‘Counting On’: The Real Reason the Duggar Family Refuses to Celebrate Halloween

It’s officially autumn now, which means no one can judge you for ordering a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks or beginning the work of planning your Halloween costume. But even though most people are dusting off their skeleton decorations and digging out pumpkin carving kits, one famous family isn’t worried about finding cute costumes one bit. Just like always, the Duggars are skipping Halloween again this year.

Why aren’t the Duggars allowed to participate in such a fun fall holiday? Predictably, the reason has to do with their religion.

The Duggar kids grew up without celebrating Halloween

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar started the tradition of not participating in Halloween back when the older kids were still living at home. They’re part of many Christians who disagree with celebrating the holiday, which they claim has occult and evil practices associated with it.

“While we do go to pumpkin patches and corn mazes, we don’t do the Halloween thing,” Michelle Duggar wrote in a now-deleted blog post in 2011. “From the beginning of our marriage, we just kind of felt like we didn’t want to celebrate that holiday. But we enjoy the harvest celebration. Our church fellowship has had different celebrations through the years that we’ve been a part of, ones where the children can play games and receive candy and toys and do all kinds of fun things, like a cake walk.”

The Duggar family
The Duggar family | D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

The holiday we know as Halloween dates back thousands of years to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. It was a day when people believed ghosts returned to the earth, blurring the line between the world of the living and the dead. Halloween traditions have evolved over the centuries, but even the most innocent of these are still shunned by the Duggars.

The Duggar daughters explain how they avoid the ‘demonic realm’

In their 2014 memoir Growing Up Duggar, Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger further clarified their feelings about Halloween’s potential pitfalls. They also explained why you’ll never catch them participating in a Hocus Pocus movie marathon.  

“One specific thing that our parents have always been careful about is magic, which often shows up in children’s movies,” they wrote in the book. “As harmless as it may seem, it’s not a joke in God’s eyes. Magic, sorcery, witches, spell-casting and the like are all part of a demonic realm that God wants us to stay away from. No matter how ‘good’ a film containing magic may seem, God speaks seriously about this throughout the Bible; it is not something to be glorified or portrayed by any means as something fun or attractive.”

Will any of the Duggars ever celebrate Halloween?

If there’s one thing we learned about the Duggar family, it’s that rules are meant to be broken and not everything their parents did is the same in their households. So will we see Jinger and Jeremy Vuolo take Felicity trick or treating? Is there a chance Jessa and Ben Seewald will opt to dress their three kids in cute, innocent costumes on All Hallow’s Eve?

It’s unlikely. Considering that their memoir was only published a few years ago, it doesn’t seem like the Duggar family’s feelings about Halloween have changed much. But they do like dressing up any day of the year — like when the kids are playing, or on “Dress Like a Cow” day at their beloved fast-food restaurant Chick-fil-A.

Just don’t expect to see anyone from the Duggar crew trick-or-treating at your house!