Show Christ’s Love on Halloween + OCTOBER Books to Read to Your Children


We go to my parents’ neighborhood, where I grew up, to Trick or Treat, and I’m always struck by the JOY of the evening.  Neighbors reconnecting, children so sweet, happy and excited.  Many times it is the “gruff old men” with a bathrobe tucked around them opening doors and handing out the candy, and I know they are just big softies at heart.  They are who I like to watch.  They hand out the candy with a stern look, and then when the children say, “Thank you!” their mouths begin to crack into a slow smile.  I remember one man would softly mouth, “Stay off my lawn!” before shaking his head in resignation and smiling, just like Mr. Wilson in Dennis the Menace.

This night truly is the neighborhood coming together, especially if you take a few minutes to talk to your neighbors.  In the 3rd picture he was a Ninja – it wasn’t a “mask”!

I know many people don’t celebrate Halloween and for very good reasons.  When we look at this illustration, probably an ad for alcohol, what do we see?  People dressed as Satan, witches, ghosts, criminals, skeletons, and they are all drinking.  I get it. 

There are some areas, like a street that has a haunted house party, where you see people dressed in scary, or scantily-clad costumes, but rarely do we see older kids or adults dressed like this in the majority of neighborhoods.  I am very against going to ‘haunted houses,’ as they go too far these days, glorifying murder and satanic emblems.

When we got married, we decided to get rid of any holiday decor that featured witches or sorcery, or glorified death, etc. I had never really thought about it, I just wanted ‘cute,’ but friends who didn’t celebrate made some great points about not bringing demonic images into our home.

I also understand the arguments about it not only being a pagan holiday, but that we have people today who worship Satan knowingly or unknowingly, and Oct. 31 is their high holy day, where they really do form a coven and try to cast spells, etc.  Just take a look at what is going on in Salem, MA for weeks in October.  This is terrible stuff; it’s not fun and games like some tourists may think.  If you think attending this would be “fun” then you do not have the Holy Spirit residing within you.  This is blasphemous to God.  If I lived anywhere near Salem, I’d move.  The devil sure has a foothold there.

However, most of us live in normal neighborhoods, and handing out candy can be a great time to show Christ’s love!  It’s more like stepping back in time to the 1950’s. Halloween is the second most celebrated holiday, right after Christmas. Let’s REDEEM IT! I just looked up “Jesus on a pumpkin” and a whole page of creative ideas came up. Try replacing Jack with a Christ-centered message instead. What other time of the year do you have people coming RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR!?!

There is a woman who, after years of not participating, was convicted to share Christ this night, and has great ideas for Halloween signs:  They all feature Jesus, with cute cartoons so as not to scare, of demons trembling at His name, “even zombies can have life in Jesus’ name”, “Jesus is the light of the world and light is stronger than darkness”, etc.  22 of them.  The Kids in Ministry Choose Life Not Death post has a picture of some of them.  She talks about a child running to her house, “Mom! A Christian lives here!”  This might be a great jumping off place for you to create your own loving signs or even cards to go with the candy, or to buy and print these signs for your windows and yard.

Over the years, because I couldn’t afford to give out candy, I’ve given out pencils with Jesus hearts, Jesus stickers, and other items from Oriental Trading Co. with scriptures and biblical truths, and the little children love that, too.  One year during college, when I lived at the beach, I had a huge bucket of seashells, and each child got to choose one.  They loved that just as much as candy.  One little boy, about 4, feeling sad for me that I didn’t have any candy, reached into his own bag and gave me several pieces!  How sweet and loving is that? 

So here are my ideas to bless people on Halloween.  You need to plan ahead and prepare now so that it won’t sneak up on you:

Oriental Trading Co – Jesus stickers, Tangy Tarts Scripture Candy (these taste just like the name brand), or any other little thing you see.  I only buy from this company once or twice a year – I get items for each holiday, such as Snoopy stickers for the mail, Sunday school, crafts, etc. plus Snoopy plates and napkins. 

Living Waters has AWESOME tracts.  Why Use Gospel Tracts? This is why! This short article also says that the famous open air preacher George Whitefield and the missionary Hudson Taylor were saved after reading a tract. They get right to the point. Kids especially will appreciate the million dollar bill.  They will keep it, as it is made of a good quality, read it often, and ponder the meaning for YEARS to come (I know, because I did!).  Here is a Halloween Outreach Pack with a different million dollar bill. The bills are best for teens and adults; the illusion card and Albert Brainstein are best for young children.

The Einstein bill and the Science Confirms the Bible tracts are also very good. Here’s a 28 page Scientific Facts in the Bible tract. There’s also a Patriotic and a Santa million dollar bill. Here’s a link to all the tracts.

Have your children help you prepare: put a small chocolate bar, a Scripture candy, a Jesus sticker, and a tract into a snack or sandwich baggie.

It’s a great way, in my view, to bless people – COMING RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR! – in any way the Lord lays on your heart.  I see it as such a great opportunity.

The Supernatural

Children crave the supernatural, and we serve a supernatural God – it is HIM who they really want!  But because adults no longer take their children to church, and believe worldly lies themselves, children turn to books like Harry Potter.  I have many problems with these books, because they “break the rules” – they let evil win, and they promote white or good magick to do bad things.  Another huge problem is that the author went to modern day witches for research and included their spells.  This is truly playing with fire.  These books get children interested in the occult, and not their heavenly father.  Here is a former witch denouncing these books:

So what can you as a parent do to satisfy this need for the supernatural?  The most important thing is to read them the Bible and discuss the wonders of our God and the miracles Jesus and his apostles performed! This is done by reading and discussing the Bible each day.

In addition to the Bible, during October only, I always chose an old-fashioned storybook about magic or witches.  I did this because most children dream about flying, having magical powers, or super powers, and I wanted to explore this WITH my child; I didn’t want him ever to get curious and explore these things on his own.  This way I’m in control of the story and commentary.  I can omit words or paragraphs, and I can point out how much fun it would be if we could fly, but at the end say, “now wasn’t that a fanciful story, what do you think about…, what do you crave being able to do…, etc.” and LEAD him into discussions and answer his questions.  You have to teach your child the difference between God’s miracles told to us in the Holy Bible, and fictional magic stories.  Don’t just assume that your child gets it.

I completely understand if you disagree or are reluctant to read books with witches in them. The reason I chose to do this is because we know children who aren’t allowed to do many things: several aren’t allowed to play any video games, several cannot watch any secular tv shows, one is not allowed to read any “magical” stories, etc., certain music is taboo, and what I noticed with these children was their anger and/or obsession about that which was denied them. They were constantly trying to sneak things forbidden to them at home when they were at a friend’s house. For instance, they wouldn’t want to actually play with their friends – they’d try to watch tv or play video games instead. They weren’t allowed to make any choices for themselves. They weren’t allowed to LEARN the reason why their parents weren’t fond of video games, tv, stories, music, etc. (Think about Katy Perry with her strict religious upbringing: she’s said she had too many restrictions with no understanding, so she began sneaking things; she didn’t have the Spirit of God living in her, and she ended up going full blown the opposite way. The despair is evident in her interviews. She does not understand the Gospel at all. With her rejection of the Light, she is living in darkness. Pray for her understanding and salvation.)

But since we had Halloween decor, went to church parties in costumes, Halloween library events with crafts, played traditional games like pin the nose on the pumpkin, and read stories about magic, there was never an allure of forbidden temptations that went farther than these simple, childish attractions.

I’ve never been interested in haunted houses, but I like Victorian houses and black cats.

Instead of being obsessed with the demonic images of Halloween like many teens, we (and many of our friends who also went this route) have discovered that our teens have no interest in Halloween except making young children happy by handing out candy. They see neighbors wanting to go to Knott’s Scary Farm and hang demons on their doors, and they all say that it is not pleasing to God and they want no part in it. In fact, they say they remember being scared of the zombies and demons when they were little, and would never want to put a small child through that. I know this, because as we drove by a neighbor’s decorated house last year, they discussed it.

I’m sure that when I was a teen my parents hated my rock music. I was going to church and yet listening to heavy metal and punk. I liked it. But as I listened, it slowly dawned on me that the lyrics were the opposite of what the Bible taught. I didn’t know what a ‘black sabbath’ was, but I eventually figured it out. I began to notice the artwork on albums and t-shirts that looked demonic. I learned that the upside-down star was satanic. Crazy Train is a catchy song, but Ozzy just did what? I went to a concert and the group sang about 666 being the number of the beast, and they were celebrating it, not denouncing it. My parents let me figure it out on my own (probably because they couldn’t understand the lyrics!), all the while taking me to church and living out their Christianity. Within a year I left all that behind of my own accord, without a fight.

So instead of just saying “no”, I decided to introduce the topics myself, so that I’m in control. My child was never interested in Harry Potter. Had he been, we would have read the first book together, and I would have dissected it with him. But because I never wanted him interested in it to begin with, I introduced books that spoke of magical things while “discounting” them at the same time. What follows are the books we read, that I feel I can recommend to you as “safe” – books that won’t lead your child down a harmful path.

Delightful Books

Reading books aloud with your children, such as the ones mentioned below, allow your children a peek into Halloween, whether you celebrate or not, without the fear of them delving into any harmful books or practices on their own.  Children want magic to be true, just as you did when you were young.  These fanciful flights of imagination are fun, without delving into any wicked practices, and unlike the Harry Potter books, they do not whet the appetite for more.  Instead, these books reinforce that Halloween is just a time for games and to dress up in imaginative play.

The Little Leftover Witch by Florence Loughlin is our absolute favorite Halloween story!  It is a delightful book about adoption.  Is the little girl who appears on Halloween really a witch whose broom broke and is grounded until next Halloween?  Or is she a runaway from an orphanage?  Is she really working spells?  Or is it just coincidental happenstance?  Reading about this child’s transformation from little witch to little girl due to loving and wise guardians will warm your heart.  It features great parenting, so rare in most books!  It’s a book so captivating we couldn’t put it down. Ages 5-13 (even older children will enjoy hearing you read it to younger children).

Halloween Treats by Carolyn HaywoodAnything by Carolyn Haywood is going to be good for children 5 to 10 (older children will sneak in to hear as you read to younger children).  I suggest reading all of her stories to your children. 

Here’s a Penny, written and illustrated by Carolyn Haywood (Penny is the boy)

The Halloween stories in this book are snippets from her main books, and so they feature all the children from her other series of books:  Eddie, Betsy, Star, Lillybell, Officer Kilpatrick, Jonathan, Penny, Billy, Boodles, and Anna Patricia.  Only the first story is original to this book; all of them are highly enjoyable.  One thing to mention is that, unlike the majority of Carolyn Haywood’s other books, this book does not feature her original drawings – for what reason I cannot imagine, as her illustrations are simple and beautiful, whereas I find the illustrations in this book below par.

Here Comes the Bus is another favorite from Carolyn Haywood.  While not a Halloween story, it is a great story to read in the fall.  It is about a boy, Jonathan, who is starting school, and the different little daily adventures he has, such as leaving his birthday cake on a fence post, making a pumpkin man for his front porch, and making friends.  It romanticizes school, of course, but it is still a really good book, with many delightful scenes.  We read it every October for years! Taffy and Melissa Molasses is the sequel.

Albert’s Halloween The Case of the Stolen Pumpkins by Leslie Tryon.  This is an interactive picture book in that each picture gives you several clues, if you look closely enough, as to who stole the pumpkins, and where the perpetrator left them!  Chief Inspector Albert, Miss Maple, Shamrock Homes, and Sam Slade are on the case!  They find notes and puzzle pieces as they go on their Halloween adventure.  Can you solve the case with them?  Another book that will be re-read annually.  Ages 5-10

At Point Fermin Lighthouse

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – a Look and Find book to “encourage focus and exploration, match and compare, and connect words with pictures to build vocabulary.”  Fun for littles!  Not much of a story, but goes great with the tv episode.

I just found those Joan Walsh Anglund characters in a box of my childhood things. I remember cutting them out from a GH mag. Old cards given to my DH. And a pumpkin made by my 2 yo at an autumn fair – he dipped a q-tip in bleach, and then drew, and like magic this face appeared on the pumpkin. Every month I have a picture in the center from my fav artist who does lots of bunnies, Susan Wheeler, and the houses are from a Susan Branch calendar. See the pumpkin on the far door? That’s what we use to play “pin the nose on the pumpkin.”

Gus and the Baby Ghost by Jane Thayer, with pictures by Seymour Fleishman  A very sweet, life-affirming picture book about how everyone loves babies – even ghost babies!   Jane Thayer is an alias for Catherine Woolley, whose Ginnie series of books I also highly recommend for young girls. (There are 10 Ginnie books; all are fantastic except for Ginnie and the Mystery Light, which was written in the 70’s and went off the rails, discussing voodoo and drugs.)

The Haunted House featuring Mickey, Donald, and Pluto – an old Disney book with great pictures and a not-so-scary ending, after all. It gets over-the-top wonderful reviews – but I’m not sure why! I think it must be because when you are little, the idea of a haunted house is so scary, but the Disney pictures are cute, and it has a good, logical ending that makes young children feel better.

The Halloween Party from the Black Lagoon.  A series of books where the chapters are only 1 to 5 pages long, with cartoon pictures and jokes, and every adult, in every book, is portrayed as a monster to Hubie, the kid who doesn’t do well in school (until the end of each book).  Not my favorite, but my child loved them, as do all kids.  Every holiday has a Black Lagoon Adventure book.  Ages 7-11

Space Case by Edward Marshall, pictures by James Marshall.  A classic picture book about a boy who encounters The Thing from outer space on Halloween, who has come to observe Earth and its customs.  He spends the night and then goes to school with Buddy McGee in the morning.  A very imaginative book that will charm you!  You might as well pick up the sequel to read in December – Merry Christmas, Space Case, which is when The Thing says he will be back at the end of the book.  Ages 3-8

Cranberry Halloween by Wende and Harry Devlin.  When I was little we had the original story, A Cranberry Thanksgiving, and I loved it.  When my son was little I discovered at the library that the Devlins’ had made a series of books for all of the holidays and seasons!  Each book is well written, with great illustrations.  We always made a point to find the silhouettes, a feature of every book.  This story is a mini-mystery:  who stole the money that was raised to build a new dock in Cranberryport?  Features Grandmother, Maggie, Mr. Whiskers, and Mr. Grape.  Ages 5-10.

My son’s library craft ‘pider – it’s ‘pooky and ‘cary!

Wilma Pitchford Hays wrote many books in the 1950’s and 60’s.  Her books about the pilgrims and the American Revolution used to be in all the schools and libraries, and are always well-researched.  Highland Halloween’s Prologue tells of the origin of Halloween from the Celts, and why pumpkins, black cats, trick or treating, games, and bonfires are a part of it, and how the Scottish Highlanders brought their traditions to America.  She proceeds to tell a story that could very well have been handed down over the centuries.  While a classic, I don’t think many kids would be very interested in this story today, unless they are of Scottish or Irish ancestry.  This is for older children 8-12, is about 60 pages with large type, and has realistic pictures.  She does a good job of giving the characters Highland accents, and sprinkles in facts from the Old Country.  Adults will probably like it better than children!

A card from when my husband was 2.

The Trouble with Miss Switch and Miss Switch to the Rescue! were books by Barbara Wallace and were ABC After School Specials in 1980 and 1982 that can now be seen on YouTube.  I’d suggest reading the books first.  Miss Switch is a school teacher, and of course, also a witch.  Highly imaginative and not at all scary, unlike books and movies of today about witches.  We enjoyed the series.  Ages 8-12.

More towels!

What the Witch Left by Ruth Chew.  Two girls get into a locked dresser drawer, and discover some very unusual clothing – magic gloves, a bathrobe that makes you invisible, boots that can take you 7 leagues with a single step, etc.  – which gets them into little scrapes.  I remember this book from my childhood, and wishing those items were in my bottom drawer! (My only caution is that I haven’t read the author’s other books about witches, and while this one is okay, don’t assume that they all are.) If you can only choose one book to read in this list, however, I’d choose the first book I mentioned, Little Leftover Witch.

The Magic Shop by Maurice Dolbier is a classic story book about good and evil, and the pictures are whimsical – full of clues as to just who the mysterious stranger who smells like smoke really is.  The names used in the book are from Shakespeare.  Just so you know, the magic is in a “magic wand” and is called “white” magic.  This is a good time to reinforce that “white” or “good” magic does not exist.  It’s a well known book, and yet I just discovered it.

The Herdmans are back!  You’ve heard of The Worst Best Christmas Pageant Ever, but what about The Worst Best Halloween Ever, and The Worst Best School Year Ever?  These books are just as good as the original.  I thought that the Halloween book had a fantastic ending!  All ages.  Be sure to get the Christmas movie with Loretta Swit, too, from the 1980’s.  It’s very well done and worth your time, especially if your children enjoyed the books.  In fact, last year we watched the movie with a new Christian who is in her 50’s and she loved it!

NOT my house!

Halloween Are you for Real?  by Harold Myra  A picture book for Christian parents to read to their young children about God’s victory over evil and evil spirits.  Touches on the origin of Halloween and All Hallows’ Eve.  Talks about Jesus, God, and heaven, and closes with 2 Timothy 1:7. 

“Too cute to spook!”

And of course, there is always C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series.

We loved this series by the author of Amelia Bedelia! This is for ages 7-12. The Liza, Bill and Jed Mysteries. The Haunted House has 7 clues that your children can solve with (or before) the 3 children in the book do (especially if you prepare ahead of time and put the 7 clues on their own pieces of paper for him or her). Highly recommend!

A Reminder

Remember that the old books I mention above, which are imaginative, and old tv shows like Miss Switch or Bewitched, are much different from the books and shows of today. The new books and shows, including Sabrina, Twilight, and the Disney Channel’s The Owl House, glorify witchcraft, the occult, magick, lying and bad behavior, and in The Owl House the main character is bisexual. While the old tv shows, from Bewitched to Lucy had at least one episode featuring a seance, the scenes never glorified it, in fact they were all ridiculous scenarios, and it is a great teaching opportunity. Once, before I could say anything, my young son piped up, “You don’t have to tell me again, mom. I know the Bible forbids this.”

What Does the Bible Say about Witchcraft?

Don’t forget this part! After you finish any Halloween story, go back to the Bible, and say, “Now what does the Holy Bible say about witchcraft?”  Read them Deuteronomy 18 and about the King Saul visiting the Witch of Endor in 1 Samuel 28 and how much that displeased God.  Teach them to run from fortune telling, tarot cards, Ouiji boards, seances, chanting, yoga, meditation, crystals, the enneagram, and astrology.  

* If you do not want to read all of these scriptures, do these six. But I encourage you to read them all and see what God Himself thinks about witchcraft, necromancy/Spiritualism (consulting with the dead/spirits), and the occult.

14 minutes, if you are interested in learning more

And two books for you

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James is an excellent mystery novel that takes the beloved characters from Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice (here are some interesting editions of the classic) and puts them into a mystery.  I wasn’t sure if the author could pull it off, but she does it well!  The Prologue is an 8-page synopsis of Pride and Prejudice, written almost as though it was a newsy letter from a nosy neighbor, which hits all the important parts of the original story.  Very well done!  So even those who aren’t that familiar with P and P can enjoy this mystery. 

I’ve been buying Cherished Teddies for only $3 at holiday boutiques, thrift stores, and library fund raisers. It’s something I wanted years ago but couldn’t afford, so now I’m indulging whenever I see them!

Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the beloved Anne of Avonlea series, wrote over 500 stories. I’m suggesting for you Akin to Anne, Tales of Other Orphans edited by Rea Wilmshurst because of the very first story in the book “Charlotte’s Quest.”  Poor, orphaned Charlotte, having to live with noisy, irksome relatives, doesn’t quite fit in.  One day she decides to gather her courage and ask the local “witch” if she might find her a real mother.  Wise, old, impoverished – yet jolly – “witch” Penny takes one look at her and discerns her needs.  She contemplates how to bring about the idea that just popped into her head.  She sternly tells Charlotte to be sure and follow her directions, including the turning about three times, and knocking three times at a certain door, and maybe, just maybe, there might be a mother for her at the end of her journey.  A lovely, 18 page short “autumny” story for you.  This book contains 19 of LMM’s short stories.

May God bless you as you teach your children and bless others. Happy Autumn!



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