Is Halloween for Christians?
Every year, Americans spend over 6.9 billion dollars on Halloween alone. Imagine all the good that could be done with that kind money!
Kids dressed up as witches, ghosts, demons, and other ghoulish creatures yelling out "Trick or Treat!"
Decorations filled with skeletons, vampires, and evil-looking pumpkins.
Parties involving scary stories, horror movies, fortune telling, and haunted houses.
Rebellious teenagers soaping windows, smashing pumpkins, throwing eggs, and vandalizing property.
No one can deny that Halloween is mainly focused on fear, darkness, monsters, the occult and violence. Are these the kinds of things that we should be exposing our children or ourselves to? Paul said that Christians should "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Ephesians 5:11) He also wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 that we are to "Keep away from every kind of evil." (New Living Translation)
Halloween is a holiday that glorifies that which is dark, that which is diabolical. The Bible tells us that we have been called out of darkness and into the marvelous light of Christ (1 Peter 2:9). Jesus wants to lift us above the paganism and wickedness of this world (John 17:14-15). How are we to let our lights shine (Matthew 5:14-16) if we are relishing in a custom that promotes darkness? "And what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14). Our delight and meditation should be on that which is pure, lovely, and virtuous (Philippians 4:8).
The Bible is clear: God is opposed to occultish practices (Deuteronomy 18:10-12, Galatians 5:20, Revelation 21:8). You can also read in Acts 19:18-19 about Christians who renounced all dealings with the occult after they accepted Jesus as their Savior.
Isn't it just harmless fun?
But is Halloween really that bad? While everyone knows that it's a yearly celebration, what is it actually a celebration of? Let's take a brief look at it's roots and origins...
You may be surprised to know that Halloween is actually a very religious day, but not in the true Christian sense. Halloween originally dates back thousands of years ago to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st, which marked the end of the summer harvest and the beginning of the dark winter. This supposedly was the time when their sun god, Muck Olla, was losing his strength, since the leaves were dying and the days were getting shorter. They believed that on the night before their new year, the spirits and demons were at the peak of their power and this was the time when the ghosts of the dead revisited the earth to possess and haunt the people.
The Celts believed that the laws of nature were suspended on this night, which allowed the dead and the powers of darkness to freely interact with the rest of the world. In order to avoid being possessed, the Celts would dress up in hideous costumes and parade around town, making all kinds of noise and wreaking havoc in an effort to scare away the evil spirits. The Druid priests would lead the villagers in diabolical worship ceremonies where offerings were burnt over their "sacred" bonfires. Some accounts speak of human sacrifices, the demon possessed being burned at the stake, and all kinds of magic. The people would leave delicacies and wine outside their homes so that the spirits would not "trick" or curse them.
But if these paganistic practices happened so long ago (dating back to about 2500 years ago) then how is it that many of these customs have been carried all the way down to our day in age?
By the first century A.D., the Romans had conquered much of the Celtic territory and they adopted a great deal of these traditions as their own. Since the Catholic church sprang up in the heart of Rome and became the official religion of the Roman Empire, many pagan rituals were unfortunately incorporated by the church as a way of making Catholicism more appealing to the heathen (remember, this was the beginning of the "the Dark Ages").
In the 6th century, "Gregory the Great (A.D. 540-604) advised the Archbishop of Canterbury to retain the hitherto Druid sacrifices and celebrate them in honor of the Christian saints" (Occult ABC, Kurt Koch, p. 87).
During the 7th century, in an attempt to replace the Celtic festival with a similiar, but "holier" holiday, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 as a time to honor "saints and martyrs" and called it "All Saints' Day". This celebration was also known as All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from the Middle English word "Alholowmesse", which means All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.
Then in the year 1000, the Catholic church set up November 2 to be All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated much like Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, while the people dressed up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. The three celebrations (the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls') were combined and called Hallowmas.
Since the Catholics believed that their departed loved ones were in a state of limbo known as purgatory, this festival of the dead was significant. They would go from house to house begging for "soul cakes". The more cakes they received, the more prayers they would offer for the dead relatives of those who gave the cakes. These practices were encouraged by the church, but were based on superstition rather than the truth of the Bible.
But What About Today?
Even though these traditions were taken up by the misguided church, that doesn't mean that they are any less dangerous today. The roots of Halloween are still just as corrupt and sinister as they ever have been. And "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one! " (Job 14:4) The fact remains that Halloween is still considered by the occult world as a special day of darkness.
Notice what some secular books about the occult say concerning Halloween:
"It is the time when the dead and the living and the unborn children step outside the circle of time to meet, to talk and to exchange information. The door of the circle is left open and a place is laid with rich food and wine to be offered to the Goddess when she joins her worshipers, who are her children" (Magic For The Aquarian Age, Marian Green, p. 131).
"At this time the power of the underworld is unleashed, and spirits are supposedly freed to roam about the earth; it is considered the best time to contact spirits" (Halloween and Satanism, P. Phillips and J.H. Robie, p. 146).
"There is another religious group which is equally serious about its Halloween celebrations: the satanists. Halloween to them is a more sinister and direct celebration of death and Satan; they celebrate [it] as one of his two highest holy days. At Halloween the sacrifices of some of these satanic cults are unspeakably vicious and brutal" (Like Lambs To The Slaughter, Johanna Michaelsen, p.190).
Is it for Christians?
We're not going to tell you what you should or shouldn't do since every Christian must be persuaded in his or her own conscience about this type of matter, but to us, Halloween doesn't sound like anything we want to be associated with. Halloween emphasizes violence, but Jesus emphasizes peace and gentleness (Titus 3:2 & Luke 2:14). Halloween emphasizes fear and terror, but God emphasizes tranquility, rest, assurance, and love (Psalm 23, 2 Timothy 1:17, 1 John 4:18). Halloween emphasizes death and destruction, but God emphasizes life and restoration (John 3:16, Ezekiel 33:11, Jeremiah 30:17). There's just no getting around the fact that Halloween is opposed to God's character and ways.
But are there alternatives? Of course! Just because you're a child of God doesn't mean that you should slam the door in the face of the Trick or Treaters and scream "We're Christians! We don't celebrate Halloween!!". Is that how Jesus would treat them? Not at all. The Bible tells us that we should "overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21). Offer your visitors a toothbrush, a healthy treat, or, better yet, invite them in for a Bible study on the love of God.
Perhaps your church will want to hold a special Harvest Celebration in order to provide the kids with a wholesome alternative to Halloween. Maybe a special prayer meeting in order to intercede for the satanists and witches who honor Halloween as a religious holiday. How about a fall food drive to help the needy in your area?
Whatever you do, remember to "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:10-13)
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