This Baptist loves Halloween

I am a Baptist pastor and I love Halloween.  Many Baptists would find that statement to be heretical. Halloween is the Devil’s holiday- right?  Some believe that Halloween represents evil and darkness and good Christians either ignore this day or pass out Bible tracts and tooth brushes.  Some churches have ‘optional’ activities that evening so the kids can ‘escape’ the whole thing.  Our church has a Fall Festival every October that involves costumes and other activities but never on the actual night.  That night is free for folks to go out with their kids, to attend parties, and to pass out candy to friends and strangers.

I’m glad we do it that way.  Halloween is the one day a year where neighbors actually come out and speak to one another.  It’s a night when televisions are turned off and people sit on their porches and socialize and have fun.  It’s a great community time and I am glad that we get to do this each year.  I wish we had more days like Halloween.

And I like the costumes.  I like to see kids pretend to be everything from Captain America to aliens.  I’m glad to see kids get creative and come up with new ideas and express themselves.  I love the games and I love candy.  I love to watch my kids have fun and get excited going door to door.

Christians really need to have more fun.  We need to get out and enjoy one another and our neighborhoods.  We need to use our imaginations and be creative.

So this month we will attend several parties.  We will decorate our house.  We will buy candy and my sweet tooth will be very happy.  My kids will laugh.  I will laugh.  My wife and I may watch a few scary movies.  We will have some fun.  And the church needs to not fear any of this.

The real bad stuff is out there.  But for one night our kids can play, pretend, and actually be kids.

Trick or treat!

Derik Hamby

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Dr. Derik Hamby serves as pastor of Randolph Memorial Baptist in Madison Heights, Va. He enjoys history, religion, movies, music, and pop culture.

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  • Jonty

    Thanks so much for saying this. I get so tired of the ridiculous terror of any aesthetic other than Disney at its most kitsch being conflated with defending Christian values. It makes us look stupid and cultish. Thanks for saying what you will no doubt get a lot of hassle for.

  • Esther Wood

    It’s so refreshing to have my minister be open minded about a day of celebration that is only evil if we make it so. Children delight in the things you describe; encouraging children’s imagination, to be creative and to pretend play is one of the ways children will learn Bible stories. Thank you, Derik.

  • Graham Pockett

    In Australia the insidious increase in Halloween support, driven by retail advertising, makes me want to vomit. Whether or not Halloween is “Christian” or “Satanic” may be open to debate by some people (my belief is Satanic), but the reality is that Halloween teaches our children that crime pays. Who wants their children to learn that “trick or treat” means that unless you give them something nice (candy) they will do something nasty to you. In my world this is called “extortion”. It is sad enough that pastors support Halloween’s Satanic roots, but to openly support teaching our children extortion is patently wrong. Shame on you!

    • BaptistHalloweenFunFan

      I’m sorry to hear that it’s come to that in your area of Australia. In the United States, when our children say, “Trick or Treat,” it is merely a holiday expression that is verbalized at the front door of someone’s home, who is participating in Halloween. No one I know of teaches or encourages children to commit crimes, if candy is not given. And, in most neighborhoods, if the house wants to participate in Halloween, i.e. giving candy and treats, the occupants leave their outdoor lights on. If the house chooses not to participate, the lights are left off, and no one approaches the house. It is simply a fun holiday….no more, no less.

  • Patrick Gillan

    Thank you Derik for that. I am fed up with the Hysteria whipped up by usually Evangelical Christians over Halloween. It is good clean harmless fun and nothing else. It always astonishes me that the same people who scream against it are happy to endorse the genocide we read about in the Old Testament.

  • S.Kardas

    I am so suprised because of your thinking! I am not histeric baptist ,but it is for me totally clear that everything on this world have got roots ,origin., and Halloween have origin in gentile religion of druids from Britain ….so its oposite to God…and whatever do you say its true. When you treat that as a good fun -you dont change anything in meaning of that. Why not organise every month some festival for children and neighbours – to do that -you dont need Halloween as an excuse. God its serious subject ….so to believe in Lord ……fun is not necessary.