Oct 312013 0 Responses

Halloween, Cher, and Taking Candy from Strangers

Few things make the church more uncomfortable than Halloween.

Ignore it and the church looks out of touch.

Embrace it and some KJV only, life-time church member will begin to spread the rumor that you are a liberal who doesn’t take the Bible seriously and might be secretly stealing your sermons from Rick Warren.

Every year someone tells me we should boycott Halloween. “What are you teaching the kids,” they ask. What does Halloween teach the kids?

Which do you think could do more lasting damage:

Allowing my child to dress up like a Ninja and get candy from my next door neighbor


telling him that while the rest of his friends get enough candy to last until January, he can’t have any because Jesus loves him?


Don’t Call It Halloween

Most churches do not boycott Halloween. With varying degrees of success, they attempt to take the pagan holiday and Christianize it.

Some have trunk-or-treat. It’s a good effort, but it’s very difficult to explain to my 5-year-old why it is okay to accept candy from the trunk of a stranger’s car on Halloween, but not any other day of the year.

Others have Halloween events, but they change the name. (See: Try Not to Curse During the Baby Dedication)

I was once at a church in which the staff had a lengthy discussion about the use of the phrase “trick-or-treat.”

“We can’t use the word trick,” someone said. “It might teach the kids to do bad things.”

For 15 minutes a debate was had about what to call the church’s Halloween party. Halloween was out. Fall Festival was recommended. Finally it was decided to call it a carnival.

No one got the irony. Terrified to use the words “trick” or “Halloween” they proudly broadcasted a name whose root word is carnal. Don’t trick, don’t enjoy Halloween, but do come to the church parking lot to get “your carnal on.” Of course, the same people who change Halloween to Carnival are often the same ones who protest the use of X-mas for Christmas, not realizing the X is a symbol of Christ and the Cross. This is the church at its funniest–well intended, but funny.


Heaven, Hell, and Deacon Jones

Some churches have fully embraced the Halloween tradition and turned it into an evangelistic tool. They put on dramas depicting death, carnage, and what might happen if your soul is damned to hell. They try to scare the hell out of you—literally. Their hope is to terrify you so much that you come to Jesus and never consider leaving him.

While I applaud their attempt, I’m not sure a dramatized bloody car crash scene is exactly the best atmosphere for convincing someone to love Jesus with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. Had Jesus chosen to, I’m sure he could have told some scary stories about the nature of hell, but instead of scaring people out of hell, Jesus loved people into heaven. (See: Funny Friday–On Seminary Part 1)

Of course, if you want to scare the metaphorical hell out of a pastor, don’t stage a presentation on hell, just dress up in the scariest costume ever imagined by a preacher.

Get a pair of khaki dress pants two sizes too small, match it with a short sleeved button-down dress shirt, wear a tie which is so small it ramps up your over-sized tummy like an Olympic ski jump—yep, dress like your average deacon and the pastor won’t be able to sleep for days.


No Jenny, I’m Not Dressing Up

I’ve never liked Halloween. It’s not some super-spirituality regarding a pagan holiday; it’s the fact that I don’t like to dress up.

Ever since I met Jenny she has begged me to dress up for Halloween. Every year it’s the same desire—she wants us to go to a party as Sonny and Cher.

Each year I refuse because I neither want to wear a dress nor sleep with a Sonny Bono look-a-like after the party is over. (See: The Preacher’s Wife)

Of course no matter the year and the latest costumes, some traditions never change. This year, like every year for the past 30, the top two costumes will be Batman and Disney Princess proving that not much has changed since I was a kid. Those two costumes are the most popular today and they were the most popular then—I still have the tiara to prove it.

Happy Halloween.   


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