This seems like an appropriate day to post this: Richard Mouw, former president of Fuller Theological Seminary and prominent evangelical philosopher and theologian, thinks about Halloween and the power of evil (in his typically nuanced way) in First Things:
My parents were Evangelicals, but they always enjoyed Halloween. My father was a pastor, and he and my mother would put on a yearly Halloween party for the young people’s group at our church. They would decorate our house with witches on broomsticks, ghosts, and pumpkin faces. My dad would turn the lights down at some point and tell a story designed to frighten the partying teens. We always also had a good supply of candy in stock for the Trick-or-Treaters, and I was encouraged to go around our neighborhood collecting candy. Then we would argue about how much of it I had to share at home.
None of that would play well today in evangelical congregations, where—at the end of October, at least—a “Christ against culture” spirit takes over for a week or so. As a counter-celebration, churches often put on “harvest festivals.” Kids may dress up in Pilgrim-like or patriotic garb—but none of the typical Halloween fare.
I wonder about this each year. And I typically get asked as Halloween approaches what I think about the way the day gets celebrated.