Every year at Halloween, well-meaning parents dress their children in grotesque and ghoulish costumes. Is Halloween really harmless? Who and what's behind this bizarre holiday?
It all looks like so much fun and seems so harmless: jack-o'-lanterns, grotesque grinning masks, long black witch attire with pointed black hats, costumes painted like skeletons, outfits that represent demons and goblins, and children going door to door, soliciting treats from compliant neighbors.
But when Halloween comes around, do you find yourself yearning for the hours to pass until the whole trick-or-treat farce is over? If you don't, you should!
Halloween's not-so-fun side
Since when is it acceptable for little children to threaten to commit vandalism?
What happens if the homeowner doesn't come to the door or doesn't have the treats the kids might expect? Is it permissible for children to then soap his windows, toilet paper his trees, chalk mark his sidewalk or turn over plants as they leave? When is it okay for children to commit vandalism while on another person's property?
Isn't it about time for all well-meaning citizens to just say NO to Halloween?
The clergy, in general, hasn't stood against it. Some churches even have Halloween parties. Some citizens do speak up against it, as the letters to the editor in your newspaper occasionally show.
Is Halloween simply good, clean fun, or is it something else entirely? You need to know!
God is giving a wake-up call to professing Christians. As it was with those the prophet Elijah addressed in his day, so it is with us: "'How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.' But the people answered him not a word" (1 Kings 18:21). What will it take for Christians to accept and stand for God's truth rather than harmful traditions that originated in paganism?
Where did Halloween originate?
Just where did Halloween come from, and why is it so widely celebrated?
The Encyclopedia of Religion explains: "Halloween is the name for the eve of Samhain, a celebration marking the beginning of winter as well as the first day of the New Year within the ancient Celtic culture of the British Isles. The time of Samhain consisted of the eve of the feast and the day itself (31 October and 1 November).
"On this occasion, it was believed that a gathering of supernatural forces occurred as during no other period of the year. The eve and day of Samhain were characterized as a time when the barriers between the human and supernatural worlds were broken. Otherworldly entities, such as the souls of the dead, were able to visit earthly inhabitants, and humans could take the opportunity to penetrate the domains of the gods and supernatural creatures.
"Fiery tributes and sacrifices of animals, crops, and possibly human beings were made to appease supernatural powers who controlled the fertility of the land . . . Samhain acknowledged the entire spectrum of nonhuman forces that roamed the earth during the period" (1987, pp. 176-177, "Halloween").
On this holiday "huge bonfires were set on hilltops to frighten away evil spirits . . . The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature" ( The Encyclopaedia Britannica , 15th edition, Micropaedia, Vol. 4, p. 862, "Halloween").
It was, bluntly put, a day devoted to appeasing demonic spirits and the dark side of the spirit world—something no Christian should have any part in (Ephesians 5:11).
So how did this dark celebration continue into modern times? Sadly, Halloween came down to us from the Roman Catholic Church, which assigned a day of each year to each of their saints. When it reached the point that they had more than 365, they then combined them together on Nov. 1 and called it "All Saints Day" or "All Hallows Day"—the night before being "All Hallows Eve" or "Hallow Even" (holy evening), contracted to the name Hallowe'en or Halloween.
Why did they choose this particular day? Again The Encyclopedia of Religion explains: "Samhain remained a popular festival among the Celtic people throughout the christianization of Great Britain . The British church attempted to divert this interest in pagan customs by adding a Christian celebration to the calendar on the same date as Samhain. The Christian festival, the Feast of All Saints, commemorates the known and unknown saints of the Christian religion just as Samhain had acknowledged and paid tribute to the Celtic deities" (p. 177).
Thus a pagan celebration was relabeled as Christian.
The Bible versus Halloween
You cannot find any support for Halloween in your Bible, because God is adamantly opposed to it and the pagan, occult practices it revels in. He warns His people to have nothing to do with these (Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:10-12). They blind us from the truth of God.
God does not take Halloween lightly. As He says, "Learn not the way of the heathen" (Jeremiah 10:2, King James Version). And, "Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise'" (Deuteronomy 12:30).
God will not always remain tirelessly patient with those who insist on celebrating harmful and superstitious customs such as Halloween. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance . . . What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God" (2 Peter 3:9-12, New International Version).
The author of Halloween
The author of sin and death, Satan the devil, is also the behind-the-scenes author of pagan customs like Halloween. Jesus said that Satan is a liar and the father of all lies (John 8:44). God is the God of the living, not the dead (Matthew 22:31-32). He is the God of not only true Christians alive today but, because of the certainty of the coming resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15), of those who will yet live when raised from death. So certain is this resurrection that to God it is looked on as an accomplished fact (see Romans 4:17).
Conversely, Satan is the "lord of the dead." Hebrews 2:14 says of Jesus Christ that "only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death" (New Living Translation).
Satan is the lord of the dead in that he leads people by his lies and influence into the way of death and, as the next verse shows, puts them in bondage to the fear of death.
He has foisted Halloween on ignorant people and even well-meaning Christians in a subtle and deceitful way, perpetuating it through the Catholic Church with a "Christian" mask that hides its demonic origins.
Can people make Halloween harmless?
When it comes to Halloween—or any other holiday for that matter—you should ask yourself, "Did God make man in His image, or did God intend man to remake God in man's image?" Now that's a sobering thought.
The religious excuse for perpetuating Halloween might be that, as we've seen, church leaders long ago called it a "holy evening" for all the Catholic saints who had no day assigned to them. But face it: People who celebrate this evening today couldn't care less about such religious notions. All they think about is instant gratification, to follow the pack with everyone else and to have some fun.
The Encyclopedia of Religion goes on to say: "Modern Halloween activities have centered on mischief making and masquerading in costumes, often resembling otherworldly characters. Folk customs, now treated as games [such as bobbing for apples], have continued from the various divination practices of the ancient celebrants of this occasion. Supernatural figures [such as the ghost, the witch, the vampire, the devil] play a key role in supplying an aura of the mysterious to the evening, whether or not they originally had an association with the festival.
"Children are particularly susceptible to the imagery of Halloween, as can be seen in their fascination with the demonic likeness of a carved and illuminated pumpkin, known as the jack-o'-lantern. In recent times, children have taken up the practice of dressing in Halloween costumes and visiting homes in search of edible and monetary treats, lightly threatening to play a trick on the owner if a treat is not produced" (p. 177).
Halloween is one of many human traditions that cloud biblical teachings and keep people in the dark from God's truth that can set us free (John 8:32). It is not a harmless holiday for you or for your children. God warns us to avoid it and to follow His ways, because He hates for us to dabble in the spirit world of Satan and his demons! Instead, as God tells us in Isaiah 66:2, "On this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word."