Each year in preparation for October 31, I took on the challenge of making a costume for my young son. I loved to watch him leap and laugh with delight while dressed as a pirate, dinosaur, or alien. I tossed a chocolate bar or two into the bag of each adorable little candy beggar who knocked at my door on Trick-or-Treat night.
As my son moved from elementary to middle school, I awakened to the real meaning of Halloween. More and more, the costumes portrayed evil movie characters…Michael Myers of Halloween, Freddy Krueger of Nightmare on Elm Street, and Jason Voorhees of Friday the Thirteenth. The oh-so-fun holiday of costumes and candy became a celebration of evil, complete with chainsaws and machetes, along with plenty of blood and gore.
I made a tough decision. Our family would not continue to celebrate Halloween. This counter-cultural decision did not come without judgement from extended family, neighbors, even teachers. I understand many Christians feel differently. I don’t judge them for celebrating. Those who criticized my decision thought I deprived my son of a worthy childhood experience, but I felt confident in my convictions for abstaining.
Now receive the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over opinions. One person believes in eating everything, but the weak person eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not despise the one who does not, and the one who abstains must not judge the one who eats everything, for God has accepted him. Romans 14:1-3
The disciples and early followers of Christ held differing opinions about Christian nonessentials. Paul did not attempt to end their differences or produce a oneness of mind among them.
One person regards one day holier than other days, and another regards them all alike. Each must be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day does it for the Lord. The one who eats, eats for the Lord because he gives thanks to God, and the one who abstains from eating abstains for the Lord, and he gives thanks to God. Romans 14:5-6
Our conscience must give consent to our actions and we receive that approval as we apply guidance from the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. A personal conviction from God should guide our decisions. We play God when we take it upon ourselves to judge the motives of others.
For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people. Romans 14:17-18
God honors our desire to live in a way that pleases him. He desires that we live in harmony with our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we follow this path, we are approved by both God and wise believers. We should not trouble ourselves by the opinions of others.
Personally, I choose to set myself apart from the world by abstaining from celebrating Halloween. It’s one of the ways that I live out my Christian faith. I have confidence I made the right decision, but standing my ground has required some courage.
Have you ever been judged for celebrating or not celebrating Halloween?