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Halloween: What's a Christian to do?

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This year, an estimated 148 million people will celebrate Halloween in the US, each of them spending an average of $66 on candy, costumes and decorations, according to the National Retail Federation. The number planning to participate has risen from 33% of consumers in 2009 to 40% in 2010. All told, Halloween sales are expected to reach nearly $6 billion -- a staggering amount, but still paltry compared to the $460 billion Christmas takes in. As growing sales indicate, Halloween has taken on greater prominence in the American culture. Retail stores dedicate entire aisles to the holiday, some erecting displays as early as June or July. We also see people decorating earlier in the year, with yards and porches donning everything from straw bails to jack-o-lanterns a month or more ahead of time. The growth in Halloween's popularity poses a challenge for the Christian: what do you do with this supposed "holiday?" Is Halloween a holiday, or "holy day," or is it a "hands-off" day? As John Macarthur, a well-known Christian preacher, writes, “Many Christians refuse to participate in Halloween. Some are wary of its pagan origins; others of its dark, ghoulish imagery; still others are concerned for the safety of their children. But other Christians choose to partake of the festivities, whether participating in school activities, neighborhood trick-or-treating, or a Halloween alternative at their church. “The question is, how should Christians respond to Halloween? Is it irresponsible for parents to let their children trick-or-treat? What about Christians who refuse any kind of celebration during the season--are they overreacting?” (http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/A123_Christians-and-Halloween) And finally, what does the Bible say, if anything, about how the Christian should approach this spooky pastime? We'll explore these issues, and more, in this Saltshaker episode.

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