First, I do choose to celebrate Halloween with my family. Candy and Costumes. Enough said! What fun! If this isn't reason enough, consider this: the devil is very real. Halloween is a good opportunity to recognize and discuss the reality of Satan and our inevitable death because of our sin. The devil IS scary. The devil IS bad. There is no candy coating this topic, except of course the hope of eternal life earned by the conqueror of death, Jesus. Halloween is scary, but Jesus is our salvation.
All of this business about Halloween being a pagan holiday is further rubbish. Celebrating "the harvest", like Earth Day, can just as quickly be turned into a pagan day by worshiping creation instead of Christ. Halloween is no more pagan than those who worship Santa at Christmas or the Bunny at Easter. In fact, many of our Christmas traditions, such as Christmas carols, are actually pagan traditions that have been baptized, so to speak, and given new life in the church. No one would ever think of carols as pagan today, and in fact they are one of the few explicit declarations of the Gospel that you might hear at the grocery store.
Getting struck by lightning, pounding on doors after dark, being kidnapped by horsemen, hiding in a lonely old castle, dressing up as a knight...the story of our Reformation is a pretty good scary story! Halloween and Reformation seem to have the same shroud of danger and excitement. I can't imagine celebrating them apart from one another.
Of course, decorating the house for Reformation Day, or making Reformation Day treats can require a bit more creativity, unless you set out a bowl of gummy worms and tell your family you'll be having a Diet of Worms for the day! One of my Reformation staples is setting out my Luther and Kate heads. My Lutheran friends recognize them, and everyone else just thinks they are scary old people in my window. Either way, I think they're really fun!
To make them, just find an old black and white image of Luther. Mine are by Lucas Cranach. Blow them up, either on your computer or on a copy machine, increasing the size until the head is as large as you can make it while still fitting on one sheet of paper. Cut around the head and glue it to a piece of foam core board. Cut the foam core around the head and voila! I like to keep mine the window among my pumpkins!
Happy Halloween! Happy Reformation!