Halloween, in the past, was an innocent time in the United States. Children dressed as their favorite character, (mine was Peter Pan), and asked the neighbors for candy. Occasionally the children were asked to do a trick before they were given candy. I enjoyed showing off my acrobatic ability with cartwheels, splits, and back bends. If a child dressed as anything like a witch or a devil it was to make fun of evil spirits. In fairy tales like “Hansel and Gretel” or even in “The Wizard of Oz” the witches were defeated and overcome with good.
Then something happened in the 70’s. There were rumors that needles and razor blades had been inserted into apples. Candy had to be checked by adults to make sure none was poisoned. Hospitals offered to x-ray candy to be sure it was safe. It seemed that evil was being worshiped and feared rather than made fun of. In the Bible God warned His people not to become involved with anything of the occult nature. As the Bible was studied more many people avoided dressing as evil spirits. Others who enjoyed evil characters invented more and scarier costumes. Haunted houses became more numerous and elaborate.
In 1997 the first “Harry Potter” book was released and warlocks and witches were depicted as good. Some parents did not allow their children to read the books while others did. Other similar books were also controversial. Should parents allow their children to read a book about a “good” warlock that in the past would have been considered bad?
Chris, although he went trick or treating as a child, decided that trick or treating was extortion. Asking the neighbors for candy and threatening vandalism was wrong. Our ten-year-old son wasn’t all that excited about trick or treating so instead he took his allowance to a store and bought the candy he wanted. Churches hosted “Harvest Festivals” on the night of Halloween. Kids could stock up on candy and games in safety. Many schools stopped having a dress up day for the kids and did not have Halloween parties as it was considered a “religion.”
So how should a Christian act on Halloween? I think by prayer and by common sense each parent and child should decide what they will do on Halloween. Some may continue to trick or treat while others may go to a Harvest Festival. Still others may skip the night all together. We are empty nesters now so usually we have a bag of candy or two on hand in case we have any trick or treaters. Our granddaughters dress up and go to their mom’s work to trick or treat. We pray for safety for all whether they are outside or in. Meanwhile we plan to eat the left over candy!