Haunted houses, ghosts, goblins, and all things spooky offer thrills and chills that pose no real threat to us. We can enjoy them because we know we are in no actual danger. Twenty-first-century Americans seem to have an insatiable appetite for the macabre, and most consider haunted houses and talk of ghosts a part of Halloween fun. Others, however, wonder if the devilish aspects of Halloween make haunted houses unacceptable for Christians.
Whether or not a Christian should go to a haunted house may depend on what we mean by haunted. Most venues that advertise as “haunted houses” are merely buildings filled with items and scenes intended to elicit thrills from participants. Visitors pay an entry fee, expecting to be scared out of their wits, while also recognizing that there is nothing “haunted” about the house. A flip of the light switch reveals the stunts and costumes that appeared ominous in the dark. The blood turns out to be red paint. The dagger that flew through the air turns out to be a plastic toy on a string. As long as the event does not include immodestly dressed players, blasphemous language, or a celebration of satanic rituals, a Christian may choose to visit such a haunted house with a clear conscience. However, according to Romans 14:22–23, a believer whose conscience is bothered by such places should not go. The Bible says that, if we cannot do something with a clear conscience, it is sin for us.
There is another type of haunted house that may not be advisable for Christians to visit. Places that are dedicated to the powers of evil or those that are reported sites of supernatural phenomena related to demonic activity should be avoided by everyone. Satan is real. Demons are real. They do have power, and they are not to be trifled with. The Bible expressly forbids God’s people from engaging in any form of witchcraft (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:31), necromancy (Leviticus 20:6), fortune-telling (Deuteronomy 18:10–11), or idolatry (Galatians 5:19–20). Christians should not seek out truly “haunted” houses, participate in ghost hunting, or engage in other activities that show a sinful fascination with the occult.
There are only two sources of supernatural power in the world: God and Satan. Satan only has the power that God allows him to have, but he wields it in destructive ways that are far beyond human ability to combat. If we find ourselves drawn to the idea of the supernatural, we should ask ourselves, “Whose power is behind this?” If we are considering visiting a haunted house because it purports to have eerie, unexplained phenomena, we would be wise to consider whether Jesus would be attracted to such a place. How would Jesus view that kind of haunted house? We see no record in the New Testament of Jesus considering demonic activity entertaining. And as Christians, our goal is to be like Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1; Romans 8:29).
A Christian is a Christian all the time. We are not merely Christians when engaging in expressly Christian activities. Those purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). We take God with us everywhere we go. So, when choosing entertainment, we must do so with the fear of the Lord as our guide (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 14:27; 15:33). When deciding whether or not to go to a haunted house, a Christian must first ask, “Would this please and honor the Lord?” If the haunted house in question is merely a funhouse enjoyed with good friends, then attending may please the Lord. But if the haunted house is an indirect celebration of Satan’s power, it would definitely not please the Lord. Whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we must do it all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
We can address the haunted house question the same way we address questions about movies, dances, relationships, or speech: “Would I do this if Jesus were hanging out with me? Will this honor the Lord and support my reputation as His follower?” If we spend time with the Lord, we will instantly have the answer because we know God’s heart. A Christian should go to a haunted house if he or she will not need to leave Jesus at home.