When I was a kid, churches loved Halloween and its parties. But it’s not quite so simple these days, with some merely ignoring the holiday, others calling it evil, and others embracing it either directly or indirectly with a “Harvest Party” approach. But as followers of Jesus and as church leaders engaged in our communities– especially when we have a hand in children’s ministries– it’s kinda hard to ignore Halloween! So what do we do with it?
Colossians 3: 17 summarizes the whole chapter that’s a great discussion on using all facets of life for ministry: “EVERYTHING you say or do, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.” So is candy and the fun of Halloween sinful, or can it be used as a tool for ministry? Even if we just embrace the smiling scarecrows, pumpkins, corn stalks and corn mazes, and have the kids dress up as their favorite superheroes, perhaps we can also use the time as a Big Invitation.
Almost as dependable as death and taxes, author Kim Wier notes of Halloween: “It’s the only time of year that neighbors come knocking on our door. What a wonderful opportunity to make our home a place of hospitality.” Or, what a wonderful opportunity to reflect the joy and grace of a life in Christ for those who may never see that joy at any other time of year!
I’m not much of one for handing out religious tracts to everyone who knocks on the door. But with the abundance of church life where we can build relationships and offer Jesus in powerful ways in the weeks and months following Halloween, maybe it could be a time to hand out a smile, a warm handshake, and invitations to coming events along with the candy to those who come for a visit. Here are some links to more reflections and scripture for followers of Jesus on Halloween as you consider the season:
Dr. Jim Lewis, campus minister, Army Chaplain, author, researcher in spirituality and wellness