Halloween was last night. Katie went as a ladybug. The evening was fairly busy, although not as busy as some places in Limon. The street up from us was jam-packed, probably because almost every house had their lights on. Most the houses on our street didn’t, so it was pretty slow.

Being a Christian, and being a pastor, I get asked questions from time to time about Halloween- isn’t it devil-worship? How can I let my child participate? Should I hand out Bibles to kids instead of candy?

We need to get away from this idea of sin. My mere proximity to something that someone else uses sinfully does not contaminate me with their sin. Nobody I know worships Satan on October 31st by dressing up in costumes and going house to house for candy. I do know a few occultists (former occultists, actually- they grew up and got jobs) but they were doing entirely different things that night, very distateful things. So just because some (very few) people engage in occult practices on a particular day, I should deprive my child of a wholly unrelated activity on that same day?

We need to be careful of the Pharisaical attitude towards sin. They thought you could be corrupted by mere proximity to something sinful going on. That’s why they went after Jesus all the time for eating and drinking with prostitutes and tax collectors. Jesus responded to them by teaching them that it’s what comes out of a man that corrupts him, not what goes in. Proverbs 4:23 tells us that the issues of life come from the heart. Luke 6:45 says that evil actions come from an evil heart, and good actions from a good heart. So, I cannot simply stumble into sin. Sin would flow from a heart that hates God. Therefore to evaluate a particular action, I have to evaluate the motives that drove that action. 1 Corinthians 8 is also relevant- eating meats offered to idols is only sinful if I believe I am engaging in idolatry by doing so. If I recognize that the idols are nothing and thank God for the meat, there is no sin. (There’s still the issue of the weaker brother, but that’s a different question.)

So, the only way Trick-or-Treating would be sinful, is if someone actually thought they were engaging in occult activity by doing so. If they thought they were having a fun time dressing up in funny costumes and getting candy, then that’s all they’re doing. Sin’s not in the thing. Sin’s in the heart.

That doesn’t make it easer to avoid. That makes it a lot harder. Because now I have to stop focusing on things like rock music and Halloween and booze and what movies I watch, and start focusing on my own pride and envy and lust and bitterness. It would sure be easy if I could just stop watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and be free from sin as a result.

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