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What 'Hocus Pocus 2' reminds Christians about Halloween

Hocus pocus 2
Guests in cosplay wait to enter the premiere for Disney's "Hocus Pocus 2" at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on September 27, 2022 in New York City. |

The Sanderson Sisters are back and it’s a good reminder for Christian families.

With the wild popularity of “Hocus Pocus 2,” a question comes up: How should Christians engage in Halloween?

On September 30, 2022, Disney released “Hocus Pocus 2” starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, the sequel to the 1993 film that became a cult classic. “Hocus Pocus 2” broke a Disney+ record. Disney announced “Hocus Pocus 2” was its biggest domestic debut to date for an original movie on Disney+, based on the number of hours it was streamed in its first three days.

It was also the most streamed movie that week, while the original “Hocus Pocus” was the second most watched film, according to Whip Media’s movie ranker. No doubt with a 29-year gap between original and sequel, Disney timed it well for adults who wanted to experience a nostalgia-fest and introduce the campy franchise to their children.

With "Hocus Pocus 2" smack dab in the middle of the cultural zeitgeist at the moment, we’re reminded that Halloween is an incredibly popular holiday and the second most commercially significant after Christmas. People love Halloween. And the return of the Sanderson Sisters is a big reminder of that. So, what does that mean for believers?

God says in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Certainly, all things include Halloween. Christians believe that Jesus came to redeem all things; to make all things new. But what about Halloween? We are sometimes quick to pass judgment or skip over the topic instead of pausing to consider how we should engage Halloween.

If we are quick to reject Halloween altogether, we may be missing an opportunity. After all, the Scriptures remind us that we should be in the world, but not of it. But what does that mean? Does that mean that evil is out there and as long as we close our doors and turn the lights out, evil will stay away? If we can look at Halloween, not as “us versus them,” but rather as an opportunity to engage with the community around us, we embrace the chance to connect with others and bring light to an otherwise dark day.

What if we use Halloween as an opportunity to build relationships with our neighbors instead of outright rejecting it? Maybe the answer isn’t to fully embrace Halloween. Maybe it’s to fully embrace being salt and light in the world.

4 ways to engage your community this Halloween

If we are quick to accept Halloween as it is currently practiced, we might fail to care for and love our neighbors. “It’s about the fun and the candy,” so we put a bowl of cheap treats in front of our door and go help our kids bring in the loot! Perhaps there is more we can do to be the light of the world even amidst the jack-o-lanterns. Here are a few ideas for engaging your community.

  1. Practice hospitality. Have the best candy so that your house will be the house people come to and linger near.  Be warm. Introduce yourself to visitors even if that’s not the typical way neighbors engage in your area.
  2. Get creative. Have a warm beverage or pumpkin bread for adults so you can engage your neighbors in conversation.
  3. Reach out. Halloween is a great “excuse” to go to your neighbors’ houses and get to know them.
  4. Be prayerful and present. Use Halloween as an opportunity to be intentional in your neighborhood. This is where God put you and His way of redeeming this holiday may be to provide you an opportunity to come face-to-face with neighbors. Have conversations and really listen. Then pray for those you were able to interact with. Ask the Spirit to lead you and give you wisdom as you develop new connections.

For Christians, there is no pressure to participate in this holiday. If your discernment leads you to abstain from participating or focus on the harvest festival activities associated with Halloween, wonderful. If, on the other hand, you feel right to participate, the Bible gives you the freedom to wisely engage in living on mission — especially on Halloween. The Apostle Paul tells us that “everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial,” and “let no one seek his own good but the good of his neighbor” (1 Corinthians 10:23-33). In the end, with this delicate subject of Halloween, Christians must exercise discernment and be attentive to what the Spirit leads them to do.

­­­Jessica Wolstenholm, M. Ed. is a content creator and strategist with expertise in faith formation, curriculum/education, and parenting at Minno. Minno is a kids' media and tech company that helps families experience Jesus every day on and off the screen. Their screening platform includes more than 2,600 episodes in 125 shows, including 100 original "5 Minute Family Devotionals." Minno Life parent resources offer expert-written blogs, Life Guides on key topics, activity packs, and downloads, as well as the Minno “Raising Boys and Girls Podcast” (2 million+ downloads). Minno Kids Publishing offers the fastest-selling, Christian Book Award-winning children's Bible, the Minno Laugh and Grow Bible.

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