25 Sep, 2023 How spooky is TOO spooky?: Evaluating Halloween as a Christ follower
By Summer Lane
Walking through Home Depot with my four-year-old daughter in tow, she glanced up with wide eyes at a vast display of Halloween decorations. A 12-foot hooded skeleton with a scythe waved its weapon around, eyes ablaze with red LED lights and creepy sound effects. A second display spotlighted a collection of grotesque gargoyle creatures and skeletons, while a bright green Oogie Boogie balloon dangled from the highest shelf behind a stack of angry-looking ceramic jack-o-lanterns.
My daughter was mesmerized by everything in the Halloween section and stubbornly planted herself at the end of every aisle we visited in the store just so she could stand and stare at the red-eyed skeleton grim reaper.
As we left the store, she grabbed my hands and declared, “Mommy, I’m SCARED!”
“Of what?” I asked.
“Of that scary dragon!” she said, referring to the skeleton.
It was a fleeting moment, but it struck a chord with me. As an adult, I’m pretty desensitized to going out and about during Halloween and seeing the spooky decorations. I love Autumn, and I don’t have anything against decorating pumpkins or carving jack-o-lanterns. But to my daughter, the “spookiness” of Halloween is something that she has only just begun to pick up on.
Now that she’s older, she’s noticing the skeletons hanging in the department stores and she oftentimes references “ghosts” as if they are some kind of inside joke. To a small child, where is the line between fantasy and reality? As Christians, what is our responsibility to protect them from things that can be satanic or demonic?
I think there are a few commonsense approaches that we can take. Last year, I unpacked whether Christians should even celebrate Halloween (you can check out that article here). So, this year, I’d like to discuss practical ways to protect the developing and innocent minds of our kids without going too far and overprotecting them from healthy exposure to culture and society!
Fantasy and reality blurs for little kids
It’s a relatively common consensus that kids six and under confuse fantasy and reality. That means that little girls who are watching “The Little Mermaid” will take that story as literally as they will take a Bible story about David and Goliath. With children, this can be a sticky stage to navigate. Of course, we want our kids to allow their imagination to run free. Fictional stories are an extension of the creative talents that God gave Man. Storytelling is a wonderful gift.
However, we must remember that because kids can’t truly discern between fantasy and reality at young ages, it’s up to us to make sure that they don’t end up sucked into a fantasy that could truly damage their worldview and introduce them to darker things. Horror is one of those things that I believe kids should be kept far and away from when they’re young.
Unfortunately, so much of Halloween today revolves around bloody slasher flicks, haunted houses, and images of ghostly graveyards. For a child, these types of movies or ideas can be extremely traumatic – to them, it is real.
1 Corinthians 10:21 issues this sobering warning to Christians: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”
We are commanded to stay away from ghosts, divination, soothsaying, and fortune-telling (Isaiah 8:19, Lev. 19:31, etc.). It kind of goes without saying that if WE should stay away from it, we should certainly keep our CHILDREN away from it, too!
Christians cannot be demon possessed, but they can be oppressed
Don’t underestimate the power of the Devil and his demonic forces. If you crack the door open to his influence, he’ll waltz right in and take a seat. For a small child, allowing them to ruminate in scary and spooky Halloween content may seem harmless at first, but make no mistake: these ideas are planting seeds of acceptance when it comes to darkness.
An example: as a child, I accidentally stumbled across things on television a few times that were wildly inappropriate for a kid to watch. I’d caught glimpses of these traumatic movies (R-rate scenes that still haunt me to this day!), and I had nightmares about some of them for years.
Scary images and ideas can stick with a kid for a lifetime and cement itself as a core memory. While I’ve known some people who happily toted their toddlers to slasher flicks during Halloween season, guess what? Those kids grew up to have nightmares and odd phobias. Someone I grew up with was so terrified of toy dolls that she had to remove them from her room before she could sleep or cover them a blanket – you can thank the influence of horror movies for that.
This phobia was strong at the age of 20 as it was when she was 12.
God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). If we introduce our kids to terrifying occult ideas, ghostly stories, and terrifying images of death and haunting, we shouldn’t be surprised when they grow up to be wholly confused about the validity and authenticity of the Gospel message itself (because they’ve been blurring the lines on fantasy and reality since they were young) and instead latch onto worldly ideas.
While Christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit cannot be possessed by a demon, they can certainly invite them into their homes by spending too much time focusing on darker things. There is a lot of evil in the world – focus your mind on something better, as we’re commanded in Scripture!
It is up to us, as parents, to help guide and direct the paths of our children, so while we shouldn’t totally shelter our kids from everything in the world (there is an age-appropriate time to introduce certain topics, to be sure!), we should also practice commonsense worldview-building. Focus on what is true, what is pure, what is right, and what is godly rather than what is dark, scary, and ultimately destructive.
Is it OK for Christians celebrate Halloween?
— The Bible Bashed Podcast (@BibleBashed) September 18, 2023
Does that mean you can’t have fun on Halloween and dress up in a cute costume? Certainly not! Again, read my original article on this here. My point today is that you should use good judgement and discernment and always focus on Christ, ensuring to pivot away from the darkness and toward the light in all circumstances.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team. This specific article was written by Summer Lane, and may not be reproduced, except to quote for reviews or interviews, without the express permission of the author.
Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 30 books, including the hit Collapse Series and Resurrection Series. She is an experienced journalist and columnist who reports on news within the U.S. and abroad. She is the Associate Editor for Right Side Broadcasting Network. Additionally, she analyzes politics and policies on The Write Revolution.
Summer is also a mom and wife who enjoys rural country living, herding cats, and gardening. She is passionate about writing about women’s issues, parenting, and politics from a theologically-grounded perspective that points readers to the good news of the gospel.
Download Our New Counter Culture Mom App to get our trending news and pop culture alert notifications. Connect with other parents in the Parent Chat section to gain helpful ideas on how to counteract the Pop Culture Cult!
Be sure to contact us if there is an issue you would like to have us write about! Our mission is to help parents deal with today’s lifestyle trends and how to biblically navigate them.