It’s that time of year again. From the post office to the grocery store we see skeletons and spider webs, ghosts and goblins, bats and broomsticks—all in anticipation of the celebration of Halloween! We know the drill. Children and adults alike choose their favorite costume and go door to door collecting gobs of candy. For one night they indulge in the creepy ambiance of haunted houses and ghost stories. Too many people, it seems like harmless fun. But what is really being celebrated here? Should we, as Christians, really be participating in this holiday?

Halloween is an ancient Celtic holiday. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st. They believed that the night before the new year (October 31) was a night when evil spirits would roam the Earth. As part of their celebration, and in hopes of protecting themselves, they would dress in animal costumes to confuse these spirits. This ancient celebration has morphed into what is celebrated today. Even though today’s Halloween doesn’t look much like it used to, it is still a blatant celebration of evil. Charles Spurgeon put it best when he said, “I cannot trifle with the evil which slew my best Friend. I must be holy for His sake. How can I live in sin when He has died to save me from it?”

From the time my children were tiny, I knew we were not going to be participating in this holiday. Inevitably, this made my kids the “odd ones out” in our neighborhood. Even after I’ve said no to something and explained why, I have found that it is very helpful to offer something different in its place. So, what could I offer in place of Halloween?

Martin Luther was aware of Halloween and how steeped in superstition the people of his day were. He intentionally chose October 31 as the day to nail his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg castle church door in 1517. He knew that more people than usual would frequent the church that day to pray for their dead loved ones. This is a wonderful event to celebrate! Critical Biblical light was shed into a dark world! So, I started a tradition with my family and friends—a Reformation party! My suggestion to you is that you do the same! It’s so much fun!

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Here's what we did. First, we had a warm meal. Next, we had stations set up that the kids visit. They got to try writing with a quill and ink. They also got to experience a printing press by going through all the steps that printing requires. We also had a matching game with Luther’s five solas1 to see if the kids could match them to their English definitions. I even printed out the 95 Theses, built a really cool Gothic-looking door, and let the kids each nail a copy onto the door! We watched a wonderful animated children’s movie, The Martin Luther Story. If you’re interested in the movie, it is produced by The Voice of the Martyrs ministry and is part of The Torchlighters series. This party takes a fair amount of preparation and planning, but it is worth it! Kids and adults learn so much and have a great time!

God is so good. His mercy endures forever! He is with us when we turn from the evil around us that seems so harmless and mainstream. He is so pleased when we keep our eyes on Heaven and teach our children to do the same! What a privilege to keep the flame of the Reformation alive in our hearts as we stand on the edge of time as we know it. May God bless you this holiday season as your celebrations bring glory to Him! “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

All scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

  1. The five solas: sola scriptura (by Scripture alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), sola fide (by faith alone), sola gratia (by grace alone), and soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone).

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