Should Christians let their kids go trick-or-treating? Out of respect for the Almighty, should adults stay home from the office Halloween party? Is it wrong to dress up as a witch – just for fun? How about as a martyred saint?p>

Okay. I admit it,” says Greg Stoughton , a Campus Crusade staffer in Orlando. “I had two seasons where I darkened our doorstep, turned off most lights, and ignored the doorbell on Halloween as a protest to its darker elements.”

“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?” asks Travis Allen on the Grace to You website.

"Is this just one more time when we Christians isolate ourselves from culture for religious reasons apparent only to us?” asks John Fisher in CCM magazine . “Have we really thought through what our dark houses are saying to the rest of the block?.”

“I can recall October 31, 1992, quite vividly. My daughter, Paris, was five, our son, Jordan, was three, and my baby, Capri, was only five months old,” writes Ellie Lofaro for Today’s Christian Woman magazine. “While Paris knew all about costumes and free candy, my husband, Frank, and I made sure she also knew why our family didn't celebrate Halloween.”

“Many Christians refuse to participate in Halloween,” writes Allen. “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.”

“As a Christian,” Stoughton says, “some of it was my disdain for its satanic associations. Some of it was an excuse to save a few bucks."

"I would slump on the sofa, chomp some red licorice, and watch television while my wife said ‘Good grief!’ and took our 2-year-old son to her mother's for some neighborhood fun."

“That was then. Now, a decade later, I look to engage the culture and not simply retreat,” writes Stoughton. “Through the example of others, prayer, some reading and thought, I have personally come to view Halloween as an ideal time to build a relational bridge with neighbors. When else do people you don't know come and knock on your door - at least without having something to sell you? It is you who holds the goods."

Actively Plan. “Ask God what He might have you to do this Halloween. Consult ideas for Halloween or do some research on your own,” advises Stoughton.

Surf the Web or talk with Christian neighbors or friends for creative ways you might use the event to positively grow relationships with others. Think of positive ways to help your neighbors extend their stay at your home.

Don't Preach: Your neighbors aren't coming for a sermon. But Halloween can be a great time to get acquainted, share some laughs, or even mix-it-up with non-Christian families you might already know.

Be Understanding: Not all believers are of one opinion on what is the appropriate way to approach Halloween. If a fellow believer is unable in good conscience to participate or embrace a Halloween activity, it is right not to pass judgment. Romans 14:3 reminds us: "Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

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