my area, the churches hold fall festivals and the kids (and adults) dress up and do “trunk-or-treat”; the schools hold trick-or-treating after school hours and invite the community; and overall, there’s little focus on the occult or nastier side of the holiday. I think many here have ripped it from its context so far that it’s become sanitized in their minds. (Which is always a slippery slope!)

  4. Jeannie says:

    That guy is a great dad! Thanks for sharing this story. I agree that we should enjoy the freedom we have and not feel condemned for it. We have always celebrated Halloween. My daughter loves it; my son hates dressing up and going out (though he LOVES to see his friends come to our door!); we enjoy seeing our neighbours and our kids’ classmates … it’s a festive event. Bring it on! 🙂

  5. Beth Caplin says:

    I really don’t understand the apprehension about Halloween (well, I do, but I don’t). Let’s face it, America has a gift for butchering the traditional meanings of holidays, and Halloween in the 21st century, for most people, is about dressing up and eating candy. Just like Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of Christ, though some use that time to observe the Winter Solstice.

    As I said on another blog on this topic, if you object to Halloween because of paganism, but put up a Christmas tree in your home, check your history.

  6. Pastor Bob says:

    WOW. A nerve has been touched, treading lightly. There is a history to this “holiday,” and it is not pretty. One can say the same about some other holiday observances, but this one is scariest. It is hard to make light of fear and scaring (the mistype of scarring may fit too).
    Let us add the ugly pranks, the cruelty often seen, it is not hard to find reasons to dislike this day. Churches offer alternatives, let us support these churches.
    (My church had some Muslim families stop by last year. I asked what brought them, the response was “Halloween is evil.”)

    • Tim says:

      There are abuses to Halloween, that’s for sure. In Christ we are to exercise wisdom in all we do, and have the freedom to pursue where we think the Spirit leads us, amen.

  7. Mark Mc says:

    I agree with you about dressing up for Halloween, and about freedom. But I think your off base with your gender remarks, as they apply to humans AND Christians. Men and women are certainly equal in stature, intelligence and spirit, but physically speaking they were designed by God for different roles here on earth. Think of the Trinity: All 3 persons of the Trinity are equally God, but they each have separate roles in the Kingdom of God, and as they relate to believers on earth. There are several places in the New Testament where both Jesus and Paul teach, both in actions and words ( I’ll be happy to provide some of those Scriptures if you really can’t find them), about the importance of operating in the gender roles we were designed for by God from the beginning. Our society today is suffering the terrible consequences of ignoring the sacredness of our male/female makeup, and the roles they engender.

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