Will is dressing up as a ghost for Halloween. I was shocked. He has his Indiana Jones costume that he wears everywhere. I thought at least he would choose the Storm Trooper costume. I have given up on him being a superhero (Batman, Vigilante, Green Lantern, or any other DC character). Sigh… but a Ghost? Where did that come from?

My Fundamentalist right pinky toe started to speak.

Toe: “You know what is going to happen if he dresses up as a Ghost.”

Me: “No, what?”

Toe: “Satan.”

Me: “Say what?”

Toe: “Satan will have a foothold. You and your family will have compromised to evil.”

Me: “How so. I don’t get it?”

Toe: “Ghosts are demons. Or at least they are demonic. Therefore, your son is taking his first step toward practicing demonology. It is a form of Satan worship.”

Me: “Say what?”

Toe: “Exactly, you have already compromised and you don’t recognize it. Next thing you know, Katelynn and Kylee will be dressing up as witches.”

Me: “To what end?”

Toe: “What?”

Me: “To what end? So what? Who cares?”

Toe: “I want a new master. You can just go watch Harry Potter for all I care.”

Yes, then there is  that. Christians on Halloween. Scared to celebrate. Some with more than their pinky toe doing the talking. You know the ones. They are the only ones in the neighborhood who have their lights turned off. “Oh, here come the kids. They are going to come to our door. If we open it, we will have compromised and, in effect, told them that Satan is my friend, that Satan is my pal. Turn off the lights and HIDE! It is the only Christian thing to do.

Ahem…please. Help us.

I can’t believe I am going to say this but, WWJD? Really, what would Jesus do? Can you see it? Jesus with his lights turned off on Halloween? That would be the Jesus history never knew. That would be the Jesus of western fundamentalism. The one who is not a friend of sinners and tax gatherers. The Jesus that was never accused of being a drunkard. The Jesus who looked from a distance at the wedding of Cana waiting for the sinners to wipe the dust off their feet before he talked to them. The Jesus who saw a child dressed up as a Ghost and said, “I can’t take this anymore. It is not worth it. Give me that stone so that I can turn it into bread.”

Mark Young, my friend and former missions prof at DTS (now the president of Denver Seminary), used to talk about this in his missions 101 class. Oh the shame of all of us students who turned off the light. We left the class crying looking for little witches and ghosts to hug. His thesis: Christians are not Christians on Halloween. Not because they have compromised and participated, but precisely because they don’t participate. The one day of the year where children (“Permit them to come to me…” Mark 10:14) were attempting to come to us and we shut the door and turn off the lights. We left the class in tears and began to plan what we were going to be for Halloween.

Toe (yes, I’m back): “But…but…but…It is not about the lights being on. Its not about giving out candy. Its about participating in the evil deeds of darkness. Don’t you know the roots of Halloween?”

Give me a break. Who have you been reading? Whoever it is, stop. First of all, how many kids do you know that are into witchcraft, Satan worship, or necromancy? What happened? Your eight-year-old was walking down the street in her witch costume and thought to herself: “I suddenly feel myself tempted to say a chant and worship Satan”?

Toe: No, it happens subtly. You know, like with Harry Potter.”

Yeah, that is right. In twenty-first century America, I can see how much satanism has grown because of Harry Potter and Halloween. Witchcraft is the primary thing that young kids are having to recover from. Its not sexual promiscuity, its not our greed or materialism, its not moms and dads who can’t demonstrate commitment and love, its not a compromise of the Gospel. Its witchcraft. Its our kids becoming ghosts on Halloween.

Sorry. Will is going to be a ghost. You can turn off your lights.

(Oh, and one more thing. Don’t just give out tracts…Shame, shame. Give out the best candy in the neighborhood. Let people know that you are the house that is not cheap.)

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    138 replies to "Jesus with His Lights Turned off on Halloween"

    • […] Michael Patton got a little fired up in his post a few days ago, chiding those who consider Halloween irredeemably evil.  Lots of comments on this one: Jesus with His Lights Turned off on Halloween […]

    • Nita

      Regarding Post #90


      A person only needs a reason if they are trying to convince someone else that he/she is wrong for celebrating halloween. If a person says, “I don’t celebrate halloween because I think it’s evil, but I couldn’t care less about what others do on October 31”, no reason is necessary. It’s no different than a person saying, “I would never paint the outside of my house bright pink because I think it’s tacky”. Would you demand an explanation from that person as well? Now, it would be different if they added that no one should ever use bright pink to decorate anything. But, that’s not what’s being said. Personal reasons are usually just that; personal.

      **Disclaimer: I am using “I” and “you” generically below. There is not an ounce of animosity or anger.**

      If I’m trying to convince you that you’re in error for participating in halloween activities; then sure, I have to give you some valid reasons. *IF* I state that I think it’s occultic and satanic roots make it something in which I choose not to participate, I am under NO obligation to give you any other “reasons”. I have my own very strong convictions about pretty much everything…LOL, but unless I’m trying to drag you over to my side, I don’t owe you any explanation Likewise, anyone who chooses to participate in halloween activities doesn’t have to explain a thing to me.

    • Renton

      “Halloween,” and/or “All Hallows Eve,” are part of a Catholic holy season: “hallow” means holy.

      Maybe the original intention was inclusivistic? Even syncretistic? To allow all religious holy traditions to participate in this day. Which to be sure, meant even inviting characters that seemed to be demons etc., to the celebration.

      Maybe the better to convert them? By feeding them all?

    • Cadis


      I know your addressing Lisa, but it was my comment initially that you were responding to and the intent of my comment was not to demand a response from every person who does not participate in Halloween but for those who chose not to participate in Halloween to not base thier decision in superstition or because of peer pressure, etc..but that they are convinced in their own minds for sound reasons or to maintain a clear conscience and or for whatever reason but not because of things that have been “conjured” by other well meaning Christians. Such as Satan with a pumpkin head in the woods with a chainsaw stupifying our children into a trance so that they will sacrifice cats to him. (the tract that was linked which is what sparked my original comment and what prompted me to say what I didn’t word so well)

    • Nita


      I’ll definitely agree that buying into a bunch of “hype” is stupid. I mean, if you’re (again generic here) a Christian and raising your children in a Christian home, yet you think halloween activities can somehow cause your kid to go astray…you’re not saying much for your parental influence.

      It amazes me that this becomes such a huge issue every.single.year. I read another “Christian” forum where the halloween debate starts around the middle of September every year. The dialogue on this blog is refreshing, things get pretty heated around there. Same thing happens with Christmas. Funny who as a whole, we’ll (generic again) argue about things like this until we’re blue in the face; but won’t address real issues of sin and salvation. Weird, huh?

      By the way…you mean to tell me that the Pumpkin head with the chainsaw I saw in the woods near my house last halloween wasn’t the devil?

    • #John1453

      I like blogging here because people are civil and funny and interesting and thought-provoking and forgiving when things get heated and vigorous, and the participants don’t give up on each other.

      Thanks for your contributions Nita and Cadis.


    • tamara

      This is a big conversation in our church community, and there is lots of hurt that goes around because of judgment on both sides.

      I think, like with everything, it is about the spirit/Spirit it is done in? If you are proclaiming Christ through your choice, that is the point. If your conscience doesn’t allow you to participate, fine. Drive around leaving baskets of goodies on random doorsteps, just for fun. Bake a big batch of cookies and take them to all your neighbours on All Saints Day instead. Or, turn all your lights on, put up the Christmas lights, dress up like Christmas carolers and stand out on your front lawn singing… hand out oranges and candy canes. What does seem unGodly and defeatist to me is the drawing of the curtains, the turning out of the lights… We’d rather sit in the darkness in our own homes than shine a light on the street. BAH!… Like, ‘the church is going to bed early… wake us up when the devil is gone.’ It’s arrogant and it’s closed fisted. We are called to overcome evil with good.

      By the same token, if you are going to participate, do it in a Christ-honoring way. It’s not a night off from being a light on a hill. Give out amazing candy, and be generous. Smile and say, ‘LOVE your costume’. Pretend to be scared when a kid tries to scare you. Teach your children about what it means to be a ‘neighbour’. Ooze peace, love and joy.

      Our kids love trick-or-treating. We teach our children (try to) that there is real, potent evil in the world, and that it is not something to poke sticks at or play around with… (no ghost costumes, witches, serial killers, etc…), BUT that the devil doesn’t get to have his own day. This day, and every day, are the LORD’S day. He has overcome evil, and we can celebrate that. Halloween, for me, is the perfect preamble to Christmas…. Really, after all the cobwebs and morbidity, who isn’t ready to receive the good news of life and light? Just from a story-line perspective, the timing couldn’t be better for it.

      I do think that perhaps there is actually something very emotionally and psychologically healthy about allowing children their own time to band together as a community, face their fears together, muster courage to look under the bed… because for the most part all those things we are afraid of are not real. They only have as much power as we give to them. God says over and over again, in the face of real and present danger and in real terror situations, ‘DO NOT BE AFRAID. I AM WITH YOU.’ Maybe on a broad scale, Halloween in some cathartic way can serve to give our over-indulged, soft, sheltered north american christian children a tangible, healthy opportunity to have a taste of what it feels like to be spooked, to look fear in the face, to practice courage, to learn what it feels like to not run from evil, but to rather turn and overcome evil with good.

    • Cadis

      Your Welcome #John this blog topic was fun even though I think the humor got misunderstood here and there. Thanks too Nita for your reply 🙂

    • […] Then, at the Life2gether blog, Doug Wolter quotes Michael Patton: I can’t believe I am going to say this but, WWJD? Really, what would Jesus do? Can you see it?… […]

    • SW

      Vance, I’m with Nita in that we should discuss and allow everyone to have their own opinion. I have read a lot of sarcastic comments on this particular post, and sarcasm just doesn’t communicate love very well. If you choose to participate in the cultural events of Halloween, then do so in a way that is God-honoring and do it well, without making the those of the opposite opinion feel that they are stupid or ridiculous. If you choose not to because you feel that nothing about it is God-honoring, then do it in a way that isn’t condemning to those of the opposite opinion. Live and let live. It seems to me that there is a lot of manipulation that goes on on both sides, and that’s just not loving. Love would “live and let live” in this regard, in a manner of speaking. (Please don’t take that and twist it into a bigger meaning than I am actually saying. I just mean to apply it to this particular argument.) I do think CMP’s original post was humble and simply spoke of his personal conviction. I realize that some of those sarcastic comments were made to encourage laughter, and we all should be able to laugh at ourselves, but unfortunately, sarcasm is more often taken as offensive.

      I WISH I could participate in Halloween, but I don’t live in America, and everyone around me would think I was nuts for dressing in a costume today… (We’ll be in the states for a year next year and I already have costumes planned for our entire family!) But I want to participate just because I want to have a reason to dress up in a costume. That’s fun to me. We’ll stay away from anything scary because neither my children nor I enjoy being scared. Pretty simple. Nita has her convictions, and I really think the most loving thing would be for me to encourage her to stick with her convictions, because according to Romans, for her to go outside of them could be sin for her, which is definitely evil.

      Nita, bravo to your family for letting everyone keep their own convictions about it and not arguing about it. That’s really cool.

    • […] Halloween-centric blog post on Pen and Parchment got me thinking about which view I hold. Obviously, growing up it was the first option. The blog […]

    • #John1453

      Two Post Halloween Thoughts

      Though Christmas has pagan origins and Halloween does not, there is no reason that what was done with Christmas cannot be done with the pagan associations of Halloween. The church took over midwinter festivals and changed them fundamentally by incorporating the pagan cultural activities and symbols (yule log, evergreen tree, lights) into christian culture. The same can and should be done with Halloween. Rather than merely a “Christ apart from culture” or Christ agains culture” approaches, we should be engaging in a Christ transforming culture (Neibuhr’s divisions, IIRC).

      Our neighbourhood public school always has a halloween parade around the block with all the kids in their costumes on the last school day before halloween. Some very creative and fun costumes: plates of spaghetti, gumball machine, toilet, slice of blueberry pie, a highway with a lit overhead sign, ipod, etc. For me, that’s what halloween is about. Fun creating costumes and going out with friends to collect candy and looking at scary yard displays of giant pumpkins, smoke machines, music, jack-o-lanterns, witches crashed into trees, inflated Caspar the ghost (we don’t have anything super gory in our neighbourhood).


    • Gary Bryan

      The argument of celebrating Halloween or not seems to be one of those arguments that only polarizes people. My perspective is a little different. It seems to me tht we, as Christians, are called upon to be spending our time and money and energy on things that are spiritual rather than things of this world. If you put a huge amount of time, effort and money into preparing for and celebrating a festival such as Halloween, then there is a better-than-zero chance that it is more important than spiritual things to you. In other words, you have a god in front of the true God. This can be true of any Holiday or anything at all in your life (including your own children).

      If you have a very moderate view of how much effort you put into Halloween, and God is always the main focus of anything you do, then I don’t think there is anything real argument as to whether you engage in Halloween activities or not. Also, if you are walking with God and not in unconfessed sin, then I think you must also follow your conscience on this one.

      As far as dressing up or not…I think you stay away from anything that resembles the theme of death/murder. I also think you are careful to avoid costumes that are in any way seductive sexually. You should also be careful to not honor a human idol who has clearly been in opposition to God’s standards in terms of lifestyle (yes, that includes a lot of people). Cute/innocent costumes for the kids are the way to go.

      I believe we are to be clearly different as Christians…people should notice. But we should not spend our time and efforts hating everyone who engages in Halloween. Our priority is to honor God and love people (in that order). Many Christians are starting to love people first and then honor God second, and this leads to a slow fade toward humanism and tolerance of every type of sin. If you are honoring God in your life, He will provide you with the answers of how much to engage in Halloween. If you are always quoting verses about how Jesus hung out with sinners and tax collectors and prostitutes, then my gut tells me that you are excusing tolerance of sin. We know that Jesus spent time with the lost, but he also spent time with those who loved, honored and believed in Him. The time he spent with sinners was for the purpose of saving them, not for the purpose of acting just like them.

      Loving the lost is the great commission of Christ, not partying along with them so that they think Christians are cool just like them. If Jesus came across as cool to the sinners, then why did he end up hanging from a cross with nails in his hands and a spear in his gut. Check our Romans 1 and tell me that we, as humans, are not susceptible to a slow-fade of sin and darkness in our life.

      Have fun on Halloween, but beware of yourself. Trust God, clean up your own life, confess sin, and love the lost…you do all this and your conscience is clear, then go ahead and carve a pumpkin, don the costume…

    • Susan

      My little Samuel had a great time at the church carnival as a ghost! We used a thin white hospital blanket…with holes cut out for eyes. Many people commented on the costume. They liked the ‘old school’ look…..Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. I was constantly keeping the holes lined up with his eyes…… Little did I know I was coming down with the Swine Flu…

    • Kathe

      It’s not recent western fundamentalism – it is actually picking up the Word of Yahweh to find out what He thinks about it. It doesn’t matter what “I” want. It matters what “He” wants.

      He does not want us messing around with stuff like this. We can put cute and nice names on things and call them what we want to make it all nice and good but that doesn’t change things in His eyes. Just read how He treated Israel when they did the same exact thing. He warned them, warned them again and then forsook then and put them into captivity. Time and time again they attempted to mix what they wanted into what He wanted and not once did He put up with it.

      There will be many who say Lord, Lord but…but….and He is going to say, I don’t know you. It’s not easy to follow the path that He made. Few are on it because it’s much easier to follow the ways of this world. We all have the choice to do what is in our hearts and minds or to follow what He put in His Word. It’s a choice.

    • scottidog

      Great article.

      If we’re going to worry about the origins of holidays, y’all better stop celebrating Christmas too. It has every bit as much of pagan roots as Halloween does.

    • #John1453

      Re comment #116

      Messing around with what? We go out for halloween but we don’t hold a séance before we go out, or upon return throw our extra Tootsie Rolls down before a statute of the devil. Furthermore, most of the symbols and things associated with halloween have nothing to do with how satan and his minions actually operate in the world. Vampires and Frankenstein are a creation of literature, as is the modern conception of werewolves. Ghosts are not real, nor are haunted houses. Witches that worship satan don’t fly around on brooms or have green skin or black peaked hats or warts on their noses. Black cats are no more unlucky or devilish than other cats. Satan is no more active on Halloween night than on any other night, nor is God less active. Goblins and spectres and ogres and walking mummies and zombies and other things that allegedly go bump in the night are also cultural fables and creations and have nothing to do with how satan actually goes about his business.

      And my point still remains, should we as Christians merely oppose culture or stay separate from culture or transform our culture as the early church did with both Christmas and Easter. Moreover, with Halloween we actually have a cultural event that has Christian rather than pagan origins.


    • cherylu

      I keep reading on this thread that Halloween has Christian rather than pagan roots. That has surprised me since that is not what I have heard in the past. Here is a link to an article that explains it’s roots in the way I have heard it in the past:

      It says, in short, that Halloween was originaly a pagan holiday and that the Catholic Church eventually took that same day and made it All Hallows Eve. That is where the name Halloween comes from.

    • #John1453

      re post 119 and the origins of halloween

      The article linked in that comment was ill-informed about Halloween and consequently inaccurate.

      True, there is a Samhain day now observed by some on the 31st of October, but the October date is not the date originally observed. Little is known about the celtic religion and their druid priests, but it is know that their god of death and war was called Samhain. The rites celebrated in worship of that God occured on the fall equinox of the sun, which was detected by observing (among other things) the change in length of shadows cast by the sun. That day, the first day of fall, is September 22nd, not October 31st. Historians agree that the day was changed, but when and why it was changed. The most plausible date and reason relates to the co-existing and independent celebration of November 1st as all saints day.

      November 1st was not chosen by the church to celebrate All Saints day because of it’s nearness to Samhain. It was a choice by a pope, in Italy and a long way both geographically and cultural from the celts. The first festival to all Saints as well as Martyrs occurred during the reign of Pope Gregory III (731-741), who dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Rome on November 1 in honour of All Saints. That chapel had been the site of the Martyrdom of many Christians, and the chapel had been built to honour them, and the dedication day of the chapel was November 1st. In 837, Pope Gregory IV ordered its general observance. Thus all saints day was moved by the western church to the fall from the spring. The eastern church still uses the spring.

      A viable theory for the change in date for the observance of Samhain rituals is that a rapidly Christianized Ireland consolidated its pagan ritual day into the Church’s Hallowe’en in order to keep its own pagan traditions alive.


    • cherylu


      Well, I don’t know. There seems to be a lot of sources out there that say that Nov 1st was the celtic celebration of Samhain. I didn’t look too far, but everyone that I looked at that gave a date for it used this day. Here is another link:

    • Renton

      Even if Halloween was originally pagan, and later Christianized, then after all, still, it WAS Christianized.

      So that today, Halloween might well be regarded as a Christian holiday. Indeed, the very name is Christian: “Hallow” “eve.”

      Though to be sure, I like to think of it as also, broadly syncretistic. Or as an interesting dialogue, between many different ideas of the gods. Including the Christian one.

      You COULD show up at the door, as Jesus or an angel, after all.

    • #John1453

      The Celts who celebrated Samhain did not, obviously, use a Roman or other regularized calendar, but followed the movements of the sun moon and stars. Much debate exists about this, but it seems that many (most?) writers favour a lunar calendar, which means that festivals would move around in dates. Even if stars were used, the precession or movement of the stars in relation to the earth (remember that the Sun moves in a circular orbit around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy) slowly changes the date on which certain stellar configurations occur. Hence October 31st represents the date when the day of the festival became frozen in location in the Roman or western solar calendar.

      The more significant point is that November 1st was not chosen by the pan-European Catholic church just to Christianize a pagan celebration in Ireland. It was chosen in relation to an unrelated event: the dedication of a church celebrating martyrs of the faith.

      Furthermore, the Celts apparently started their days in the evening (like Jews), and so October 31st would have, for them, begun at sunset on the 30th and ended at sunset on the 31st. Sunset on the 31st would have begun November 1st.

      In any event, we must deal with the fact that the American cultural observance of Halloween does have some evil or occult matters or symbols associated with it. How then do we deal with it? Christ apart from Culture, Christ in or of Culture, Christ against Culture or Christ transforming culture?

      I’m with transforming culture. Which for me means participating in Halloween in a way that does not give credance to or honour to or participation in the negative aspects of Halloween. So our yard decorations do not have witches or devils, and my kids dressed up as Columbo (detective), a clown, and Spiderman. In that regard I think alternate parties in a church are a way of participating culturally in a fun event without any focus on the negative aspects. However, I still think it is still too much a Christ apart from culture. The culture in North America is to go out door to door dressed in a a costume and get candy. The question is not how do we avoid that but how do we participate in that in a positive way.


    • cherylu

      As generally celebrated by most folks today, Halloween certainly appears to have much more in common with pagan roots than Christian ones. All saints day to celebrate and remember those that have gone before doesn’t seem to have much to do with witches, ghosts, goblins, bats, black cats, jack ‘o lanterns, haunted houses, etc. So it seems to me that even if it can be proven that the Christian celebration came first and the pagan one was later moved to that date as # John asserted, it doesn’t do anything at all to convince me that participating in that type of celebration is anything that is good for me as a Christian to do. An alternative celebration perhaps, but not a standard Halloween celebration as it is done in our culture.

    • I don’t know if it’s because our kids have grown, or because I’ve lived the last ten years in a country that has zero halloween celebration, or because I’ve spiritually matured [wink], but I now find Halloween a bizarre holiday. Not the piles of candy, but the witches and ghosts and skeletons. Pumpkins are fine, superman is fine, princesses are fine. So for me, being in the world, but not of the world, would mean celebrating without that bad stuff.
      As for tracts, I agree they are cheesy. I prefer the animal skin/wild honey and locust approach to heralding the gospel…

    • J.R.

      Nicely put and articulated #John.

      I understand Cherylu aversion to celebrating Halloween due (maybe?) to her conscience and what she may see as sin to her.

      Halloween as celebrated on Oct. 31 is no more hideous or demon honoring than any other day. Christians may be quicker to judge what we think we see rather than what the heart reveals. In order for one to celebrate a “pagan” holiday one would assume they know something about it to celebrate it. In my neighborhood I can only assume the little rascals running around dressed as their favorite princess, lion king, cowboy, sports star, or pirate are just as innocent as their youth. I look forward to opening my door with a hand full of candy and sharing in the joy of God’s little blessings.

    • graceshaker

      we did a trunk or treat at an apartment complex with a local ministry team then went to our community group neighborhood and gave out hot chocolate and cotton candy. my children chose to go as queen lucy of narnia reepicheep and a bumblebee.

      that said i wonder about how involved we should be. im fine with hosting shindigs and being good neighbors. lights on and give out the best candy. but i also think we have a responsibility to our children at the very least to explain the festivities and why this day is significant.

      my 7 and 5 year old know the basics. they know this night has been celebrated all over the world since way back as a day to honor the dead. they know about the jack-o-lantern. not the sterilized churchy version about jesus shoveling our insides out in favor of a candle but the real story. they know that in some places people believe in ghosts roaming the earth on the autum equinox. they know the church celebrates all saints day on the day after.

      i think its a cop out to turn off ur lights but no more so than to blindly embrace a custom just bc its prevalent in our culture. its extreme to go either way. there needs to be balance. give ur children knowledge.

    • #John1453

      Graceshaker in post 127 has an interesting and valid approach:telling her/his kids about the real stories behind some of the halloween traditions or materials. It’s not one that even crossed my mind. Having thought about it a bit, I think I’ll stick with the way I was raised, in ignorance: Halloween is a night to dress up in costumes and get candy and people have spooky yard displays. It was that simple for me growing up and I never went beyond it, even up into my 30s (when the wacko evangelicals got into satanism and began to take over church halloween events and morality). I honestly had no clue about all the other allegedly background stuff. It was, literally, simple and fun. That’s what I want for my kids, so I’ll leave them ignorant just as I was. If the topic comes up, I’m prepared to discuss it and learn more about it with them. My position with them will be that it’s possible for christians to participate in cultural events in a way that does not dishonour God and does not lead nonChristians into thinking that we are stark raving looney mad. I will also teach them about Samuel and Saul and the wrongness of calling on dead spirits.

      Also, I wouldn’t really call Halloween a festival or celebration. Sure, it’s an event, but I don’t think it rises to the level of being either of the former.

      Until I participated in this thread, I didn’t know about the Irish/English tale of Jack not getting into either heaven or hell but being forced to carry a lit turnip and wander the earth. An interesting tale, maybe I’ll tell that to my kids since they can take it in as just a tale and not a true story of the nature of heaven and hell and salvation.


    • RBB

      Our church (an evangelical Baptist stripe) meets in the local charter school complex so we are limited in space and what we can do for activities. However for the past four years we have hosted a Trunk or Treat for the local community in the church/school parking lot. For one it’s safer in our community to get the kids to a central event. And the kids get tons more candy. Church members all try and out-do one another (in Christian love) when it comes to decorating our cars, trucks, and vans. Kids – and adults – all come dressed up as whatever. Yes, he have witches and other “non-biblical” costumes but no is turned away. And, yes, we give out tracts (not the Chick variety) and follow up on folks. This year we added inflatables and pizza, all at no cost, and wound up with 1500 people coming out. About 1200 indicated they have no home church.
      Here’s the point. Paul said if we regard the day we regard it as unto the Lord. Oct 31 is just another day we regard as the Lord’s. True, not all of our church members are in favor of this event. But what if just one family out of 1200 came to saving faith in Christ? Did Jesus have His lights on on Halloween? I’d like to think He had about 50 decorated vehicles out that night as well.

    • Moe

      Speaking of running from evil, good thing the blog owner doesn’t edit posts from nonchristians about the subject of Halloween and what they see some Christians do during that time, right?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Toe: No, it happens subtly. You know, like with Harry Potter.”

      Yeah, that is right. In twenty-first century America, I can see how much satanism has grown because of Harry Potter and Halloween.

      We talking the “HARRY POTTER IS SAY-TANN-IC!!!” preaching and book-burnings while Pullman’s Golden Compass trilogy was becoming recommended reading for children endorsed by Children’s librarians and teachers? As in while the escorts are busy depth-charging a false contact, the real torpedoes bore into the convoy from the other side?

      I got nailed by The Satanic Panic back in the Eighties. With me it was Dungeons & Dragons. You know, “Satan’s Game”?

      And the treatment gamers got from Christian Activists at the time caused a “Xians are The Enemy” backlash among gamers that continues to this day. How do you think all the Uber-Uber-Dark Fantasy RPGs & gamers got started?

      (Oh, and one more thing. Don’t just give out tracts…Shame, shame. Give out the best candy in the neighborhood. Let people know that you are the house that is not cheap.)

      And the Jack Chick Tract du jour wasn’t “BOO!” but “DARK DUNGEONS”.

    • #John1453

      Hey, if you’re headless, how do we know that you’re really a unicorn guy? Do we just take your word for it? I have some epistemic issues here.

    • Vasilon

      @ Headless unicorn guy

      You aren’t just whistling dixie there, pal!

      To this day, the fact that I am both devout and a long-time rpg fan seems to bring looks of total shock.

    • Lyberty

      This my view on Halloween.It may not have started out as what I am about to say,but you asked for our opinions.I believe it is a holiday for children of all ages.They can dress up as what they want within reason.There is nothing demonic about it except what people make of it.There are those who choose to worship Satan on that day,and that is them.I do not like the Satanists.I see nothing wrong about dressing up and the children to get candy or toys or whatever the people give as long as it is not harmful.That is why you check everything they get.I have seen church’s put up haunted houses,so my upbringing taut me Halloween is not a bad holiday for children,it is the people who do bad things that make it look bad.I love dressing up silly and being goofy for 1 night a year.There is no harm,only bad people who make it that way.

    • Lawrence


      “Speaking of running from evil, good thing the blog owner doesn’t edit posts from nonchristians about the subject of Halloween and what they see some Christians do during that time, right?”

      Yep. It is good that Mr. Patton respects the posts and posters and allows for honest discussion. Even as a non-religious guy myself, I can respect that.

      Which is more than I can say for you, Moe. You delete comments and ignore honest posts on your livejournal. So I think you should learn a lesson from the people here, and man up.

    • George Rose

      What an inspiring post!

      Too bad it took me a year to find it! =(

    • […] Halloween-centric blog post on Pen and Parchment got me thinking about which view I hold. Obviously, growing up it was the first option. The blog […]

    • […] or 3) Halloween is acceptable when done in moderation and we should have funA Halloween-centric blog post on Pen and Parchment got me thinking about which view I hold. Obviously, growing up it was the first option. The blog […]

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