Trick or Treat...Right or Wrong?

Lisa Goodyear's picture

In a just few days children all over the U.S. will dress up in costumes and go from house to house to receive a treat from participating neighbors.  After the sun goes down on October 31st, sidewalks everywhere will be full of children dressed up in all sorts of costumes…walking around the neighborhoods and knocking on doors in an effort to receive as many treats as they can carry.

Halloween is celebrated on October 31 every year in the United States and is considered one of the most favorite and popular holidays for children and their parents.  As the shadows grow long and the sun dips below the Western horizon, children and their parents…all dressed up in a wide array of costumes…will go from house to house and door to door asking for a treats, never fully knowing the significance of this holiday.

Why and when did this tradition start? 

According to the Wikipedia, The word Halloween was first recognized in the 16th century from the Scottish word All-Hallows-Even (evening) which refereed to the night before All Hallows Day or All Saints Day.  All-Hallows-Even later became Halloween when the‘s’ & ‘v’ were removed and the word was shortened.

The tradition began in the 19th century when Scottish and Irish immigrants brought their customs and beliefs to North America.  Dressing in costumes and going from door to door “trick or treating,” was incorporated from the tradition of “guising” in Scotland and Ireland.  Scottish and Irish children would dress in costumes to disguise themselves as they went from door to door requesting food or coins.  The first known reference to ritual begging on Halloween in North America occurred in 1911 in Kingston, Ontario.  Later, in 1920, the ritual continued to grow and was reported to have taken place in Chicago.  Since then, dressing up in costumes and going from door to door “trick or treating” has continued to this day. 

Many symbols are associated with Halloween and have become part of the North American culture and Halloween tradition.  One such tradition is pumpkin carving.  Pumpkins are carved with faces from comical to scary.  The pumpkins are placed on the front porch or door step with a lighted candle, so that the face will shine and glow.  Did you know that the tradition came from the carving of turnips or gourds back in Ireland as a source of “souling,” which commemorated the souls in purgatory?  They were also used to ward off evil spirits.  Later in North American a change was made from turnips to pumpkins, mainly because they were easier to carve and they were more readily available.  Thus, the carving of the face in a pumpkin, which is now called a Jack-O-Lantern, was adopted from this practice. 

Many other traditions, symbols, and practices are attributed to Halloween and are only observed on October 31st.  Some Christians believe Halloween as just another holiday with no threats towards Christianity or inappropriate practices that would misrepresent or hinder beliefs.  On the other hand, many Christians are concerned that Halloween promotes pagan and evil practices and do not participate in or celebrate in this day.  Those Christians believe it has connection with paganism, the occult, or other practices that reject the Christian faith.  Thus, many churches offer alternative children’s programs on the day of Halloween, which includes games, food, arts and crafts, along with a Biblical lesson.  This special event is offered by churches as a way to teach and minister to children and their families the Christian faith and connect them with our only source of hope, Jesus Christ. 

Do you participate in this celebration?  Is it right or wrong?   The Scripture says, Jesus is our source of hope and has overcome death.  (Romans 6:9)  He is our source of power and the light of this world. (John 8:12)  With Him there is no darkness.  (John 12:46)  He is the only one that can deliver us from evil.  (Galatians 1:4, Psalm 97:10, Colossians 1:13)

Teaching our children the truth about Jesus Christ, the son of the Living God, is necessary and vital if we want them to develop a Christian worldview and stand firm in their Christian faith from generation to generation.  When allowing children to participate in activities, ask this question, is this an activity that promotes Jesus Christ and will it contribute to the Christian worldview you wish to implement into the training of your child.  How can this activity benefit your child and promote and teach them the Christian faith?

The decision is yours...Trick or Treat, is it right or wrong?


I am a non denomination Christian girl, and I have always gone trick or treating. I am 16 now so I don't dress up anymore I just hang out with my friends and pass at out candy at someone's house. 

In my family, my parents believe that as long as we are not questioning our Christianity by what we do, then Halloween and anything else is fine. The way we spend halloween is by having the little ones dress up and we take them around the neighborhood and all the families hang out and walk around together and the kids have a blast. It was never a topic that was questioned because I do not believe it questions our love for God.

Lisa Goodyear's picture

Thank you Bella for your comment. I believe you have shared some good insight to your view on Halloween. I strongly believe that if parents direct their kids to the truth of God and teach them to follow His Word, then most often they will make Godly choices and the best possible decisions.

You wrote: "Do you participate in this celebration?  Is it right or wrong?   The Scripture says, Jesus is our source of hope and has overcome death.  (Romans 6:9)  He is our source of power and the light of this world. (John 8:12)  With Him there is no darkness.  (John 12:46)  He is the only one that can deliver us from evil.  (Galatians 1:4, Psalm 97:10, Colossians 1:13)"

Halloween is the number one satanic high day of the year. Jesus has overcome death, so why wuold Christians choose to celebrate death -- which is what Halloween is really all about. Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Christians' source of power so why would they celebrate Halloween, which exalts the witches' and satanists' source of power -- who is Satan?

Yes, Jesus is the light of the world, so why would Christians exalt darkness which is exactly what Halloween promotes. Jesus Christ is the only one who can deliver us from evil, but how can we expect him to deliver us from evil that we choose to revel in? If a Christian gives place to the devil he will  take it.

Lisa Goodyear's picture

Thanks for your comments Lisa. Often the lack of understanding and biblical knowledge will contribute to one's own convictions or the lack there of. As a result, many will choose to embrace things that are not of the Christian faith.

I grew up trick or treating- my family as a child did not go to church - but there were never any talks of it being "evil" I became a christain over 15 years ago andam rasing my daughter as a christain - we attend a penecostal church - Our church held an event called the un-halloween party, the children could dress up in appropiate costumes, asked not to dress in anything scary, or violent etc..and candy would be passed out in different themed rooms, then in the sanctuary there would be an event- once by a christain puppeteer - and a raffle- inside the goodies bags there was information about our church and what we beleived, it was used as a form of out reach - as long as you are not worshipping anything or anyone except God, I do not see a problem with it- I was recently attacked verbally about a mickey mouse halloween decoration and a pumpkin my daughter carved - I was accused of being a witch and practicing witchcraft and honoring statan by letting my daughter trick or treat - by a "christain neighbor" Who just that day turned away a man who was hungry telling him go to the food pantry I do not have time for you- I told him he was a hypocrite - What would jesus do - My daughter, age 5,  has a large collection fo little rings and trinkets that say god loves you on them, her idea, as she goes to each house and is given candy to give them a gfit, one of her trinkets, she said, wouldnt it be cool mom to let people giving me candyknow that god loves them too - as long as one is not worshipping anyone but God, I see no harm in it and my own 5 yr old, has found a way to reach out by giving a gift back saying god loves you... I think people get to uptight about things and wonder if these same people who are so against trick/treating- put up Christmas trees?  If one looks into the hsitory of it - the custom of decorated trees originated among Pagans. They also opposed trees because of a literal interpretation of the quotation from Jeremiah. If people areally want to get legalistic about it- why then put up a tree? when celebrating the birth of Christ? Many Pagan cultures used to cut boughs of evergreen trees in December, move them into the home or temple, and decorate them. This was to recognize the winer soltice... the first decorating of an evergreen tree began with the heathen Greeks and their worship of their god Adonia, who allegedly was brought back to life by the serpent Aessulapius after having been slain.....The ancient Pagan Romans decorated their "trees with bits of metal and replicas of their god, Bacchus [a fertility god]. They also placed 12 candles on the tree in honor of their sun god" 2 Their mid-winter festival of Saturnalia started on DEC-17 and often lasted until a few days after the Solstice.    so being realistic... I Love and celebrate and praise God, my father everyday... I let my child trick or treat and I put up a christmas tree, I mourn at Thanksgiving for the Native american people, look a bit into that..christain folks - but I give thanks as we use it as a day for family and being thankful while mourning what happened to the Native American people at the hands of Christains... look up a native americans view of thanks giving...   - I see a lot of Hypocrisy in people when it comes to Holidays... 
Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:1-5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

This teaching from Jesus comes from Matthew and the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus began by teaching his followers about being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. By living a life that follows the teachings of Jesus, your light will shine before men and that will bring praise and glory to the Father in heaven.   My daughter will shine her light by letting people know god loves them when she goes out to trick or treat this season.

Melissa Miller's picture

is a great way to meet the neighbors and open the door to future evangelistic opportunities.

I would say for the most part, we are not dealing with a 16th century (or 18th century) evangelistic culture which will literally have cause to stumble if they see a carved Jack-o-lantern on the front porch. (And if one knows one has people in a sub-culture which *would* stumble and become closed to hearing the gospel upon seeing a jack-o-lantern or other Halloween decoration, one must seek the will of the Lord in prayer to determine how best to reach those neighbors with the gospel)

How unfortunate that on a day which so many believers have declared to be a day to celebrate Satan, so many believers remove themselves (and thus, any influence they may have for the Lord) out of their neighborhoods where and when it is needed most!

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