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To Trick or Treat or Not to Trick or Treat?

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To Trick or Treat or Not to Trick or Treat?

by Rev. Matthew Sullivan, Director of Campus Life 

Halloween is a minefield for Christian families. I get it. There are many potential pitfalls, with dark images and unsavory characters seemingly lurking in many places. Some believers feel (and I understand this) that the holiday is so anti-Christian that they can’t take part in good conscience.  

I would like to offer another viewpoint, one I feel is important in our post-Christian society. 

Halloween is perhaps the best day of the entire year for the Church to be the salt and light that Jesus commands us to be. How many times are we allowed (even encouraged) to stroll right up our neighbor’s front walk and stand on their porch? Is there another day when we can open our own doors to our neighborhood and celebrate their children and strengthen our connectedness to them (maybe even meet some new neighbors for the first time!)? We can probably meet and see more neighbors on this one night than any other night of the year!

On this one night, our culture has given us permission to introduce ourselves without the awkwardness that usually hangs in the air. And, we can have a great time dressing up our kids (and sometimes ourselves!) in fun costumes. Choosing our costumes carefully is key…we can celebrate honorable characters and redemptive storylines in our dressing up which can open up a wonderful dialogue with our children. 

Trick-or-treating gives our kids opportunities to grow socially as well. They can go in groups with friends and make some amazing memories. I have some very fond recollections of going around my neighborhood in Columbus, OH with my pals dressed as an Army man, on what our community called “Beggars’ Night.” Going up to knock on doors and meeting new adults builds our kids’ confidence as well. Our kids can be the ones who actually say “Thank you” to their candy-givers, leaving the aroma of Christ on their doorsteps.

My strong counsel to parents of young children is to be a part of redeeming Halloween. Establish treasured traditions while capitalizing on the best night of the whole year to be connected with unchurched people. Go for it! I really think you’ll be glad you did.