Spirit Halloween…. Who’s Spirit are they talking about?
by Mykel McElwee
In 2013 the National Retail Federation pegged Halloween spending at about $6.9 billion. Analysts expect 2014 to be a particularly strong Halloween sales holiday, with it falling on a Friday. Spirit Halloween, a seasonal chain owned by New Jersey-based mall retailer Spencer Gifts, has opened more than 1,000 stores nationwide this year. I can’t help but ask, “What ‘Spirit’ do they mean?” and “How many Christian parents will escort their children through the aisles of this retailer to pick out a Halloween custom?” It is expected that this year’s big seller will be “Game of Thrones” merchandise, from the adult-oriented fantasy TV series. One needs only to watch a few minutes of this HBO hit to be slathered with sex and violence. To put it mildly, Halloween is big business. With Spencer Gifts’ “Spirit” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones” leading the way, it is important for the disciples of Christ to ask one another, How does this holiday glorify God? But, before I go any further, I must first confess that I have celebrated Halloween for most of my life. I have dressed up my children and myself to go door-to-door trick-or-treating. I have even hosted church “Harvest parties” in my home. All of which seemed innocent at the time but in hindsight I am sorry I did. I now repent of turning a blind eye to one of Satan’s best evangelism tools. Is it any surprise that Halloween is celebrated in our schools? Would it be as readily embraced if it glorified our Savior? I think we know that answer.
As believers our lives are to be ones dedicated to becoming obedient followers of Christ. To do so we must turn to Scripture to be our guide in all things. As we do, we will often come across many things that must die (“Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me—Luke 9:23); things that bring back fond childhood memories. Memories we desire to share once again with our children. But we cannot confuse our desires with our Lord’s desire. Our heart attitude should not be one that tries to justify the secular tradition of Halloween. Instead, we should strive to glorify God in all that we do.
So, how does Halloween measure up to Scripture? “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory”—1 Cor. 10:31(HCSB). “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil”—1 Thess. 5:21-22 (KJV). “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things”—Phil. 4:8 (NIV). “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”—Rom. 12:9 (KJV). These verses combined with the many other verses that warn us to stay away from witchcraft and the occult leaves the believer with little room to participate in Halloween festivities. No matter how much we try to repurpose it for God’s glory. We must remember our battle, “war against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens”(Ephesian 6).
There is no reason to argue the roots of Halloween. There is nothing biblical about it. My intention in writing this article is not to point a finger but rather I write this out of remorse. I once embraced Halloween. I embraced a holiday that hates my Savior! I once was blind but now I see. Halloween is a holiday that entices young children with candy. Apostle Peter warns us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” In Luke 6:45 Jesus tells us, “A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” After reading these words of Jesus how can I say out of the good storeroom of my own heart, “Happy Halloween!!” Halloween’s intention is neither fun nor innocent. It is bathed in blood, but not the blood of Jesus. Here’s a challenge: Send your child to school and dress them up like Jesus, or your favorite bible hero, or as one of my brothers in Christ suggested, a Christian martyr complete with burning flames. Have them carry their bible in one hand and a trick-or-treat bag in the other. When they come home ask them how much fun they had. “They stumble because they disobey the message; they were destined for this. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”—1 Peter 2:9-10 (HCSB).