Religious Communities Embracing Halloween?

Many years ago, when my children were just starting to trick-or-treat, there was one house in our neighborhood we always avoided, not because the people there were scary or dangerous; but because they were religious. They constructed a pearly-gates scene in their front yard, complete with angels and a white-robed Jesus. And instead of candy, they handed out religious tracts. As a pastor, I was embarrassed. As a connoisseur of Halloween candy, I was offended. 

But those holy Halloween neighbors of mine were not alone. Halloween themes of witchcraft and ghouls made Christians nervous in those days, and there was a trend of boycotting or restyling Halloween to something less sinister. Churches started to host alternative events on Halloween night, calling them Fall Festivals or Neewollah (Halloween spelled backward, because we wanted to countermand the dark themes of the night.) Prestonwood Baptist Church started something called Light the Night last year by which to encourage church members to host parties in their front yards. The church expects to give out 300 party kits this year with instructions, yard games, and gospel tracts. 

But for the most part, attitudes seem to have changed since my daughter, now in high school, first donned a plastic mask. The little goblins roaming my neighborhood Wednesday night will be from all manner of religious traditions, including Christian. And churches, temples and mosques may be losing their disdain for Halloween.