Every since I became a Christian in 1988, I have loathed the Halloween holiday. While I love some horror movies, a good haunted house and even monsters, gouls and ghosts in general, something about celebrating a holiday that is steeped in pagan rites and rituals just doesn’t sit right with me as a follower of Christ.
So the question of whether to celebrate or even observe a holiday that in the United States has become the second most popular holiday next to Christmas can be a difficult one to deal with.
What about the Christian reading this? Do you celebrate or not? If not actually celebrating, do you participate and if so to what degree?
Before we answer these questions, let’s take a look at where Halloween came from in the first place.
Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the “Celtic New Year”. Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores.
The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the alive and the deceased dissolved, and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops.
The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them. Believe it or not, most of our Halloween practices can be traced back to these old pagan rites and superstitions.
As for the name “Halloween” it is shortened from All Hallows’ Even (both “even” and “eve” are abbreviations of “evening”, but “Halloween” gets its “n” from “even”) as it is the eve of “All Hallows’ Day”, which is now also known as All Saints’ Day.
It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints’ Day from May 13 (which had itself been the date of a pagan holiday, the Feast of the Lemures) to November 1.
In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints’ Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day.
Liturgically, the Church traditionally celebrated that day as the Vigil of All Saints, and, until 1970, a day of fasting as well. Like other vigils, it was celebrated on the previous day if it fell on a Sunday, although secular celebrations of the holiday remained on the 31st. The Vigil was suppressed in 1955, but was later restored in the post-Vatican II calendar.
Now one might argue that the Halloween we celebrate today, at least in the United States, is nothing like the pagan rituals it was derived from but rather an innocent time of the year to dress up in costumes, trick-or-treat, host or attend Halloween parties, visit haunted houses and mazes, watch horror flicks and otherwise enjoy the dark side of humanity including ghosts, witches, gouls, monsters and demons. And while that may sound innocent enough and non-serious to most, Halloween is a very sacred holiday to others.
For example, those who follow the Wicca religion consider Halloween to be one of eight holy days they observe throughout the year.
“Halloween, plain and simple is our favorite time of year,” writes one follower of Wicca on witchway.net. In fact they feel it is a true time for witches, Witchcraft itself, and Wiccans alike who feel that on this night the separation between the physical and spiritual realities is it’s least guarded and it’s veil the thinnest.
That same person goes on to write, “It is a time for dimensional openings and workings, it is a somber holiday, one of dark clothes and thoughts for the dead, it is said to be the time when those of necromantic talents can speak with the dead and it is certainly a time to remember ones own dead. Witches believe it is a time of endings of relationships and bad situations and it is the time when one can see the glimmer of hope in the future. There are as many concepts attached to this holiday as any other, truly a time of remembrance of our ancestors and all those who have gone before.”
What about other organizations? Is Wicca the only group of people that view Halloween in this manner?
Anton LaVey, author of The Satanic Bible and high priest of the Church of Satan states, “Satanists consider Halloween the most important day of the year. Satanic, occult and witchcraft powers are at their highest potency level…Satan and his powers are at their best that night.”
So if we know that Halloween is derived from ancient pagan rites and rituals and that at least two very non-Christian groups consider Halloween a sacred and holy day, should we as Christians celebrate it? If we do celebrate it, does that not violate 1Thessalonians 5:22 where it says, “Abstain from all appearance of evil” or even the common knowledge that to follow Christ is to be like Him and not live our lives in a paganistic fashion?
One would argue, “What about Christmas? That is a holiday derived from paganism as well,” to which I’d answer that I have my reservations about that holiday as well – Christ was not born on December 25th or even in the winter and the commercialism of Christmas with its Santa Clauses, elves, snowmen, reindeer, gift-giving and the like have nothing to do with the birth of the Son of God. But that is an entirely other post.
So what should a Christian do? I leave you to your own convictions but I choose certainly not to celebrate it and only to participate in it as little as I have to meaning, I give candy to trick-or-treaters. And that is mostly because I don’t want my house vandalized.
Yes I have visited haunted houses and even have visited Knott’s Scary Farm (Knott’s Berry Farm when it is haunted in October of each year) twice but I do not do these things in celebration of the holiday. It is simply that October is the time of year when these events are running.
An alternative to celebrating Halloween would be to have a Octoberfest or Fall party where you gather with friends and family and celebrate with food and fun. And that does not have to be necessarily held on October 31st either. Or do as I do and stay at home, hand out candy to the few trick-or-treaters that stop by and watch some good horror flicks (I say good because there are certain horror flicks no Christian should watch).
To celebrate the holiday to me is to contradict my faith and give praise to what is most definitely a darker side of humanity. I think we Christians today do enough of that already when we constantly fall prey to embracing the world around us as opposed to Christ.
How about you? If you are a Christian, do you feel my convictions are just a bunch of nonsense, stooped in silly superstitions? Or do you agree and either resist celebrating the holiday or find alternatives?
If you are not a Christian, do you think Christians should celebrate this holiday? I’d love to hear some various opinions and may I remind you that what I have written here are my own convictions. I do not force them on anyone but only ask if you are a follower of Christ, to pray-fully consider the facts that surround this holiday.
Halloween, St.Patricks Day, and Valentine’s Day are all holidays with religious pasts but not celebrated as a feast day. I have no issue with any of them and enjoy the spirit in which they’re celebrated. Bring on the goblins and candy!
This is a very good and interesting question. I’ve given some thought to this in the past, as well. And I don’t know that I come to the correct conclusion, but I do feel that there is a way in which this “holiday” can be participated without giving in to the pagan beliefs from which it is derived.
The first thing I think about with this is the fact that, as a Christian, I am not actually worshiping Satan or some other pagan “gods” as I do not believe they exist. Therefore, to me, the act of dressing up and going to homes in search of candy, while perhaps “going through the motions”, does not constitute worship. I think about:
“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;in vain do they worship me,…'””
Matt 15:8-9 (ESV)
To me, in light of this scripture, if we’re “going through the motions” but we’re not acknowledging these “gods” in any way, then it’s just a benign activity.
However, because there is obviously disagreement among Christians regarding this, another scripture comes to mind from 1 Cor…. 4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. 7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
1 Cor 8:4-13 (ESV)
So, here, I gather that we should respect those Christian brothers and sisters who choose not to dress up or go trick-or-treating as we do not want to cause them to stumble.
Another thing I would add is, if one is going to dress-up (or have children who dress up), I would certainly restrict costumes to something that does not portray the dead or any of the ghouls, ghosts, goblins, vampires, etc. that are always popular. Instead, I would recommend dressing children as Disney characters or even Biblical characters. I know one friend who, last year, dressed as John the Baptist and was handing out Bible tracts.
I agree that this is a very controversial subject for many Christians as we must be very careful that we do not blur the line between right and wrong. That being said, I may be completely in the wrong about my take as stated here. That is entirely possible, and perhaps that alone should be sufficient to avoid this “holiday.”
I’ve often been mixed on how to celebrate “Satan’s Birthday” as I enjoy calling it. I enjoy the dress-up, haunted houses, and the candy. We want our kids to enjoy the fun as well.
Can Christians celebrate Halloween without celebrating the meaning of Halloween? I say, why not?
Let’s consider Christmas. Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated by non-Christians and even atheist who don’t believe in Christ at all. Over the years it has become so secularized that the vast majority of people may only have a passing idea of what Christmas is even about.
Heck, even Christians enjoy the secularized parts of Christmas: trees, Santa, reindeer and a yearly watching of Scrooged!
The core idea of Christmas is celebrated only be a few, even by Christians, except for the special services at church.
So yeah, I think Christians can enjoy Halloween. It’s a bunch of fun, not a religious experience.
As a kid, my family went back and forth each year. One year we were dressing up as cowboys and collecting candy, then next year we held up in our house watching a movie, then it was back to the streets dressed up as something else. Of course, we never decorated our house other than carving pumpkins.
Personally, I think Halloween is the sickest, grossest “holiday” in our country. Regardless of its pagan origins (which, by the way, “pagan” comes from a greek word meaning “outside of the city dwellers/famers”), Halloween wasn’t always as sick and twisted as it is now, but at the same time that’s how Satan works: candy-coat evil until you’re desensitized to it, then put a little less coating on the top.
Our country legitimately has a fall harvest season and I’ve always appreciated the churches that put on “Harvest Festivals”. This seems like a legit way to use pumpkins, cornstalks, cornucopias, and cheap candy. Otherwise, in my household we do not celebrate Halloween because I have such a problem with what this particular holidy represents.
Still…I can’t help but take advantage of cheap candy deals this time of year. :o)
I do not see anything wrong w/ dressing up & getting free candy.
I do understand we have to be more careful than when I was a child. But we have so much funny running from house to house seeing who can get the most.
Every year I wrestle with the “what should we do” as a family on Halloween? I personally hate the holiday because it is SO “in your face” with glorifing the dark side of the spiritual realm. Being that Halloween is one of the “most holy” days for Satanists and those who participate in Withcraft, I ask, “why as Christians (those who ARE aware of the life and death battle that is taking place for the souls of those that Jesus died to save) do we take this day so lightly? Why do we see it as just another day to entertain ourselves?” I would hate the thought of being a “bearer” of Christ’s light and love but looking like everyone else out there…aren’t we called to be differet?
I am taking our kids tricker-or-treating, not becuase I like it, but because I’m trying to be balanced with being a follower of Christ and yet not being so repulsed with the “world” that I separate myself from the world. My kids are going as a bride and skateboarder. We’ll get some nummy candy but I intend to take some time to pray together as a family… that those who don’t know Jesus will be drawn to Him by His mercy and lovingkindness.
How can there be a question as to whether or not to celebrate Halloween? If there is a more blatant demonic holiday out there, I am not aware of it. The bible says we are to be in the world and not of it. Participating in a holiday so deep in satanic rituals should tell any logical BIBLE believing christian that they should have no part whatsoever with it.
This holiday (check any encyclopedia) originates from Celtic backgrounds of a “day of the dead” when people believed that spirits came out of their graves to inhabit other people. Occultists would put on masks to scare them away and set out jack-o-lanterns as well again to try to scare them away. They would also set out treat to appease them so they wouldn’t try to come into their house. Witches glorify this day as the first day of their new year.
For me and my house we will serve the Lord, not follow along with the crowd because we don’t want our house vandalized or are afraid of what other people will say if we do things different. As Christians, we are to be examples of Jesus. Ephesians 5:11 “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Do we really think that Jesus would approve of dressing kids up as anything (even “good” people) and going from door to door like the world and asking for candy? Orr going to haunted houses to expose yourself to demonic activity? The devil just needs a small open door to get into your life, and participating in halloween only makes it easier for the devil to get a foothold in your life and your family’s life.
This world is getting more and more wicked. Christians are allowing things in their lives because it is easier than standing up for what is TRUTH. . God requires us to be light and salt. We are to examples of those who do not know Christ, not followers of evil. Is. 5:20 Woe to those who call good evil and evil good. Allowing halloween into your life will be detrimental. We fight not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers.
Read your Bible, it does nothing but condemn the works of darkness, divination and the occult which is what this halloween is .
I don’t think this does fall under what you say as a conscience issue. Look at the history of this holiday, the basis by which this holiday is celebrated. What about this holiday honors God? If your conscience doesn’t bother you participating in halloween activities, then your conscience has been seared, which is just what the devil wants, again, calling evil good and good evil.. This world is being de-sensitized – allowing the goverment to take prayer out of schools, allowing same-sex marriages – halloween is just a small part of how we as Christians are allowing the world’s ways into our life and conforming to their beliefs, instead of Christians being the ones who are being the examples to those who do not know the truth. As much as the un-believing world enjoys this holiday should send up a flag to any bible-believing Christian that there should be something not right.
Fellow Christians, please don’t expose yourself to what this world calls an “innocent get-together”, participating in the worlds activities like halloween. Don’t just participate to fit in or to avoid being scorned by co-workers, friends or family. It’s a hard stand to take, but Jesus said, if you don’t love Him more than mother, father, brother, sister, EVEN your own life, then you can’t be His disciple.
1 Cor. 15:33 Evil communication corrupts good morals.
It seems to me that this issue falls pretty squarely with what Paul said about eating meat sacrificed to Idols. If it bothers you then don’t do it. If it brings offense to someone else then don’t do it. But if your conscious is clear then by all means enjoy.
My personal opinion, Christians should definetely not celebraye halloween. That is exactly how satan works, cover it up with different excuses. It say in the bible : Hosea4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…,
yes and then to celebrate cristmas and easter with a worldly view is also wrong. You should remember the birth, death and that Jesus overcome death every day of your life.
We are talking about 2 separate issues here. What Paul was talking about are issues that are not essential to salvation. The occult, divination and all that is behind halloween are things that the bible clearly says that those who participate will not inherit eternal life.
When you say you are not participating mentally, what does that mean? The demonic spirits that are associated with halloween do not need you mental participation in order to have an open door into your mind.
If what you say is true, that you aren’t mentally participating and that makes it ok, then literally any action could be considered as ok like pornography, cheating, stealing. It’s ok if I am just not “mentally” participating.
Rich, I certainly respect your opinions. Please explain how this in no way correlates to Paul saying it’s OK to eat meat sacrificed to idols. That’s pretty explicit. My understanding is it comes down to your heart and mind, not the “action” itself. The action of eating meat sacrificed to idols is just that, the action of eating. On the other hand, if the action of eating that meat makes you feel as if you are contributing to the worship of the pagon gods the meat was sacrificed to, then you absolutely should not do it.
Halloween seems to fall squarely in that arena. If can participate in dress-up and have my kids collect free candy,and know full well we are not mentally participating in a heathen activity, then all is well.
On the other hand, those that do feel strongly about it absolutely should not participate.
It seems as though I am not going to convince you of the demonic aspects of this holiday and no matter what the participation, it affects you or anyone spiritually. I am grieved to hear how you can be a part of this demonic holiday and compare it to eating meats or not. Paul was bringing that up to keep people from causing others to stumble, again, not an essential issue in regards to salvation.
This is a prime example of how we have allowed the worlds traditions (which is what this is) to become the norm. Easter and Christmas are also examples of this, but I don’t have time to go into those at this time. Halloween, is such a blatantly satanistic holiday, why would any Christian want to be associated with it in any way? Where is the benefit? How does it glorify God? God is not it AT ALL?
And yes, you can look at pornography without looking at sex, because nude men or women do not have to be engaging in sex for it to be pornagraphy. .
This all goes back to allowing the world’s views and traditions mold people’s mind instead of being grounded in the Word of God.
Just as one can eat meat sacrificed to idols and not be participatory in the sacrifice, one can go trick or treating without being participatory in the demonology. Now if someone can steal without stealing or look at pornography without looking at sex and nudity, then you’ve got a valid argument.
I perfectly agree with your submissions. While I quite appreciate your softness of language and giving people the opportunity to make their minds, I make bold to support your views.I believe your views are inspired by the Spirit of God.
The real question boils down to who dwells within. If the Spirit of Christ dwells within any individual, that Spirit will certainly not endorse any of those celebrations… halloween, christmas etc.
The fact is that the salt is losing it’s savour!! no wonder Jesus wondered whether he would find ‘faith ‘ on his return to earth.
Your observations I believe were well-researched and your submissions brilliant and spiritual. God bless you!!
As a Wiccan who has come from a Christian background, I found your concerns quite understandable. I honor your desire to be true to Christ.
I am now a practicing Wiccan but I believe very much in Jesus Christ as do a lot of Wiccan’s that I know. I have been told before that I have no right to believe in Christ if Im not a Christian, but the fact that I do believe in Christ, does that make me a Christian, even though I say I am Wiccan. I grew up in the Christian faith and I spent most of my life feeling very uncomfortable, because just about every Christian that I knew felt that it was their right to belittle and demean others, I found that quite astonishing because I knew that Jesus never taught us that, he was gentle and kind, he taught with love and conviction, not fear and power. For a long time before I found my Wiccan path, if people asked me what religion I was, I had trouble answering them, I felt ‘my religion is with God’. I was too ashamed to call myself a Christian. In my experience most Christians are the most hypocritical people I have ever known, and I was not prepared to be like them. So I took my love for Jesus and I walked away from the Church. The Church is not Christ. It is manmade and man run.
For one thing, Wiccan’s don’t believe in the devil, the devil himself was actually created by the Christians of long ago. Satanist are opposing God by honoring his opposite. Wiccan’s do not do that, they believe in God in every aspect, which is why we honor all that God/Goddess created, we celebrate life by living with the Earth and celebrating the Wheel of the Year. These celebrations are called Sabbats, of which Samhain is one. The progression of birth, life, decline and death, as experienced in human lives, is echoed in the progression of the seasons. Wiccans also see this cycle as echoing the life, death and rebirth of God and the Goddess.
As an Australian we have to celebrate the Christian holidays at the same time as the Northern Hemisphere, which goes against nature in this part of the world, when it is spring over there is Autumn here, so most Australian Wiccans celebrate opposite to everyone else. We are coming up to our Samhain Celebration on the 30 of April, so that is where my thoughts are now, it is a time to honor my loved ones who have passed on and it is a time to reflect within, and to reassess my life, what I have accomplished in the last year, what changes I want to bring about within the next year, It is a beautiful time where we do celebrate the dead as the Earth herself does, everything dies and everything will be reborn again in Spring, the earth is going to sleep, everything around us is dying but it is not a time for fear, because we know that this is the way of life, everything and everyone has a cycle and come next spring (Ostara) (Easter), the flowers will be blossoming, the birds will be singing and we ourselves will feel energized and refreshed. Im sure if you research all 8 of the Pagan festivals you will find that, as a Christian you also celebrate them. The Christian forefathers just changed a few details to encourage people to follow their faith. In knowing that, it proves that they were not at all concerned that God would not be happy with them.
Some comments I have read astound me, as far as the term dark side, it refers to more than death, why is it that people think death is evil, and is all about their devil, it is a natural part of life, what do you think of Winter, that is when the Earth goes to sleep, it is called the dark half of the year, does that make Winter evil. As human beings none of us are completely positive or completely negative, you cannot have one without the other. I am overwhelmed with the vehemence coming from people who call themselves Christians, I have read the bible many times and if you really follow Jesus’ teaching, you would not be so judgmental. Judge as you wish to be judged. Most comments that I have read are coming from a place of pure fear and ignorance of the real facts, you find a couple of myths and expand it to the point of silliness. No real witch dresses or behaves as you portray them, this merely reflects your own ignorance.
I truly believe that each human being is on their own individual journey and we all have different needs, I believe that all religions have a place on this planet and each person should be able to honor God/Goddess in whatever way he/she feels comfortable, because you are right Ty, when you say that some things don’t sit right with you, we don’t like the idea of insulting God by believing something that we shouldn’t, unfortunately we have spent to long listening to what someone else wants us to believe of Christ, instead of sitting back and reflecting within and listening to what Jesus really has to tell you as an individual and that is, God/Goddess loves us completely, and our biggest concern should be to work together as fellow souls for the greater good of all. My Uncle Gary, who was a Christian, used to tell me to go and sit under a tree and talk to God, he made the tree, a man made the Church. How right he was.
As a Wiccan I find the Ritual and worship actually more profound than that of Church, you live your worship in love and harmony with the planet and everyone on it, we believe that we are completely 100% responsible for our own actions, which makes you very careful about how you treat others, because we are aware that we will be held accountable. So don’t be so hard on yourself, God knows your heart, as Jesus taught treat others as you would treat me. Really look at Jesus’ teachings, not those that came after him. ‘They’ as ‘we’ are merely human.
The decision is simple to me. All year round I do all I can to prevent my children from viewing anything scary, gory or ungodly on television (or anywhere else for that matter.) Stating that, how could I then take my kids out on Halloween night when costumes, decorations etc… are all about everything I have been teaching them was wrong to watch or participate in. Its that simple to me. We dont participate.
I noticed that you said most of the comments are coming out of ignorance or pure fear of the “real facts.” You are right when you say that each of us is on their own journey, but those without Christ as their savior will all face the same judgement and those with Christ as their savior will all enjoy eternal life with Him. By the way it is GOD, not goddess. God is never implied as a woman, that is something that you need to research if there is a problem.
But back to the issue at hand. What about this holiday glorifies God? NOTHING! The demonic Celtic background itself makes it pretty clear. We are to be salt and light to this dark world that we live in. Even dressing up as “good” characters shows that you are participating and does not separate you from the world. Again, “we are to be in the world, but not of it.” Believe me, I realize this is hard, I have to explain my beliefs every year about Halloween, Christmas, Easter and every once in a while I get scorned or shunned, even from family, but God requires that we love Him more than these. Not that we can’t love our family, but we love God more.
My fellow Christians, lets not let the world determine what we believe. The bible is very clear that we should have no part in the unfruitful works of darkness. If there were ever a “holiday” that exemplifies the unfruitful works of darkness, halloween is it.
Aiming to serve the Lord in everything I do,
Halloween is nothing more than the celebration of the changing of the season, and the time to remember the loved ones that we have lost. Do research on all holidays, the majority; even Christmas has been taken from pagan holidays of the past. Sure there are some people that take things a little too far, but that is true with everything.
Thank you di for such a level headed response, other than this nonsense I have been reading.
Nonsense? Read your Bible! You are correct in saying Christmas and Easter are taken from pagan holidays and I don’t celebrate those. I celebrate Jesus’ death, which without christians would have no hope for eternal life. The bible says nothing of celebrating His birth, especially the way this world “celebrates” it.
As far as halloween goes, it is far from a celebration of the changing of seasons. What about the holiday celebrates the changing of seasons. And to remember the loved ones lost is fine, but if you are sure where they are, then we should rejoice, not set a place at a table for them and mourn as the world does. I don’t mourn as the world does because I know where my loved ones who are SAVED are. The ones who do not have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, those are the ones I mourn for, God only knows whether they are with Him or not.
Please people, don’t let this world’s traditions mold you and form your opinions and your beliefs. Participating in this holiday only allows the devil a foothold into your life. There is no benefit to this holiday, nor does it glorify God in any way.