What impact will you have on your children or neighbourhood this Halloween?

When my colleague, Amy, moved into her new home, she asked the boys playing football in the road what her new neighbours were like. They pointed at every house in the road and gave her a unique description for each resident. She was amazed by how carefully precise they were for each one. She asked, How have you worked them all out?” They answered, Halloween.” Once a year, these boys knock on every door in the road. On that evening, each year, they have their descriptions of each neighbour confirmed. Them ones are dead grumpy, they pretend they’re out on Halloween when we know they are in, but they knock on our door with the Christian Aid envelopes.”

Now, I know that we live for an audience of One. We are not defined by the opinion of the kids in our road. Our convictions are not a popularity contest. But while we may be busy untangling exactly what our community is celebrating at Halloween, let’s take the opportunity to help children see what is absolutely true.

1. Jesus Christ is on His throne


As Christians, we have reasons not to celebrate Halloween, but we’re not scared of it. Whenever Jesus met the devil or evil spirits, He won. On the cross, He broke Satan’s power over His people. He has filled us with His Holy Spirit so that believers can no longer be possessed by demons. Those in Christ are safe. He is not scared. He is the boss.

We can share this confidence with our children by taking them to Bible stories such as Jesus being tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1 – 11) or healing a demon-possessed man (Mark 5:1 – 20). Sometimes, these stories are avoided in children’s Bibles, so you may need to read from an adult Bible and simplify the language. We want them to know that they have nothing to fear but God. As ever in parenting, the moments of deepest emotion or confusion are the moments of greatest opportunity to show the difference the gospel makes.

Because we have nothing to fear, our children can dress in bright, joyful clothes instead of the usual scary outfits. We won’t want them to dress up as ghosts, witches and zombies, because we don’t want to celebrate what is confused, evil or dark. Rather, we can decorate our houses with lights and cover our windows with messages of joyful hope.

2. We can always be gentle

Very few of the people who we know think of Halloween as anything more than a bit of harmless fun. It’s the one time of the year when our neighbours come to our door wanting something. They might see us go to church, but Halloween could be our only interaction with them – or it might even be our first interaction with them. So, let’s find ways to make it a positive one, rather than starting with Thou shalt not…”

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My friend, Matthew, leads a church on an estate in Norfolk. He explains, We want to engage with the trick-or-treaters who pass by. Last year we had 250 come through our church building doing a twilight maze, taking them into the light zone, where they found activities, snacks, drinks, a Christian Halloween tract and our youth group offering them an invitation to join them.”

3. We can choose to be generous

I remember dropping in on some friends during Halloween. They were busy with their six-year-old daughter filling paper bags with sweets, electronic tea lights and a Christian tract. The mum told me what a relief it was to be approaching Halloween with generosity instead of nervousness. She had listened to our interview with Nay Dawson and been inspired by her enthusiasm to be a leader in her community, being more creative and more generous at Halloween. Nay is convinced that Halloween is an opportunity to create curiosity in her neighbours about her faith in Jesus Christ.

Too often, our children pick up from us that Christianity is limiting their joy. That is sad. We believe that being a Christian offers a better story and a greater adventure. There are many aspects of Halloween that we are against, but there are also great opportunities for kindness, generosity and bravery. For myself, as my children have got older, I have said they are free to knock on doors in our road but they can only give sweets to our neighbours, rather than receive from them. I pray with them that they would be brave if neighbours ask why they’re doing it differently (rather than just saying that their Dad is grumpy!) and I also promise my children that I will give them more sweets than they can possibly eat if they truly think they are missing out.

When children knock on our door, we are friendly and engage with them. We thank them for coming. We give them a bag of sweets with a Christian tract tucked inside. We often find those leaflets dropped with the sweet wrappers along the road. One got stuffed back through a letterbox the day afterwards with a narky Post-it note scribbled on it. It’s not often my children get to see hostility for being a Christian. Halloween is an opportunity.

Ephesians 5:8 says, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Halloween will come and go, but our prayer remains that our children never grow out of being children of light. Let’s take every opportunity to step out of the gloom.

"As ever in parenting, the moments of deepest emotion or confusion are the moments of greatest opportunity to show the difference the gospel makes."

Related pages:

Eight ways to shine bright this Halloween

Eight ways to shine bright this Halloween

How can we as Christians navigate Halloween and point family and friends of all ages to the light of Jesus?
Helen Locke Helen Locke


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