Once again as we approach October 31 I would like to re-cap some of the discussion and thoughts on this issue, mainly the conversations that have taken place on Avoiding Evil over the years. I will do this by asking a series of questions and including my own thoughts on the issues.
Does the history and origin of this spooky holiday disqualify Halloween from being celebrated by Christians?
While it is true that the origin of Halloween dates all the way back to the Celts and has its beginnings in pagan ritual and superstitions, our celebration of Halloween is wholly different than what October 31st meant to the Celts. You cannot possibly compare the two. Honestly, we are attempting to compare the putting on of costumes and going door to door to collect candy with a festival in which you dress up in order to tell each others fortunes all while sacrificing animals to a false god. That’s an apples to oranges comparison. In America the celebration of Halloween is essentially a fun holiday. Things like pumpkins, ghosts, ghouls, and monsters have no significance other than nostalgia and entertainment.
If you are interested in the history of Halloween there is a lot of information on the internet. The point here is not to debate history. The question that needs to be answered here is whether or not the history or origin effects the practice of it. For Christians I think the biggest fear is the assumption that if you participate in celebrating Halloween then you are in essence practicing or participating in some type of cultic practice or demon worship.
I personally don’t believe Christians who want to celebrate Halloween have anything to worry about. The origin of Halloween does not negate the celebration of the American holiday, mainly because our current celebration of Halloween barely even resembles pagan ritualistic practices. Halloween is nothing more than good fun, enticing some of the basic human emotions like fear.
Is Halloween The Devil’s Holiday?
I have found that many “Christians” (and I use the term loosely) are against Halloween because they believe that it is indeed the Devil’s holiday. Essentially they have associated the celebration of Halloween with following the path of the “evil one”. I think this is quite laughable. Surely the “Father of Lies” has something a little more deceptive up his sleeve. If tricking Christians into celebrating Halloween is the Devil’s plan to thwart the mighty works of God then He obviously doesn’t have much of an imagination. I think the Devil could possibly be insulted at the thought of this silliness.
Maybe we’ve watched too much TV. Somehow the Devil gets lumped in together with monsters and ghosts and other “scary” things. We act as if the Devil comes to us in the form of a big monster or an ugly demonic creature that could cause some serious damage and make the bravest of us all cry like a baby. That isn’t a true image of Satan. He’s a little more sly, more subtle. We won’t see him coming. I think the places we will find the Devil most active are in human weaknesses like sex, money, power, etc… There are far more important things to exploit in the weaknesses of humanity than the celebration of Halloween and the possibility of a little too much chocolate.
We have a fascination with dark things that represent what we call evil, when in fact much of it doesn’t even exist. The realm of darkness, vampires, zombies, ghosts, goblins, and little evil princesses are simply a figment of our imagination created for our own entertainment.
Is Halloween “Doing What The Heathen Do?”
In 2004 someone responded to one of my posts about Halloween with “When the bible says ‘do not do as the heathen do’ it is a command, not a request.” Besides the obvious taking Scripture out of context, what is this person really saying? They are saying that Halloween is a practice of the heathen. My argument is that our American Halloween has no resemblance to the former pagan practices. We are not sacrificing animals to false gods or making some type of religious ritual out of the holiday. Besides if we were going to take that particular scripture passage in the way she used it we would simply have to stop existing. The heathen exist so we can’t. The heathen breathe so we can’t. The heathen go to wal-mart and buy groceries so we can’t. The heathen allow their children to dress up and “trick or treat” so we can’t. Make sense? No. Halloween is not a heathenistic pagan holiday that pays tribute to false gods.
Another commenter pointed to Exodus 32:4-10 to say that the Israelites got in trouble for adopting Egyptian religious practices and giving them a new name “a festival to God”. However, notice he said they adopted the “religious practices”. They did what the heathen were doing. They adopted the actual practices. We didn’t. I don’t believe that departed souls can cause mischief on Halloween and I’m not leaving candy at my door step to try to get the evil spirits away from my house. It isn’t the same. We didn’t adopt “religious practices”.
Can Christians Participate In Halloween In Good Conscience?
Yes. A lot of what this comes down to is motive and intention. Halloween is not any different than any other day. There is not like one set day that is evil or “Satan’s day” where Christians need to run and hide. We don’t celebrate Halloween with the thoughts of worshiping idols or the dead. The Bible teaches that God looks at the heart. If in your heart you truly mean evil, it doesn’t matter what day of the year it is on. I think that Christians can successfully celebrate and even utilize Halloween in a manner that glorifies Christ.