Happy Hallelujah / Trunk or Treat / Fall Festival (on Oct 31st) / Pumpkin Party (on Oct 31st). All are popular names for Halloween parties for churches. It’s basically a great way to hook families into engaging with them in a fun non-threatening way with hopes that something will spark their interest in returning for a visit on the following Sunday. I think this is great and is a wonderful use of resources. My problem is that the intention was to celebrate Halloween, while acting like they are not by the use of a play on words. Why can’t they just call it what it is; a Halloween party. This is a small example of how the unchurched can perceive the church as not authentic and hypocritical. It’s sort of the same thing as when my friend will say, “What the eff was he thinking?” I know what she was thinking. I know what she meant. I’m even impressed with her discipline of abbreviating the word, but I wonder how that is any better than actually saying what she means or refraining all together. The intention was there. Intent is even a legitimate defense in court. Someone that hits someone with intent to hurt them usually fares better than one that hits someone with the intent to kill.
To Halloween or not to Halloween is a controversial topic for Christians and I can appreciate both sides of the issue. Does being in the world, but not of the world mean celebrating a pagan holiday under the disguise of twisting the words of what they decide to call it so that it appears less worldly? When I look at Jesus’ ministry on earth I think about how he hung out with the sinners and met them where they were. He didn’t trick anyone into it. He didn’t participate in their sinful actions by joining in with them and calling it something different. I also doubt that he was changing the water to wine as a party trick around town to get people to church that week. People wanted to be around him due to his integrity and the authentic way he showed love and mercy to them. They came to believe by watching his miracles and listening to his message of hope. No gimmicks required.
Whatever your convictions about Halloween, I think that we should strive to be genuine. Call a spade a spade. So as for me and my family, we will celebrate Halloween…..and still go to church that week