Only eight percent of Protestant pastors in the U.S. encourage their congregants to skip Halloween altogether, according to a new survey released by LifeWay Research.
As it turns out, this worldview is more prevalent among older pastors aged 65 and above. While 13 percent of elder pastors feel this way, only 4 percent of preachers under the age of 45 said they’d encourage Bible-believers to entirely avoid Halloween.
READ: Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? Turns Out, There’s Some Intense Debate.
There’s also a divide along racial lines, with 23 percent of African American pastors encouraging church members to avoid Halloween altogether, with just 7 percent of white pastors agreeing.
These results were yielded when LifeWay recently asked preachers what they encourage parishioners to do on Halloween.
Overall, 67 percent tell parishioners to invite friends or neighbors to church for a fall festival or some other celebration on or Near Oct. 31, while 52 percent said they also want followers to “build relationship with neighbors who trick-or-treat.”
Based on these results, it’s clear Christian pastors see the holiday as an opportunity to reach out to people in their community.
“This is a time when your neighbors literally come to your doorstep,” explained Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “Pastors don’t want their church members to waste that chance to make a connection or invite someone to church.”
Interestingly, there was only a small proportion — 26 percent — who endorsed handing out gospel tracts to trick-or-treaters, an alternative Halloween act that some Christians presumably engage in during the holiday.
Research conducted by LifeWay in 2015 found that Americans more broadly have divergent views on how Halloween should be celebrated. While 59 percent said the holiday is all in good fun, 21 percent said they skip it all together and 14 percent said they avoid it’s pagan elements. You can read more of those results here.
The latest survey about pastoral views on Halloween was conducted among 1,000 pastors from Aug. 22-Sept. 16, with a sampling error that doesn’t exceed 3.2 percentage points.
As Faithwire recently reported, there’s some intense debate in some Christian circles about whether Bible believers should participate in Halloween.
“These are the three options – receive, reject, or redeem,” Pastor Mark Driscoll, formerly of Mars Hill Church, recently said in a video explanation of the debate. “You may be wanting me to tell you ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but I really think this is something to study through, to pray through.”
Read more about what both sides of the Halloween debate have to say here.
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