Over a hundred years ago, the great Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck predicted that the 20th century would “witness a gigantic conflict of spirits.” His prediction turned out to be an understatement, and this great conflict continues into the 21st century.
The issue of Halloween presses itself annually upon the Christian conscience. Acutely aware of dangers new and old, many Christian parents choose to withdraw their children from the holiday altogether. Others choose to follow a strategic battle plan for engagement with the holiday. Still others have gone further, seeking to convert Halloween into an evangelistic opportunity. Is Halloween really that significant?
Well, Halloween is a big deal in the marketplace. Halloween is surpassed only by Christmas in terms of economic activity. Reporting in 2007, David J. Skal estimated: “Precise figures are difficult to determine, but the annual economic impact of Halloween is now somewhere between 4 billion and 6 billion dollars depending on the number and kinds of industries one includes in the calculations.” As of 2012, that total exceeded $8 billion.
Furthermore, historian Nicholas Rogers claims that “Halloween is currently the second most important party night in North America. In terms of its retail potential, it is second only to Christmas. This commercialism fortifies its significance as a time of public license, a custom-designed opportunity to have a blast. Regardless of its spiritual complications, Halloween is big business.”
Rogers and Skal have each produced books dealing with the origin and significance of Halloween. Nicholas Rogers is author of Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. Professor of History at York University in Canada, Rogers has written a celebration of Halloween as a transgressive holiday that allows the bizarre and elements from the dark side to enter the mainstream. Skal, a specialist on the culture of Hollywood, has written Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween. Skal’s approach is more dispassionate and focused on entertainment, looking at the cultural impact of Halloween in the rise of horror movies and the nation’s fascination with violence…to read more, click HERE.
My personal two bits on this subject…I believe that if a Christian wants to participate in this day, he needs to really decide why. Is it:
- to have fun and enjoy a night of flaunting authority and all that is decent and good?
- to hand out candy with a silly tract wrapped around it hoping it touches a heart?
- or to stand in the roads and on the corners preaching Law and Gospel?
The first two will be the most popular obviously, the third will be something that would be ludicrous to try on such a dark night or it would be a case of throwing pearls before swine. Do you as a Christian really believe that a soul drunk on the darkness and horror of Hallowe’en would be open to listening to the Gospel? God opens the ears and the heart and not man, it would totally be up to God to make a man open to the Gospel.
So if you as a Christian decide to participate in Hallowe’en, then stand up for Jesus, preach the Gospel and stand out from the crowd as a slave and representative of Jesus Christ. Have no part with the blood, guts and horror that surrounds this day. Shun the ugliness and distaste and stand for the purity and beauty of Jesus Christ. If people thirst for blood and horror, tell them about the cross.
If you don’t feel compelled to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ on Hallowe’en, then stay home, turn off the lights and don’t answer the door. Make a statement to your neighbours that you refuse to take part in this dark, evil day.