Should we celebrate Halloween?
Opinions of Halloween can range drastically within the Christian community. There are people who view Halloween as simply a creative, fun holiday for kids to dress up and get free candy from their neighbors. Some are wearier of its darker themes and have responded with fear, alarm, and extreme opposition to letting their children be involved with this holiday. Some churches have a “harvest” or “fall” festival where kids can dress up, play games, and win candy, while other churches use October 31st as an opportunity to celebrate Reformation Day.
Your stance on Halloween is between you and God. If Halloween violates your conscience or feels sinful, the last thing we want is for you to compromise your faith for the sake of “fun” or partaking in a cultural norm. But if it is your jam, we also want you to celebrate in the safest way possible with your family and friends. What’s important is why you’re doing what you’re doing and whether you are honoring God with your decision. No matter what you decide, explaining to your kids the reasons why you made that decision will help them understand and possibly be more willing to accept your decision.
“In the end, whether or not an individual or family should celebrate Halloween in any fashion should be carefully considered in relation to their own situation and heart.”—Sarah Hamaker, “A Tricky Holiday: Should Christians Ignore or Embrace & Celebrate Halloween?”
If you are not comfortable with engaging in Halloween activities, we’ve got some fun ways to celebrate the fall season without all of the spookies. Or if you do choose to take part in Halloween this year, but you’re not sure how to go about it safely following COVID restrictions, we’ve also included a list of lighthearted activities for your family to enjoy!
Gen Z and Halloween
Wherever you land on Halloween, the holiday remains a popular Gen Z fav:
“Gen Zers stand apart in their eagerness to stick to Halloween traditions. Half of the up-and-coming generation got dressed up for Halloween last year, and 46 percent said there’s nothing stopping them from doing so again this year.” –MorningConsult.com
Gen Z is more likely to celebrate Halloween than adults. In fact, nearly half of Gen Zers expressed their wish to dress up this year whether it’s for a party or trick-or-treating. Halloween is not only a social event but a time to get creative and seek thrills that you don’t experience on a normal day.
Whether it’s the pandemic or your own personal beliefs against Halloween, trick-or-treating may not be your cup of tea. And that’s okay! There are many ways we can redesign Halloween this year without taking away our teens’ chance to have fun during the fall season.
- Get crafty. Craftiness during the fall season doesn’t have to be confined to pumpkin carving. Channel your inner DIY expertise and make wreaths, decorative signs, and more! Or, gather your painting gear, and paint Fall scenes, meaningful quotes or verses, and anything that feels festive to you! If you’ve got a teen in their first dorm, or a teen looking to revamp their room at home, make some festive decorations to warm up their humble abode!
- Have a baking party. Embrace the pumpkin and apple flavors of the season through baking! You can make pumpkin spiced goods, apple cider pie, and much more with your teen.
- Host a family bonfire. Nothing says fall quite like a nice bonfire and s’mores. Spend an evening warming up next to the fire while sharing stories from your week with some hot cocoa, apple cider, or some other fall-inspired drink.
- Go on a family hike. With trees changing colors, there’s no better time to get out and enjoy nature. Take in the refreshing cool weather by going on a walk or hike with your family, and maybe invite your teen’s friends to tag along. Chat about life, ask each other funny questions, or simply enjoy their company while out in nature.
Halloween doesn’t have to look the same every year. Sure we have the traditions that we stick to, but half the fun is trying something new! Even if the idea totally flops, it can be a funny story for the family to look back on. Hopefully, these ideas will motivate you to tread new waters or do something you haven't done in a while.
- Have a spooky-themed picnic. There are tons of fun recipes to make with your teen this season. Take an afternoon to cook with them, gather some Halloween decorations, and head to the park for an afternoon of bonding and relaxation.
- Host a Zoom costume party. Want to show off your family’s awesome costume game with friends without risk? Consider hosting an online costume party or contest with your teen’s friends or family! You can add to the festivities by watching a movie or show through TeleParty. Whether you like scary movies or want a more lighthearted option, streaming services have lots of choices!
- Go to a haunted house/hayride. If you like the scary side of Halloween, haunted houses and hayrides can be a great way to boost your Halloween spirit. This option may depend on your state’s COVID guidelines, so keep an eye out for any restrictions or high-risk activities in your area.
- Have a pumpkin carving party. This messy tradition can be a great way to connect with friends and family. Carve your pumpkins on your dining room table, in your backyard, or in the park. Brainstorm carving ideas together and challenge each other to think outside the box! Once everyone’s masterpiece is finished, go around and explain the inspiration behind your creations.
Among most things, 2020 is redefining how our kids trick-or-treat. There’s even an official website that gives resources to families who wish to celebrate Halloween during this strange year. Here are tips to consider if your family is going trick-or-treating.
- The classic “pick one” label on the candy bucket. If you’d like to hand out candy this year but aren’t sure how to do it safely, try the ole’ candy-bucket-on-the-porch trick. Although this may feel like a disengaged way to pass out candy, it can be a great way to give kids candy without getting too close. If you’re someone who likes to engage with the kids in your neighborhood, try using a table as a boundary line. This way, kids can take the candy from a distance while also wishing you a happy Halloween face-to-face.
- Coordinate protective masks with your costume. Not all Halloween masks are “COVID” approved. But there are ways to incorporate safe, protective masks into your costume in a way that doesn’t ruin the effect. Click here to scroll through COVID masks that you can coordinate with your Halloween costume ideas.
- Keep CDC guidelines in mind. This includes washing our hands regularly, wearing masks with two or more layers of protection, and socially distancing. Click here to see their full list of suggestions when celebrating Halloween this year.
- Do you like Halloween? Why or why not?
- When you think of Halloween, what are some things that come to mind?
- Why do you think most people celebrate Halloween?
- Do you want to celebrate Halloween this year?
- Do you think it’s possible to celebrate Halloween in a way that honors God?
- Would you be interested in trying any of the ideas above as a family? Why or why not?
- Do your friends have anything planned for Halloween?
- Do you or your friends like scary movies? Why or why not? (Tip: If your teen gets invited to a spooky sleepover, make sure to ask what the viewing plans are. If they plan to watch a scary movie, be sure to discuss with your teen what you are and aren’t comfortable with them viewing.)
We hope that these ideas motivate you and your family to finish this month with new memories and bonding moments that last a lifetime. Let us know in the comments what you did this Halloween and how you connected with your teen!