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In Theory: Should Christians buy into Halloween?

October 28, 2011

Q. Halloween is upon us again, and with the annual traditions of trick-or-treating and pumpkin-carving in the air, many Christians are looking to alternate ways of celebrating the holiday.

Because of its pagan origins and emphasis on death, celebrating Halloween is out of the question for many, but many are finding some use for it. JesusWeen, a creation of Pastor Paul Ade, aims to knock on doors come Oct. 31 and instead of shouting “trick-or-treat,” hand out Bibles to the occupants. “JesusWeen is a God-given vision which was born as an answer to the cry of many every October 31st. The dictionary meaning of Ween is to expect.... We therefore see October 31st as a day to expect a gift of salvation and re-think receiving Jesus,” says the group’s website.

Other Christians say they have a hard time explaining to their children why there are suddenly skulls and vampires on display, and that the kids are disappointed when they’re not allowed to join in the fun. Others use it as a chance to celebrate the harvest, or hold a fundraiser for the church or church group, or just stay at home and make pumpkin pie.

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But ignoring the holiday is difficult when almost every item in stores is orange and black and racks of costumes take up all spare space in Targets and Walmarts and other stores. Halloween is massively profitable for retailers, with forecasts for this year putting the amount spent on candy, gifts and costumes at $6.8 billion – about $72 per person, a rise on last year’s figure. Some argue that Halloween has been so stripped of its pagan origins that it’s become just another excuse to sell cheap toys.

Can Christians come to an agreement with celebrating Halloween? And has the holiday lost its pagan roots?

Oh, for God’s sake. Let the kids dress up and have candy. They will not become Satan worshipers, cast death spells, or begin to sing the praises of necrophilia. They’ll pretty much just dress up and have candy, and come home sweaty, happy and tired — costumes a little worse for wear but souls still intact and fit for heaven.

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