Do Halloween and Church mix?

Now if people say to you, “Consult the ghosts and the familiar spirits that chirp and mutter; should not a people consult their gods, the dead on behalf of the living, for teaching and for instruction?” surely, those who speak like this will have no dawn! -Isaiah 8:19&20

Dear members and friends,

About 17 years ago, I was having a serious discussion with the members of the Cleveland Swedenborgian Church council about the possibility of participating in Halloween events. Most other Christian churches in the city were somewhat opposed to Halloween due to a certain shared belief among many Christians that the celebration is anti-Christian or even associated with Satan worshipping. However, about three blocks away from the Cleveland church was a house specially decorated for Halloween and thus attracting thousands of visitors every year. Most of those visitors were families with children who seemed to have a great time with the haunted house. After observing this for a few years, I suggested that perhaps we could participate by decorating the church a little bit and giving out candy to children. What I had in mind were three things: 1. It seemed that many children asked “spirit” related questions near or on Halloween, meaning it was a perfect opportunity to tell them about spirits, heaven and even God; 2. Regardless of negative assumptions made by many conservative Christians, Halloween had already become a very festive and delightful holiday for American families, especially children; 3. As a tiny church that is unknown even to its own neighbors, it was a great opportunity to invite them to the church, and let them know that we are here. Once the Cleveland church decided to participate in Halloween, we had a few families visit at first and then in coming years, hundreds of children with their parents made our church part of their celebration. Though none of them came back to our Sunday worship, I am still very fond of the laughter and joy of children and their parents. We had a great time!

What I am absolutely sure of is that the Creator would not be offended by humans having a delightful time together by dressing up in costume, taking on a new persona, or even pretending to be different beings. True idol worship is never about what we have outside, but what we have inside. The only thing to be mindful of is that we need to respect each other, as well as each other’s beliefs.

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee