Halloween, also known as “Fright Night,” “All Souls Day,” “All Hallows Eve,” or “All Saint’s Day,” is a holiday wrought with contention, controversy and confusion for many believers. Do they allow their children to join in Halloween festivities, partake in neighborhood regalia and even festivals — or do they instead take a stand against a seemingly evil holiday?
Well, to properly answer that question, one has to first contemplate the history of the event. What are the origins of this spook-filled celebration, and is there any room for believers to partake?
Halloween was originally inspired by pre-Roman Celtic tribes living in the British Isles and other parts of mainland Europe. The holiday celebrated the end of summer, and was marked by sacrifices made to the Druidic gods. It was also the beginning of the Celtic year and those in Britain and France used to believe Samhain, the lord of death, would send evil spirits to attack humans during this time. Apparently, these poor souls could escape if they assumed disguises and instead went looking for the spirits themselves. It was believed that the approach of the dark winter nights and the waning of the summer sun gave the evil spirits great joy, and caused much merriment among those wishing to do evil. It is these superstitions and rites, all of which have pagan origins, upon which modern Halloween is based.
One might wonder why a day so steeped in evil would ever be associated with “saints.” This came about due to the efforts of fourth century Christians. They attempted to co-opt the celebration as it were and decided to make it a day/time to celebrate the lives of various saints. The attempt was meant to move the holiday away from a focus on witches, ghosts, goblins, ghouls and instead provide a “good” or “wholesome” reason to celebrate during this time of the year, providing an alternative for believers.
In today’s western culture, it is extremely difficult for a family with young children to avoid Halloween in some form. Therefore, many Christian families have decided to allow their children to participate in dress-up, provided the costumes they choose are nice, such as a cowboy, superman, a pumpkin, a princess, etc. In addition, many churches provide an “alternative” for their communities and congregation members by hosting fall festivals — or “Trunk or Treats” — in their parking lots. The idea is to create boundaries within which believers can still allow their kids to get candy and play games without the demonic elements that sometimes surround Halloween.
While the Bible doesn’t address the celebration of Halloween in particular, it does speak on how believers are to conduct themselves in everyday life. In Philippians 4:8, the Bible says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Ephesians 5:11, which says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them,” is yet another verse worth noting. Of course, Halloween in the historic sense doesn’t exactly fit these verses in terms of what believers are supposed to think about or take part in.
Perhaps the greatest knock of all on Halloween is the fact that Wicca, the religious form of witchcraft, considers Halloween to be a sacred day. Therefore, Halloween provides a prime opportunity for those who practice witchcraft to embrace the dark, devilish, evil, spiritual side. Wiccans embrace and promote the historic Celtic origin of the holiday, and even go so far as worshiping Samhain, the lord of death.
In conclusion, each believer will have to decide for themselves whether or not they will abstain or participate in the celebration of Halloween in some form. Suffice it to say that there is evil in this world, and Halloween is a holiday that can be used to promote and even glorify evil. That’s not to say believers can’t still have fun, eat candy, play games and even get dressed up, though. They might just have to get creative in order to keep their kids away from the darker elements associated with the day.
~ 1776 Christian