Should Christian Celebrate Halloween?
It’s that time of year again. Vampires, ghouls, ghosts and skeletons will be haunting our doorways. American retailers celebrate a 12 billion (Billion with a b) dollar a year candy, card, decorations and costume business ($1.5 billion in Canada).
Before deciding to celebrate or not celebrate any holiday, it is important to understand the history of that holiday. Halloween’s roots come from the ancient Celts, a tribe living about 2,000 years ago in the areas that are now Ireland, Great Britain and northern France. The Celts were first described as a fierce, warlike, terrifying people, many of whom would have strings of human heads tied on their bridles. Halloween was their main holiday a festival that honored the the end of the harvest. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. It has some elements of a festival of the dead. The Gaels the dead could reach back through the veil that separated them from the living. The custom of wearing costumes and masks, was an attempt to copy the spirits or placate them. Encyclopedia Britannica, 11 edition, Volume 12 says:
“It was a Druidic belief that on the eve of this festival, Saman, lord of death, called together the wicked souls that within the past 12 months had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals…” (pp. 847-858)
Yearbook of English Festivals by Dorothy Gladys Spicer says:
“All Hallows’ Eve or All Hallow E’en, with its tradition of witches, ghosts, hobgoblins and spirits, its games and incantations, still is a gay time for pranks and parties in many North country homes. Fun-loving Americans have borrowed from their British ancestors many Hallow E’en games such as apple-bobbing, nut roasting and tossing of apple parings. Transplanted to the New World soil, the old practices have become revitalized, and currently are observed with more enthusiasm than in the country of their birth.”
“To ancient Druids, the end of October commemorated the festival of the waning year, when the sun began his downward course and ripened grain was garnered from the fields.” “Samhain, or ‘Summer’s End,’ as this feast to the dying sun was called, was celebrated with human sacrifice, augury and prayers; for at this season spirits walked, and evil had power over souls of men.” “Not until the fourth century did the pagan vigil for the god of light give way to All Hallows, the mass for Christian saints; and not until the tenth, did the Druids’ death feast become All Souls’ the day of prayer for souls that had entered rest. Cakes for the dead were substituted for human sacrifice, fortune-telling for heathen augury, lighted candles for the old Baal fires.”
Halloween in the United States
In the United States, many early American settlers brought with them various customs such as the above. However, because of Christianity among so many of the settlers, Halloween celebrations were not celebrated until the 1800’s when several immigrants from Ireland and Scotland introduced their Halloween customs. They brought various beliefs about ghosts and witches with them. Other groups added their own cultural influences to Halloween customs.
German immigrants brought a vivid witchcraft lore, and Haitian and African peoples brought their native voodoo beliefs about black cats, fire, and witchcraft. All Saints Day, a day the seventh century church set aside for remembering early Christians who died for their beliefs, was first celebrated in the month of May. By the year 900 the date was combined with the pagan rituals to be celebrated November 1.
Another name for All Saints Day was All Hallows. October 31 was known as All Hallows Eve which was shortened to Halloween. The church made a grave mistake trying to combine pagan worship with Christianity. This is not scriptural! Because of that unwise decision, Halloween remains a holiday in America today. Scriptures warn us that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the third and fourth generations.
You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me. Exodus 20:5.
Those who disregard God’s warning and make contact with occult spirits risk terrible repercussions in the form of misery, sickness, insanity and even early death. Why do people living in this age, especially Christians, desire to be a part of any ungodly worship? This pagan belief, even celebrated by Christian churches, celebrates the union of gods and a goddess in the universe that supposedly control the seasons, bring fertility to crops and animals, and bestow magical powers on their followers.
What Does the Bible Say About Pagan Celebrations?
Although the Bible doesn’t specifically mention Halloween by name, it makes it very clear that the origins and practices of Halloween (adapting pagan customs or borrowing the ways of those who worship a false god and using them to worship the true God) are detestable to God. Deuteronomy 12:29-32.
The Bible clearly teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
More Than A Celebration
Halloween is not just a time for cornstalks, pumpkins, apples and cute and not-so-cute costumes. There is much, much more. Ask yourself:
- How would you feel if your spouse kept photos of his or her former girlfriend of boyfriend?
- How would you feel if he or she celebrated an anniversary of special times with another after marrying you?
- Our God is a jealous God demanding exclusive devotion (Exodus 20:5). Do you think He cares if you encourage your children to partake in a holiday that honors Satan, the god of this world?
How Do You Deal With Halloween?
Candy wrappers and bag toppers with Scripture is one way to witness to neighborhood children
Did your family put away Halloween? How did your children handle the decision? How does your church handle this holiday? Is there anything wrong with compromising and promoting a Christian Halloween? Boo…Humbug
Autumn Bible Journaling