I’m not a big believer in ghost stories and the paranormal. I don’t really think houses are haunted by anything more than the overeager imaginations of wannabe ghostbusters. I certainly believe in souls, but nothing I see in scripture makes me think that they are lingering around earth without bodies playing practical jokes on folks today.
Our society has a strange fascination with the dead. On one hand, we almost fear them. Funeral homes are sterile, one-use buildings that we only visit for one purpose. Wakes are no longer held in living rooms, memorial services are rarely conducted at churches, and burials aren’t done in the church yard. We like to keep death at a distance—unless it’s Halloween.
All Saints Day or All Hallowed’s Day used to be a holiday in which people honored and remembered those who had died in the Lord. Some churches would have a sort dinner on the grounds—in the church cemetery—to symbolize the way they looked forward to continuing their fellowship in Heaven.
The fame of that day has long since been eclipsed by the day that precedes it—All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. Now that day is stripped of meaningful significance and gives the stage to monsters, demons, and of course, trick-or-treaters.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a Christian enjoying Halloween as a fun time to dress up, decorate, and eat candy. It’s fitting that a Christian be able to take death and demons “lightly”—in the sense that they give us nothing to fear. (“Where, O death, is your victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55). We “walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8) and darkness doesn’t scare us in the slightest. We can scoff at its vain attempts to intimidate us. We can certainly sin by focusing wrongly on sin, darkness, and death, and it would be inappropriate to give any sort of reverence to the Devil—but there’s nothing about trick-or-treating that’s damaging to the soul (except maybe gluttony!) Halloween can be a real teaching opportunity about the confidence we have as Christians.
However we celebrate any day, we should look for opportunities to be the bearers of God’s message of light. We should celebrate our victory over sin, death, and demons and rejoice in the one who delivered us into the light.