How to Talk to Your Kids about Halloween

Halloween is around the corner! Soon there will be goons and goblins, monsters and zombies, trailing along your sidewalks, knocking on your doors. The candy bowls may or may not be ready. Your light porch may be on, or you may be hiding behind closed curtains.

This is the time of year that many Christians ignore and avoid. Many connotations go hand in hand with Halloween that are simply not aligned with a biblical foundation that honors the Lord. In fact, elements of it are arguably counter to things of God and can be classified as demonic, if not outright Occultism.

The difficult part for some may be how to approach this holiday with their children. It's a prevalent holiday, and it may be difficult to ignore for some children. Schools are often saturated with the holiday's celebration, there are invites to costume parties, our streaming television services are riddled with a menu of Halloween movies, and one stroll through a store is an inundation of costumes, candy, and decorations.

So how do we talk to our kids about Halloween? Especially when, even within the church, the opinions on it are varied.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when approaching a Halloween conversation with your kiddos:

1. They will be exposed to it, whether you want them to be or not. 

The fact is, you simply cannot ignore the existence of Halloween unless you literally go from home to church and back again. (And even some churches may have elements of Halloween included). Why is it important to keep this in mind? Because your children are going to have questions. Especially if you've chosen not to celebrate Halloween, you will need to be prepared to answer questions. Why aren't we going trick or treating? Why can't we take part in Halloween?

2. It's important to have healthy, open conversations with your children. 

Kids actually process controversy quite well if given a chance. And as a parent, this is an opportunity to have teachable moments. It's an opportunity to help your children learn how to decipher right and wrong or even how to muddle through gray areas.

Knowing we need to have these types of conversations with our kids and that they're practically unavoidable, what are some things we should be prepared to answer and consider with our kids?

3. Determine what your stance is and why.

It may be easy to determine what your opinion about Halloween is. But whether you're excited about it, horrified by it, or impartial to it, knowing why is important. It's important because your children need to understand why and how you came to the belief that you did. If you're pro-Halloween, be prepared to help your children understand that some of their friends and family may not be. Help them know why this is, and be prepared to answer for why you're not convicted the same. If you're anti-Halloween, it will be very critical for your kids to understand the perceived dangers and what you believe God has said about the various aspects of Halloween. Also, you will want to educate your children on the fact they will see Halloween all around them, and perhaps friends and family will be celebrating it.

4. Help them differentiate the good from the bad.

Let's assume you fall more into the gray area of Halloween. This is a popular area for Christians to fall because it embraces the fun and excitement of the holiday without taking hold of the darker elements that tend to go along with it, such as violence, Satanic, supernatural, and terrifying. Help your child know where the lines of tolerance are. How to differentiate fun and harmless from wicked and dangerous. Teaching them that dressing up as an animal, a ninja, or their favorite cartoon character can be fun and amoral. But it's also good to sit down with them and explain your viewpoints on witches, goblins, vampires, and other violent sorts of costumes.

5. Teach your children safety.

This is a very obvious reason why some parents prefer not to celebrate Halloween and trick or treating. Unfortunately, even if you remove all religious objections, the fact is that some people have the intention to harm and exploit children during this holiday. It is critical that even if you don't recognize Halloween, you do recognize the increased dangers to children during this time. Reiterate with your kids the caution that should be given to any stranger approaching them. Express the importance of trick or treating only at homes with people they know—or waiting to eat their candy until you can review it. This is not the time to let our guards down and assume the community is unified in fun and friendship. It's sad that isn't the case, but danger lurks, and during Halloween, it can be more prevalent and threatening.

6. Help your children honor the Lord.

Regardless of your position on Halloween, in all things, we should strive to honor and glorify the Lord. So approaching Halloween is the same regardless of which side you fall on. If you love Halloween and have fun with it each year, keep teaching your children that all choices, representations, and attitudes should honor the Lord and fall in line with your convictions. If you're anti-Halloween, there is the obvious, but then there are also the elements of honoring and glorifying the Lord in how we respond to others' opinions with whom we may vehemently disagree.

It may strike you as ironic that Christians would have a holiday we can be in such disagreement about. The fact is, so much of it is how we interpret the Scriptures, how we were raised, and what our tolerance level is for fantasy versus our tolerance level for the heritage of many of these holidays and practices.

But remember that our children are watching and learning from us, which is why it is so critical that we help our children learn how to navigate these issues using critical thinking. This doesn't mean instinctively being negative. No. It means teaching them how to weigh the various arguments, what to weigh them against, and how to reach a conclusion that is satisfactory for you all. By doing this, you not only teach your children how to process what may be otherwise confusing, but you also teach them how to approach it once a position is achieved.

From the opinion that it is perfectly harmless to the belief that Halloween is terribly dangerous, we have little ones watching how we approach it. They will be forming their own convictions and beliefs from ours. Be aware, be safe, and most of all, keep those little ones looking to Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Talk to your children, educate your children, and never underestimate what they can comprehend and process. If anything, the issue and conversation alone will bring you closer!

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Wholly Owned IS United Kingdom

Jaime Jo Wright is the winner of the Carol, Daphne du Maurier, and INSPY Awards. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of three novellas. The Christy Award-Winning author of “The House on Foster Hill”, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing suspenseful mysteries stained with history's secrets. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at!


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