The Christian community is divided over how to approach Halloween, some saying it is a pagan holiday Christians should avoid while others argue that there is no better time for ministry. Many of those who want to take advantage of the opportunity will use Gospel tracts, or pamphlets explaining the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, as a means of reaching a high volume of people. But what are the advantages of ministering through Halloween-themed tracts, and is there a right, or wrong way, to go about distributing them?
According to the Light Up The Night page of the American Tract Society's website, it is estimated that between 80 and 90 percent of children trick-or-treat each year, giving Christians the opportunity to potentially witness to hundreds of children from the comfort of their own doorstep.
“Normally attracting this many people to an evangelistic event would take weeks of planning and be very costly, but at Halloween it is as simple as a flick of the lightswitch,” says one article on the website. “Put simply, leaving your light on could possibly be most effective evangelistic effort you could make all year.”
According to ATS, there are more conversions to Christ through the use of tracts during Halloween than there are during any other holiday. ATS is contacted by hundreds of people each year who say that their faith began with a Halloween tract. The ministry also says that each of these contacts also represents another 100 people who put their faith in Christ but just didn't make it known to the organization.
Calvin Hekman, director of The Tract League, says that it would be wise for Christians to also pass out candy when they pass out tracts to trick-or-treaters.
“It's important to be generous and courteous when we present the Gospel,” Hekman told The Christian Post in an interview on Monday.
He says he is “horrified” when he hears stories of how Christians sometimes eat at restaurants then leave only a tract in place of a tip for hard-working waitresses. In the same way, he says, people are more likely to look positively on a Halloween tract if they are given a piece of candy along with it.
The Tract League is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based ministry which distributes Gospel tracts internationally and has agents in eight different countries. The ministry offers 10 different kinds of Halloween tracts, and all are geared toward middle school-aged children.
"Halloween is a special opportunity because the children come right to the door,” he said.
Hekman understands that many Christians do not celebrate Halloween, and that many even preach against it, but he sees it as another opportunity to share Christ's love with friends and neighbors.
"It comes down to the power of Christ, really, to redeem everything, including what started out to be, originally, a pretty evil or at least ... pagan event,” he said. "I think we can walk boldly into these events with the Gospel of Jesus and present his Word and his work, and that will dominate the situation."