Fall is upon us. There is a chill in the weather and leaves are changing the landscape into a fantastic display of color. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, a question has arisen in my family. Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
The question arose when local churches began announcing trunk-or-treat events. My kids have several friends that participate in the holiday and were being encouraged to get involved.
I grew up celebrating Halloween and had initially continued the tradition with my own children. We eventually abandoned the practice of door-to-door trick-or-treating and chose to participate in church harvest parties.
One year, over a decade ago, I drove through my suburban neighborhood and felt great spiritual unease at the Halloween decorations being displayed. I felt challenged to research the history of the holiday.
Halloween is celebrated each year on October 31st. The tradition originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The day marked the end of harvest and summer and the beginning of winter with dark shorter days. Celts believed the boundary between the living and the dead became blurred on this night, and that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. It was believed to be the best night to channel spirits, and the Druids, or Celtic priests, could better make predictions of the future. The people would light bonfires and wear costumes and masks, often made from animal heads and skins, to ward off stray spirits. Animals were sacrificed and in some instances humans.
Although the Celtics feared ghosts, any channeling that occurred would have been with demons. Those who have died cannot come back to earth. Jesus shared a parable in Luke that spoke of the dead.
Between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us. Luke 16:26
Wiccans recognize and celebrate Samhain as their New Year holiday on October 31st. They believe the wall between the earth and the underworld is thin during this time of year, and that it opens on Halloween night. They believe the lord of darkness rises from the underworld and roams the earth looking for lost souls. A traditional wiccan celebration includes honoring nature, honoring the dead, performing rituals, casting spells, making bonfires, and communicating with spirits.
Those practicing satan worship suggest Halloween is not an important holiday for them. On the website of the church of satan, it is stated that on this holiday they enjoy when the masses reach down inside to touch the darkness. They like that children of all ages can wear costumes and engage in role-playing that they say, “releases their demonic core.” I prefer not to add a link to their website. You can search it yourself if you would like to fact-check.
Other sources I’ve read in the past cite there are satanic rituals performed on Halloween. Some include sacrifice and the drinking of blood. The practice is in conflict with scripture.
Any Israelite or any alien living among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.” Leviticus 17:13-14
Halloween became widely celebrated in North America during the 19th century. Initially observed by Irish and Scottish immigrants, it slowly spread to mainstream society. Traditions and symbols have changed over the years. For example, in Ireland, a turnip was used for carving. In America, during the 1800s, the pumpkin was used as it was softer and easier to carve. The holiday has grown in popularity with heavy commercial influence.
Should Christians celebrate Halloween:
There are spiritual rituals happening during Halloween, and they are not of God. Dressing our children in cute costumes, or playing tricks to invoke a sense of fear, does not change the meaning of this holiday. There are many scriptures to be on guard against the enemy and to avoid evil. A holiday rooted in occultic practices is evil.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Avoid every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:21
Many churches hold harvest parties or trunk-or-treat events as an alternative to trick-or-treating. I understand the desire to provide a safe place for kids, but it is not a holiday the church should promote.
I respect that many of the church events are used for evangelism. With the leading of the Lord, the right heart, and heavy prayer coverage, I believe there is an opportunity to share our faith. If the decor is Halloween themed and the congregants are dressed in costumes, is it not just conforming to the holiday?
My conviction is that this holiday is not for my family. What do you think, should Christians celebrate Halloween?