When we lived in Uganda, our Ugandan friends were frequently curious about our culture, as we were curious and learning their culture.
We found it difficult, however, to explain Halloween to our Ugandan friends. In fact, we were awakened to the fact that any holiday that glorifies gore and darkness is suspect at best and can lead to sin at worst.
Like many other Christians recently, we’ve helped our children avoid dressing up as blantantly evil characters. Events have been changed from Halloween to “Fall Festivals,” and trick or treating has become “trunk or treats” at churches. Yet there we were, ironically, “celebrating” a holiday in a country where we were trying to move Ugandans out of superstitions and control of evil and preaching Christ as more powerful than the evil one or evil spirits that most Ugandans very much believe in (Jn 4:4).
Over the years, we appreciate and attend here in the states “Fall Festival” activities modified for the spiritual health of our children. That said, however, Halloween has been one of the best times of the year to participate in what the culture around us is doing and meet more of our neighbors. I’ve heard of boycotts that encourage people to turn off their front porch light and not answer the door on trick or treat night. I don’t agree with not answering the door or boycotting a time when there is potential for meeting neighbors. We’re already too isolated as it is. Few days (or nights) of the year do whole neighborhoods open up their doors and expect people to come see them. Many Christians are taking this opportunity to be a light in a dark holiday.
My children are pictured (from left, Anna, 8, Ashley, 10, Jacob, 6), and we’re on our way to trick or treat and will also spend some time at home, opening our door to those goblins coming to our door.