A new survey found that 90 percent of pastors have specific views on how their congregations should observe Halloween.
The survey from Lifeway Research analyzed responses from 1,000 Protestant Christian pastors across the U.S.
“Few pastors simply ignore the fact that so many Americans participate in Halloween celebrations,” Lifeway Research Executive Director Scott McConnell said in a written statement. “Most pastors focus on the social nature of these celebrations, encouraging their congregations to engage with others outside their church.”
According to the survey, about 13 percent of pastors said they discourage their church members from participating in Halloween activities “in any way.”
Other pastors, however, encourage congregations to invite others to an alternative church event (71 percent), minister to trick-or-treaters (34 percent) or build relationships with neighbors (58 percent) on Halloween. Eight percent reported they do not encourage nor discourage any of those Halloween activities.
“Whether it comes from a desire to reconnect with their community after the pandemic prevented much of this or from deepened convictions about the holiday itself, pastors appear more resolute in their convictions around Halloween,” McConnell said.
In comparison, 67 percent of Protestant pastors in 2016 said they encouraged inviting others to church Halloween events, Religion News Service reports.
“The majority of even the smallest churches offer church events this time of year and encourage their members to invite people from the community,” McConnell said. “In a society that is increasingly distant and divided, most pastors see opportunities within the interactions that take place around Halloween.”
The survey also found:
- Sixty-six percent of young pastors (ages 18 to 44) said they encouraged church members to build relationships with neighbors who trick or treat.
- Sixty-eight percent of Methodists said the same, and 42 percent of Pentecostals said the same.
- Fifty-eight percent of Baptist pastors encourage their church to hand out gospel tracts to trick-or-treaters.
A recent Numerator survey found that about 78 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween in some way this year.
Photo courtesy: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Inside Creative House
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.