How to Respond When Your Child Wants a Scary Halloween Costume

“Mommy, I want to be a vampire for Halloween!”

This came from the mouth of my sweet little 4-year-old girl - yes, 4! We gently reminded her that we don’t wear spooky Halloween costumes, and that was a satisfactory answer until this year. But not this year!

We needed an answer to this question and wanted to make sure we were doing this in a way that refrained from judging those who do participate in spooky Halloween traditions but also asking God how we can glorify and honor Him in this situation.

So how do you respond when your child asks about wearing a spooky Halloween costume or even Halloween traditions in general? Let’s find out!

1. Explain a little bit about the origin of Halloween.

Where does Halloween even come from? There are many different opinions on this and its origins, but I think it’s important to look at how it is celebrated in modern society. Mostly, you see spooky, scary, and even demonic things.

The focus is very dark, and as believers, we are called to be salt and light in this world. You can share this with your children and compare it to other holidays.

First, let’s look at Christmas, for example. Share with them that yes, even though people focus a lot on Santa, presents, and all around being “good” for Christmas, we know the true reason. Jesus Christ was born. With Easter, people focus on the Easter bunny, candy, and egg hunts - all fun things that aren’t bad, but remind your kids that we celebrate Easter because Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again.

Partaking in these things is not a “sin” in and of itself, but when we focus on them and not the true reason, that’s when we can lead our children to think that Christ isn’t the focus. In reality, He is the reason, or should be, for all that we do.

Back to Halloween. This isn’t a Christian holiday, so there really isn’t a reason to indulge in the spooky and scariness. But we can still point this back to Jesus by doing the following.

2. Always point them back to Jesus.

The best thing we can do as parents is to ensure our children understand that God is not a “part” of things and doesn’t play a minor role in our daily lives. He is the one who GIVES us life, and our lives should be conformed to His will and ways.

He shows us the way to live, and we need to make sure we are in prayer and in His Word daily. Show your children that this is what matters, and the things we have to answer and explain when worldly questions come their way make more sense.

A big thing to explain to your kids, especially at a younger age, is that every decision we make in life will have an eternal impact. It’s important to ensure we are watching, reading, and listening to things that will honor and glorify the Lord.

Scary costumes are something that doesn’t aid us in that. On the flip side, you can say that NON-scary costumes don’t either, but they are not a hindrance and don’t introduce disturbing things that spooky ones can. Plus, even having this conversation with your children makes sure Jesus is always the focus and teaches them how important these “smaller” decisions are.

You can share with your child that celebrating the Harvest season is a wonderful thing and thank God for all the wonderful blessings He has given us through the year. We like to reflect on Ecclesiastes 3:1 and talk about how there is a time and season for everything.

You can also suggest other fun, non-scary costume ideas for your kids and participate in other “fall” types of activities. This brings me to my next point.

3. Give safe alternatives for scary Halloween ideas.

There are tons of fun, fall-themed things you can do as a family in place of Halloween. Look up your local church trunk or treats, Fall festivals, and other community gatherings!

Not only can you participate in these festivals and trunk of treats, but include other fun, faith-based activities with your family.

Some of our favorites are:

  • The pumpkin prayer – a fun pumpkin carving activity that teaches your children how to pray in a hands-on, visual way
  • Printable fall coloring pages – lots have pumpkins or Bible verses and are free!
  • Reading Bible verses about Fall – I mentioned earlier that we love reading through Ecclesiastes 3!

Here are some more great Christian alternatives for Halloween if you need some fun ideas or crafts to do! Not only are these ideas super fun, but they will help point your children back to Jesus.

4. Offer other costume ideas.

A super practical thing you can do when your child asks to wear a spooky costume is to suggest other ideas. Maybe they have a favorite book or even a Bible story character they can dress up as.

You could also make a costume with them and let it be a fun, bonding activity to enjoy together. It’s still good to explain and point out the first three ideas listed, but sometimes just suggesting a non0scary costume works just as well too!

Something else that is important to remember and teach your children is that not everyone believes this way. As a family, you want to please and honor the Lord and do what you believe He is calling you to.

But not everyone is a believer in Christ, and it’s so important to refrain from judging others and making sure to show them the love of Jesus. Teach your children that their friends and those they come around may not understand why it’s a big deal to wear a spooky costume, but they can respond with grace. You can equip your children with an answer: we love celebrating the Fall season and dressing up as fun characters.

It’s a nice and simple answer that offers no judgment but does not give in to what the world says about Halloween and the dark things that are typically celebrated at this time. It’s also a great reminder for children that we are not of the world as Christians.

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19 NIV

They may sometimes be viewed as different, weird, and not “fit in.” But that is okay because we serve a great and Holy God, which is more important than storing up our treasure on Earth.

I pray that this will help you know how to respond when your child asks to wear a scary costume and that you let the Lord guide you and lead you in what decisions are best for your family.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Rawpixel

Mindy JonesMindy Jones is a Christ-follower, loving wife, and stay-at-home mom. She is a graduate of Campbellsville University with a Major in Business Administration and a love for writing. Her mission is to guide Christian moms in being more intentional in their faith, family, and homes with practical tips and authenticity! She hopes to inspire moms to be fervent in raising children who love the Lord, offering tons of activities and resources to do so on her website, Mindy Jones Blog.


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