Do you hear that? It's the sound of worms spilling out of the can.
Christians are at war regarding the level of Halloween festivities acceptable for the Christian to engage in. On a scale of 1-10, we have your run-of-the-mill "God hates Halloween" crowd sitting squarely on -3. These are the people who take this opportunity to pass out intimidating "If You Were To Die Tonight" tracts. Around the mid-scale mark, we see the "Harvest Festival" groupies. Their church usually holds a trunk or treat event (or whatever is trending that year), and everyone has warm fuzzies over not being sucked into secular holidays while still conducting a "community outreach". Dancing on number 10, we observe Christians acting just like the world. They go trick-or-treating and embrace Halloween in all it's fake fanged glory.*
Each camp appears to be at odds with the others, and I think the whole shebang is ridiculous. The very fact that we allow one day out of the year to be such a divider speaks volumes to how we really feel about each other. We more securely mask our opinions the other 364 days of the year, but the sentiments remain the same.
To the first group, I implore you not to judge those who participate in the traditional Halloween celebrations (whether churchy or secular). Please don't assume that a Christian family who carves pumpkins, excitedly buys costumes or goes trick-or-treating are nothing more than shallow, weak-faithed, ill-informed individuals. Some of them have considered the spiritual issues of Halloween with a great deal of soul-searching and bringing their concerns before their heavenly Father.**
To the second group, it's easy to feel like you've taken the moral high ground by shunning the secular activities and not alienating the unbeliever all at the same time. Yes, your events usually flaunt less gory costumes. However, I see very little distinction between secular and churched girls when it comes to their costume choices. As the mother of young girls, it's disheartening to see this inclination toward (dare I say it?) slutty costumes. How on earth does that help with the outreach aspect of your event? If you're in the second group, please don't assume that those on either end of the scale are out of balance with God. The middle of the road is not always the best place to drive either.
To the final group, you feel Halloween is no different than Christians celebrating Thanksgiving, St. Patrick's Day or National Peanut Butter Day.*** You have freedom in Christ and feel gravely misunderstood. As such, you respond by snubbing Christian attempts to Jesus-ify Halloween and you mock those who choose to capitalize on the opportunity to hand out tracts. Please don't assume that your relaxed position on Halloween is somehow more spiritual than the previous two parties. These other two groups are not filled to the brim with stuffy, goody two-shoes who have forgotten about God's grace. Also, see my comments above regarding provocative costumes.
To all three camps (and anyone in between), I beseech you to consider how your attitude towards one another on October 31st taints your attitude towards one another the rest of the year. Let's all strive to live out Philippians 2:3, which admonishes us to "Do nothing out of selfish ambition, or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."
*Therefore effectively known by the former two groups as "those poor back-slidden Christians."
**If you are in the second or third group and have not carefully considered your position on Halloween, now is a great time to do that.
***Typically observed on January 24th. No really. Google it.