Will your lights be on this Halloween?

Dave Trout

October 19, 2009

The Jews have always had a healthy attitude about wine, beer and strong drink. Rather than make it an illicit substance which increases the allure and potential for abuse, wine was seen as a gift from God to be enjoyed in a social context. The buzz and social lubricating qualities that alcohol produces were seen as blessings. At the feast of tabernacles Moses even gave permission to enjoy strong drink. “You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires” as long as you could enjoy it in the presence of the Lord and the family. The prohibitions, of course, were against drunkeness or being “addicted to much wine”. The only people I know in our church of 5000 who don’t enjoy an occasional brew are the pastors. Pretty funny. In my denomination Jesus could not be a pastor because he drank wine. What are they going to do at the marriage supper of the lamb when “fine wines” are served. I completely agree with you.

I also agree with you on Halloween. In our neighborhood, Dads and Moms took kids from house to house and it was probably the best opportunity of the year to meet neighbors. I say, reclaim the day. It’s all saints day! Hallow Een is a contraction of Holy Evening when we remember the departed saints.

Brandon Smith
October 19, 2009

Thanks for a great, thought-provoking post. I have always wanted to do something...more...on Halloween than ignore it or another church "harvest party." I just haven't been sure of what.

This year, my kids will not be in town for Halloween...they are visiting grandma and grandpa in another city. But next year...I am adopting your idea. Way to go...really look forward to hearing how it goes for you!

October 19, 2009

Very well said. There are many in our church who get worked up about Halloween. That's fine for them . . . and I understand why, I guess. But to em it has always been a time to hang out with our neighbors. You have articulated the reasons behind my decision much better than I. Nice post.

October 20, 2009

My "boycott" of Halloween in recent years has been more for economic than spiritual reasons, although I went through a season of railing against the spiritual evils surrounding the anti-holiday's origin. We've also participated in "alternative" events, with mixed results.

But this year we're participating in something similar to the "Halloween Haven" idea. Our church's small groups have been encouraged to pool their resources and concentrate on members' homes where high traffic is expected (ours is one of them). We'll be giving away a generous amount of candy (the "good stuff") and hope to engage people and build relationships, with the obvious intent of sharing the gospel.

It's an interesting twist on "outreach," because they will, indeed, be coming to us. How can we squander the opportunity?

Unfornately, some in our fellowship will not embrace this concept, because of sincere convictions against "endorsing" the implicit evil in the day. But we hope many will light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.

(Note: I might approach the Beerfest event differently. I have two sisters who were killed by a drunk driver, and there are real life problems with alcohol abuse that I would not want to unintentionally endorse. But I do commend the pastor who was willing to think outside the church box...)

Whitt Madden
October 20, 2009

It really sounds like a great idea. I've already committed to this year's Trunk or Treat, but we are also taking our kids out to other places for Halloween as well. I'll keep this idea open for next year however! I admire the pastor going to the beerfest and being a light out there for others. A lot of people forget that Jesus didn't hang out with the religious leaders of His day, He hung out with everybody folks, regardless of where they were at, or what they were involved in doing.

October 20, 2009

I've always enjoyed Halloween and been sad when churches made such a deal around it. It only gave power to those who wanted to make a fuss.

We had one year when we had to be gone. We left the porch light on with a bucket of candy and said...Sorry we can't be home, happy halloween, take some for yourself and leave some for others.

When we got home there were a few pieces of candy left, and someone wrote on the sign...thanks

In Ky we had a halloween party and had such fun. One older couple came with the outfits they wore when they left for their honeymoon. Oh they were beautiful...and won hand's down the contest...a good time was had by all.

October 20, 2009

Great article Dave T....I think we sink too far to relate to the culture. We should stand for something. But I like your approach...to offer shelter.

David Rupert
(thanks for playing Everfound a couple of weeks ago. You got a big mention on their website, www.everfoundmusic.com)

October 21, 2009

most of my profound and meaningful conversations happen with a few beers on the table and couple in the stomach. so i do commend the pastor for being brave enough to go to the Beerfest.

great post. insightful. and btw, i love under the radar! "best gourmet music you've never heard"


October 22, 2009

The purpose of Halloween is to laugh at Satan, for "that proud spirit" cannot bear to be mocked. Dress up in funny caricatures, and laugh at the fact that he has no power over us. For that matter, go ahead and go trick or treating.

October 28, 2009

I am always bothered when people try to stop church holidays. It is All Hallows Eve/Reformatin Day. All Hallows Eve because it is the day before all Saints Day, the day thechurch set aside to honor all those to be honored as saints because of their martyrdom. It was eventually followed by All Souls Day on Nov. 2, a day to honor all those who had died in Christ who had not been martyred. The conflation of the holiday into one day marking ALL SAINTS who have died has come about becausewe in the United States do not have many martyrs for the faith, and our common understanding of the word Saint has come to mean all who are baptized in the faith---a somewhat Lutheran understanding of us being at the same time saint and sinner.

Holloween is the preparation for those two days, and a day to "give the devil his due" by mocking him. Why shouldn't we? After all he has been conquered, what we experience now is just his death throws (sp?).

As for beer---as a good Evangelical Lutheran, I imbibe whenever possible, but I try to make it the good stuff of microbreweries, after all I do live in Portland, Oregon, the micro brew capital of the world. I alos believe God enjoys one now and then, at least his Son was a party animal.

Be at peace God is NOT mocked.

Peace and Power,

Pastor Don Voeks
"...life is slippery. Take my hand."

October 31, 2015

The suggestion that we should participate in Halloween because it's a chance together to know your neighbours is rather facilities. Relationship is not about interacring with people once a year it is about regular contact throughout the year and building relationships over a period of time. It's easy to throw your doors open once a yea, hand out a few sweets and think "that's it -I've done my bit now aren't I a good Christian?" Genuine relationships with your neighbours require a more significant, and sometimes sacrificial, investment of time and energy.

Bill Wald
October 25, 2016

If Protestants had not been snotty about Catholic special days then maybe we would be thanking God on All saints Day and the eve of All Saints Day would not be such a big deal.

Doug Vande Griend
October 25, 2016

In Reply to donvoeks (comment #14957)
You say, Don, that Portland is the microbrew capital of the world. I'm not so sure. On a per capita basis, Salem may well challenge that claim. My downtown tenant (Venti's) is a restaurant that has been proudly serving Salem made and other (mostly local) microbrews for decades. He recent renovation puts about 30 of them on tap, admittedly some made in Portland. :-)

So there. :-)

And going past the microbrew argument, sure, I'll have my lights on, and candy ready, for Halloween. None of my neighbors understand the history but I intend to be a friendly neighbor (which I am year round as well). And my local CRC church (another part of town) puts on a "Harvest Carnival" on an alternate evening (this year, Sat, Oct 29), which is designed to provide festivity to neighbor children in a constructively alternate way. I'll be doing the hot dogs and such for that night.

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