Top 10 Christian Halloween Ideas

Do you believe in Christian Halloween? Be ready. All week long you’ll be having the “Halloween or no Halloween?” conversation with all of your friends, be they Catholic, Protestant, or otherwise.

For Protestants without a tradition of All Saints Day, it sometimes becomes “Halloween vs. Reformation Day,” the latter being the celebration of the Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses on Oct 31 (click here for recorded thoughts on the evil Martin Luther). Even some Catholics are concerned that Halloween has become “evil.”

Well, here are ten ways to keep good ol’ Halloween fun and sacred.

Top 10 Christian Halloween Ideas

Christian Halloween 1950s

Halloween Party circa 1950

10. Don’t call it “Satan’s Holiday”!
There are many Christians who have written off Halloween as some sort of diabolical black mass. In reality, it’s the vigil of a Christian holy day: All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints Eve. Has it been corrupted by our culture and consumer market? You bet. However, Christmas has also been derailed by the culture. Does that mean that we’re going hand over Christmas? No way! Same goes for Halloween. The Church does not surrender what rightfully belongs to her – she wins it back!

9. Don’t feel that you have to opt for a Christian Halloween alternative.
Many churches (particularly Protestant ones) are now how hosting “Fall Festivals” on Oct 31.

That’s like saying, “commercialism has destroyed Christmas, so let’s instead celebrate a “Winter” Festival” on Dec 25. (By the way, I really do believe that Christ was born on Christmas – click here for the article).

It’s All Hallows Eve. Don’t change the name.

Unless you have serious hesitations about your neighborhood, why not join your neighbors? It could be a great opportunity to get to know them and spark up some relationships. I’ve gotten to know some neighborhood dads as we stand out on the curb and watch our kids go up and the ring the door bells of every house on the street.

8. Have fun, don’t force converts.
Look, nobody likes to get a religious tract in their candy sack. Don’t pass out religious literature in place of candy. Give out big handfuls of candy and the extra large candy bars, if you can. In the long run, you will make more converts with your charity. After all, you’ll be known as “the house that always gives out good candy.” If you have a Halloween after party, maybe that’s the place to give away Rosaries (October is the Month of the Rosary!).

christian halloween baby ruth

Girl in the black witch costume exclaims: “Wow, this Baltimore Catechism Catholic lady is awesome – jumbo Baby Ruth and Butterfingers!!! Maybe I should ditch my pagan witch costume and go as Saint Joan of Arc next year!”

7. Be salty.
Try some subtle evangelism. Don’t drop the Evangelical approach: “Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Would you like to be baptized tomorrow?” Instead, ask people if they know the origin of Halloween. Talk about “saints.” It’s a great “ease in” approach to having a spiritual conversation with your neighbors.

6. Be hospitable – Why not host the neighborhood party?
Christians are supposed to be hospitable, right? It’s in the Bible. Check out Romans 12:13. Why not host a Halloween after party at your house with hot chocolate and coffee for the adults? Open up your house or back yard for games. Remember bobbing for apples? Bean bag toss? Pin the tail on the Leviathan?

5. Don’t be turned off by the ghoulish-ness of Halloween.
Every great Catholic cathedral has gargoyles carved into its stone work. Illuminated manuscripts are also full of ghouls in the margins. Catholics are into this kind of stuff. Why? Because Christ has conquered death and the devil. After Christ, death has lost its sting.

Also, All Saints day is followed by All Souls day so it’s okay to be a little macabre. (By the way the word “macabre” comes from Maccabees – those two books in the Catholic Bible that Protestants threw out.) And if you live in an Hispanic area like I do, you’ve got the whole Dia de Muertos to play up.

4. Have a bonfire!
We Catholics used to specialize in bonfires. A Christian Halloween calls for a fire pit. If you have the land and it’s legal, stoke up a blaze. If you’re kids are older why not set out a bunch of glowing jack-o-lanterns and roast marshmallows over a blazing-hot fire? If someone can play the fiddle, all the better.

3. Carve some fine looking Jack-O-Lanterns.
This is a no-brainer. Download some fancy cutting patterns from the web. Spend time as a family carving out some pumpkins. Put some candles in them and let them burn outside your house for a week or so before Halloween. My kids always like to see who has jack-o-lanterns in front of their house. Do you want to make friends in the neighborhood? Have a carving party and give a prize to the best jack-o-lantern.

2. Visit the graves of your loved ones.
This applies more to All Souls Day (Nov 2) than it does to All Saints Day (Nov 1). Still the point is to remember our loved ones and to pray for those who have died marked with the sign of faith. Death is not the last word. Christ has overcome death by His own sorrowful passion and death through the resurrection. That is is the source of our hope and strength of all the saints.

The All Souls Indulgence runs from November 1-9.

(If you’re a Member of the New Saint Thomas Institute, we just put up a great video course on Indulgences with Dr Moorman and me. It’s getting great reviews. Click here to learn more about the New Saint Thomas Institute.)

1. Be holy.
If you persevere in the love and grace of God, you too shall be a capital “S” Saint. The whole point of “All Hallows” is to remind us to be “hallowed” or “sanctified”. Most of us won’t have our own particular feast day and so All Saints Day will be our feast day. It is the feast day for most of the Church’s saints, those who lived peaceably, followed Christ, loved their families, accomplished their duties in life and passed on to the next life. May their prayers be with us.

Have a happy Christian Halloween!

Question: Have other Christian Halloween ideas? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Sharon Kay

    Refreshingly sensible and useful advice. Thank you, Dr. Marshall!

    • Thank you!

      • Gayle

        Hi Mr. Marshall,
        I’m not sure that my last email went through so i will write it again. I appreciate your idea of bonfires and fiddle players since i have 2 fiddle players, 3 guitar players, 1 piano player, and 1 harmonica player. It’s nice to have the kids come together and play, however, lately, actually for a while now, they have been getting a little restless. Two of the guitar players would like to play songs with words but everything they present to me is praise and worship protestant stuff which sends shivers down my spine…or they’ll go to the worldly songs with seemingly O.K. words. I’m really at a loss because none of those options seem Catholic. I’m not really sure what to do and I can’t look to their two instructors for guidance because they are both protestant. There are no catholic music teachers in our are or the surrounding community…I looked.. Any advice? I’d rather them not use their talents then to use them in a way that is displeasing to God. By the way we also have no access to the Traditional Latin Mass and the music we have to deal with at church leaves much to be desired. One song in particular which the kids liked at first hearing turned out to be heretical and when we looked up the song writers on line they were protestant..We brought it up to the music ministry which did nothing about it. I sure would appreciate a bit of advice.

  • Michael Gray

    Well said, Dr. Marshall. Let’s not yield any more cultural ground and retake this holy day.

  • Jenny

    I’ve been reading different pieces on the pros and cons of Halloween and this one is by far the most sensible and clear cut. My 6 children are looking forward to trick or treating this year as always!

  • LeticiaVelasquez

    Thank you for reminding Catholics that All Hallow’s Eve is a holy vigil of a holy day the Feast of All Saints. I attended Mass while living in London in All Hallows Church, We have lost touch with that tradition a bit here in the US. We always have Mass followed by an outdoor saints festival with a bonfire at our local parish. The children love guessing one another’s saints and giving out Soul Cakes (we substitute candy) by knocking on the door, saying “a soul cake a soul cake, a prayer for a soul cake” the person behind the door requests something like Pray a Hail Mary for my father in Purgatory and after the prayer, the candy is given out.

  • Guest

    One point of interest. We should not pray for the dead. Once we are dead that’s it what’s done is done. Scripture says “It is appointed unto man once to die. After that, the judgement”.

    • tanyahe

      wrong, you must pray for the dead, If they are in Heaven, great, and praise be to God, but if they died imperfect, like most humans, they need to be helped along with our prayers of atonement for their sakes to reach Heaven without stain. No soul can arrive in Heaven with “stains” nothing imperfect can go before the Father. It’s good and holy to pray for the dead; I guess you haven’t read 2 Maccabees 12:38-46.

  • Great stuff, but I disagree with your point #5. The ghoulish-ness of Halloween is of a radically different nature than the “ghoulishness” of Catholicism. The former is flippant, gratuitous, morbid, morose-delectation-encouraging, and ultimately extremely spiritually dangerous. The latter is serious, moderated, and ultimately only a tool in leading one to Christ. The difference is no less extreme than the difference between 50 Shades of Grey and The Theology of the Body.

    • Exactly! Let’s infuse some proper macabre – and not the Satanic gore that we see displayed during Halloween. Your home can be decorated with spiders, bats, and skeletons – just don’t have a wax display of vampires killing victims on your lawn.

  • Dan

    Interesting take on Halloween. I was more or less anti-Halloween for a few years, but, like you, I have come to take the more moderate position. I was not that familiar with the connection to All-Hallow’s Eve, so that point was helpful. Regarding point #5, I think it is helpful to call to mind a certain amount of ghoulishness once a year, if only to remind ourselves that evil, death, and the demonic are real–and that we have the remedy in Christ. A side question: What is the relationship between Halloween and El Dia de los Muertos in Mexico? I remember watching videos about that festival holiday in Spanish class, but the significance has largely been lost on me.

  • Pogue Mahone

    Hallowe’en is Satan’s Day. It is still the holiest day of the YR for Satanists, witches,and other occultists and Christians have no business celebrating it or taking part in it at all as God commands us to not have anything to do with the occult. We cannot serve two masters! All Saint’s Day the day after is the holy day but the day before is evil.Everything God has Satan has an equal. Christmas is for God but Hallowe’en is for Satan. Hallowe’en is the antithesis of Christmas.

  • Deacon Dennis Arcand, OFS

    An option for costuming (other than skeletons etc, which can be indicative of Christ’s victory over death) I have always encouraged with my own children and those of the parish is to dress up as one of the Saints for Halloween. It is the Vigil of their Feast after all! This could be a costume mimicking that Saint’s actual style of dress or habit. But the costume could also be suggestive of the Saint, examples – a Superman costume or a pilot’s jumpsuit to represent St. Joseph of Cupertino, the patron saint of flyers. Medical scrubs or “Whites” and a stethoscope can represent St. Luke (patron of physicians) or St. Agatha (nurses) or St. Camillus de Lellis (nurses and field medics {a camouflage uniform with a white armband with a red cross could be used for St. Camillus as well as he is credited with starting the use of field ambulances after battles and the use of a red cross to designate those giving medical assistance in the field after a battle}). A police officer uniform for St. Michael the Archangel, or a fireman’s costume for St. Florian. A plain suit with a black armband could be reminiscent of a pallbearer (Joseph of Arimathea).

    The Saint could be the patron of a parent’s occupation or an occupation to which the child aspires. The childrens’ imaginations are the only limits here. One child I remember dressed up as his grandfather, using the man’s glasses, pipe, and cane. The man had died a year previously and the child truly believed he was in heaven and therefor a saint. I hope he was, and our faith tells us that if he had lived his life well he was either there already or in the purgative antechamber, but the remembrance reminded the family to pray for him. All Souls’ Day being the next. (Biblical references on the merits of praying for the dead- 2 Timothy 1:16-18 and 2 Maccabees 12:44-45)

    Deacon Dennis Arcand, OFS
    Warner Robins, GA

  • Jason

    I would invite everyone to make a clear decision to
    celebrate or not based on the historical and spiritual roots of this day. The spiritual roots determine the outcome of the spiritual fruit.

    On this day, the Celtic people prepared sweets and candies as an offering to appease the demons
    that would haunt them, dressed up as these goblins and demons and other
    characters, and the kicker, made human sacrifices to appease their god,
    Samhain, the lord of death (I wonder whom that could be?). The same occult practices
    of the ancient pagans are now being reproduced by baptized Christians. We don’t sacrifice humans, but Satanists do. Just ask any victim of SRA. And Christians are trick-or-treating while people are being sacrificed to the enemy of God. It is still the festival today as it was with the Druids. This is not
    the way to celebrate the vigil for the true Saints. We are not going to “take back this holiday
    for Jesus” because it was never for him, never Christian, and he doesn’t want
    it. Perhaps we Christians should make a
    true vigil for the our feast day by interceding on behalf of the victims of
    satanic rituals. If you want to evangelize,
    don’t be pagan. There are 364 other days to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out
    demons.” Don’t be a demon. Be a demon-caster-outer.

  • For Halloween…I’m actually ….going to Mass! #VigilMass #AllSaintsDay #HolyDays

    • Victor

      Good for you JR Labio!
      Please say a prayer for me also while you’re at Mass cause GOD (Good Old Dad) knows that I’m in need of plenty of spiritual help.
      God Bless

  • Michael Vitamvas

    Probably one of the best articles I have read on Halloween. I tweeted and posted on FB. More people should read it. Only comment I have is on the tracts. I’m associated with Memory Cross and we make Halloween tracts that kids are excited to receive. Unique design and positive presentation of the Gospel. I’d bet you would be excited to get one too.

  • Antonia

    Your opinion is way out of line with scripture and being ‘involved’ in Halloween in any way shows those around us that we condone it. God tells us to keep well away from evil and darkness. If we stand out in our community for doing this, that’s brilliant!!! Just what Jesus did and just what Jesus wants – 2 Corinthians 6:17

  • Pingback: What I believe about Halloween as a Christian()

  • William Jensen

    This is a little sad. Found this site surfing the net and I just had to ask, why is it that out of all the holidays you guys copy and pasted THIS one freaks you out?

  • Brandon Roberts

    thank you i agree 100 % about time someone told the truth

  • Sara

    As one raised Catholic and still attends, let’s discuss the truth of this holiday. The roots of it are Druid – not Catholic. Catholics created All Saint’s and All Soul’s Days to downplay this pagan holiday surrounding the dead. As believers in the cross and resurrection our root is in Christ – alone. If what we practice and believe does not stem from Him, it is to be avoided for it is from an unholy root. It doesn’t matter what we think or how many years we have practiced it … we must stay rooted in truth which is the Word who is Jesus. Throughout time the enemy has masked himself as an angel of light and we must be discerning. Encouraging people to practice a pagan holiday by syncretizing its meaning is leading them on the wrong path and that holds serious consequences. Our free will is a precious gift. We want to lead others to choose Jesus, who never celebrated this day. It is a demonically rooted day. Ask a satanist.

  • Great article Dr. Marshall! As for being salty I have always bought a few extra pumpkins and carved various arcane Christian symbols in them- like and anchor or a pelican- people will ask “What’s that?”…hehehe…”Well, since you asked…” But I do have a question for you- a block near out house closes itself off from traffic and makes a real community event out of it- lots of bonfires! Its a lot of fun. But there is a group that does what they call Morris Dancing and they are dressed all in black covered in bells and they slap sticks as they dance. A local protestant Christian said that it was “pagan dancing” and was akin to dancing around the maypole or something- you know pagan rituals. What do you think?

    • Ken Vee

      Just noticed that you and I have a similar pumpkin strategy! Your symbols are more subtle than mine and they likely catch more questioners.Young and old alike. As for your Morris Dancing neighborhood group, as long as it’s approached as a demonstration of heritage, and given also that they are not all 33rd degree Freemasons in addition to Morris Dancers, I’d simply keep a healthy distance between myself and any bells and sticks and enjoy all else the evening my have to offer. This is merely a layman’s reaction, though. I’ll look forward to Doctor Marshall’s take should he drop in on the subject.

      • Ken Vee- Well all they do is dance, no incantations or lascivious dance moves or anything, but my notion was that by pointing out its pagan origins the protestant Christian was ruining my family’s chance to enjoy the highly coordinated dancing in a sort of “invincible ignorance”. But if my understanding of Catholic theology is correct (I could be wrong, but that’s why I asked the good Dr.’s opinion), Christ has overcome the “Powers” of this world, so that even if the Morris dancers were doing some form of worship to some pagan power, those forces would be turned away when they tried to get pass our baptismal/confirmational “coating” of grace. Besides, there are a bunch of other activities on the block of interest- games, bouncy house, bonfires, hot food, and yes even a fine mug of beer (Trappist no less) for the adults!

  • Ken Vee

    Depending on your carving skill level, a jack-o-lantern with a Sacred or Immaculate Heart, or Our Lady of Guadalupe, shallow carved and lighted can be an excellent way to softly and casually evangelize. When the kids point and ask “What’s that?” you simply say “That’s The Sacred Heart”, or “The Immaculate Heart” or “Our Lady of Guadalupe”. Even if that is all you say, you have embedded those words into their consciousness. They might ask about them at home or even Google them the next day on their own. Many Christians have become sheepish about speaking in overtly Christian terms. Just introducing a Catholic word or two back into the experience of another person is a great thing in our overly secularized culture. When kids comes up to your door, you can also count the souls and say “Ah! 7 Souls! 7 pieces of Candy!” Also, “Happy All Hallows” or “Happy All Saints” is a great way to send them off on their merry way after dumping the goodies into the gaping maw of their treat bag.

    Excellent discussion, Doctor! Thank you!