Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Duck Commander family, chose not to participate in Halloween in last night's "Duck Dynasty" episode. He is not alone in his stance against the holiday - Christians often choose not to celebrate Halloween because it essentially glorifies evil. There are, however, many believers who do partake in the festivities (including Miss Kay, Willie, and Uncle Si...sort of), and former pastor John Piper would encourage those who participate to do so with an intent to teach children more about Christ.
The origins of Halloween are not clear. Although All Hallows' Eve is meant to be a night of anticipatory celebration of the upcoming All Saints' Day (a Catholic holy day), its roots may stem from pagan influences such as the Festival of the Dead. Many Christians choose not to celebrate the holiday because of this, citing that it exalts evil, encourages promiscuity, and can embolden criminals. Others find opportunities to participate in the holiday with an aim to honor Christ among their peers. Still others opt to dress up in more innocuous costumes and celebrate with friends and family at Halloween-alternative fall festivals instead. John Piper calls each of these worldviews "Christ against culture," "Christ in culture," and "Christ over culture."
The now retired pastor was asked whether Christians should celebrate what some would call a "demonic holiday" in an archived Ask Pastor John episode. "I grew up trick-or-treating," began Piper, the son of two faithful believers - "I would hope that all Christians would think Biblically and carefully about any holiday - any event - and how they might be salt and light in it. If they feel like this can be valuable for the kids in some way, to teach them ... so be it," he said.
He doesn't find fault with Christians participating in the holiday if they are trying to be "Biblically faithful in witness ... I respect those who are renouncing it as too connected with evil, and I respect those who say, 'No, let's redeem it and penetrate it and use it,'" he says. Piper also noted that he feels the same way about celebrating Easter, Christmas, and birthdays, all of which likely have pagan origins.
There seemed to be a mixture of Christian worldviews on Halloween portrayed in Wednesday night's episode - Miss Kay and Willie seem to love the spookiness of the holiday (Willie getting his greatest thrill from scaring small children, his sons and daughters dressing like zombies), while Jase's wife Missy chose to wear a modest retro outfit. Phil, on the other hand, did not partake - "I'm not much into All Hollows' Eve...pagan holidays? Not my particular cup of tea," he said in the beginning of the Season Four episode. He did concede to wear a tie for the festivities, however, and joked that he was a yuppie politician. "Trust me, I'm not into it," he said.
Phil ended the episode by praying over the family meal as per usual - "Father, thank You for another day on Planet Earth," he said - "Thank you, Father, for giving us the knowledge of knowing the difference between make believe and true faith. Through Jesus I pray, Amen."