Children in scary costumes…bobbing for apples at a party…candy and treats galore. Sound familiar? Bring back any warm and wonderful memories? For many people, this is what Halloween is all about. It’s a lot of harmless fun that everyone enjoys on the 31st of October.
However, when you take an honest look at Halloween, one has to wonder if it is actually as harmless as it seems. This is especially true when you consider its origin and the symbolism of its many practices.
This post is designed to help you come to an understanding of Halloween in the light of historical and Biblical truth. All I ask is that you examine its contents carefully and prayerfully.
THE ORIGIN OF HALLOWEEN
It all began many centuries ago in the British Isles among a group known as the Druids. The Druids worshipped many gods and believed in the immortality of the soul. Every year they celebrated a festival in honour of their god Samhain, lord of the dead. It was believed that the spirits of the dead returned to visit the living during the evening of the festival. Great bonfires were lit to guide these ghostly visitors and to ward off evil spirits roaming the countryside. Traditional Halloween fires were still being lighted in Scotland as late as the 19th century.
The name “Halloween” (or Hallowe’en) is a contraction derived from All Hallows Eve. When Christianity came to the British Isles, the Catholics celebrated All Saints Day (All Hallows) on November 1st. The festival of Samhain fell on the day before, the eve of All Hallows. It eventually became known as Hallows evening, or, Halloween.
One of the practices during this festival was for the Druids to roam the countryside soliciting donations from the local farmers. A donation brought with it a promise of a fertility blessing being placed on your farmland. A refusal to donate brought with it the threat of a curse being placed on the family and the crops. Hence we have the origin of the Halloween custom of “trick or treat”. While it may be cute for a group of little kids to say it when they come to your door, the message behind it is “appease the gods of the Druids or else!”
For centuries witches have considered Halloween to be their greatest day of the year. They believe that spirits (demons) are at the peak of their power, thus making more power available for their evil work. This is one of the reasons witches and devil costumes are so prevalent. It is commonly reported that witches and satanists still hold their Black Masses on this evening.
What about the jack-o-lantern? Surely there’s nothing wrong with that! According to Irish tradition, a man named Jack was condemned to walk the earth carrying a lantern until Judgment Day. Hence the idea of the jack-o-lantern is in keeping with the earliest traditions of Halloween.
A quick study will show that Halloween is deeply rooted in pagan tradition and the occult. One has to wonder how it became such a popular observance in the 20th century.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
What does the Bible have to say about our participation in such things as Halloween? I think there are a few Scriptures we need to look at to find our answer.
When the Lord was preparing to send His people into the Promise Land to possess it, He gave them some very clear instructions:
“You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whole you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place.” Deuteronomy 12:2-3 ESV
If the people of God were to completely do away with all the pagan practices of the Canaanites, why are we still clinging to the pagan practices of the ancient Druids?
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son…” Colossians 1:13 ESV
We have been delivered from the dominion of darkness by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do we honour Him by participating in something that is so clearly from the dark side?
“…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:8, 11 ESV
Are we walking in the light of God when we participate in something like Halloween? Can people see the light of God in us when we practice something so obviously rooted in darkness. Does our participation expose the darkness, or promote it?
I encourage you to closely study the Scriptures we have listed and ask yourself the questions connected with them. I believe they will lead you to the attitude the Lord would have us adopt toward Halloween.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
How should we respond to this information on Halloween? Allow me to offer a few suggestions:
1. Establish it that you and your children will not make a practice of participating in Halloween. (Joshua 24:15).
2. Get rid of all Halloween paraphernalia (masks, costumes, window dressings, toys, etc.). (Deuteronomy 12:2-3).
3. Teach your children the truth about Halloween. While you don’t have to go into graphic detail, tell them it has bad origins and would not be honouring to Jesus. Children understand spiritual things a lot better than we sometimes believe.
4. Unfortunately, Halloween is not going to simply go away because we no longer participate. Therefore, we have a responsibility as parents to provide good, wholesome alternatives for our kids. Some families go to a hotel with a swimming pool for the evening. Others get several families together for an evening of fun and games which are unrelated to Halloween. Sometimes Churches will provide an alternative evening through their Sunday School program.
A FINAL WORD…
I hope the information I have posted here has helped you come to a proper understanding of what Halloween is all about. While we certainly do not judge those who choose to participate in this festival, we do want to make people aware of it’s occult origin. Halloween is definitely not the treat for kids it is made out to be. It is, however, a definite trick of the enemy to get us to participate in the fruitless deeds of darkness. I guess the real question to ask is, can we participate in Halloween while truly living in the Reign?