It is a rather odd holiday. With its roots in ancient, pre-Christian Celtic traditions, October 31st was the day the dead were thought to return to earth. In order to re-brand and redeem this day, Pope Gregory III chose November 1st as "All Saints Day," or "All Hallows' Day," making the evening before "All Hallows' Eve." It worked - largely within the Catholic Church. But the creepy/spooky traditions also survived in their own way.
So we are left with a strange amalgam holiday in America where children may dress up in costumes and trick-or-treat for candy at night in their neighborhoods.
But where does that leave us as Christian families?
Should your children celebrate Halloween?
We all know families on both sides of the fence. Some families let their children trick-or-treat. Some attend "trunk-or-treats" in their church parking lot: a safer, more controlled environment to dress up and score candy. Some choose to focus on celebrating the harvest of the season instead, ignoring the whole Halloween scene entirely.
As a school, we don't celebrate Halloween.
But we make it a point not to dictate Halloween policies for families.
What if we asked a different question instead?
How can we follow Jesus, even around this dicey, often divisive holiday?
How, as Christians, can we love our neighbor?
Maybe this Halloween can be a chance to extend grace to the people who don't agree with us.
Perhaps to extend grace is to be kind, to give the benefit of the doubt, and to simply let different choices exist within the body of Christ.
What if the gospel still remained in tact, whether we keep our children in for the night, or let them go out?
Each of us must act according to our own conscience in the Lord. As in anything.
From the book of Proverbs:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight."
We don't have all the answers. Halloween can be a touchy holiday within the Church, but it doesn't have to be divisive when we treat others' choices with gracious attitudes.