Halloween – Holiday or Day of Horror?
Halloween…Holiday or Horror? Fear or Fun? Sacred, Secular or Spiritual? Participate or not? Several have asked me about Christians and Halloween?
How is a follower of Christ to “handle” Halloween? At Love and Lordship our focus is to point people to God and His Word as the Authority (Lordship) for every issue. With this in mind, here’s one Christ follower’s take on Halloween from a Scriptural perspective…
I remember as a youngster (over 50 years ago) growing up in little Berry, KY (population 200) where we excitedly looked forward to Halloween every year! We knew every other family and kid in town and we were so excited to purchase and wear our costumes (that we’d certainly outgrow before next year’s funfest) of the latest cartoon character, superhero or vintage skeleton or friendly ghost, etc.
We knew exactly the houses where we would get the most candy or gum and which ones to avoid because they would give nothing or very little or because they were “haunted” based on all the “true” stories that only heightened the suspense and excitement of the evening! We also knew that we were not to eat more than 2 or 3 pieces of candy (always picked out the biggest pieces) that evening and all the rest was put into a pile with our siblings’ “take” and doled out over the next few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Halloween was nothing more than a great time of dress up and candy for kids, telling scary stories and bridging the gap between summer break and the Holidays! We knew nothing of the spiritual darkness or the Occult.
Times have changed and ignorance is not always bliss.
The Origins of Halloween
For the sake of brevity here’s a summation of the origins of Halloween…Halloween was rooted in the Celtic festival of Samhain believing the “spirits/souls of the dead” crossed over into the realm of the living. This would clearly be in violation of God’s Word to avoid such belief and behavior encompassed broadly in what is called “divination and witchcraft” (Deuteronomy 18:9-13). While this is under the Old Covenant and the law it still signifies what is unholy in God’s eyes and that never changes. We simply now have Christ who has taken away our sins once we are brought out of ignorance or willful defiance in faith by repentance into God’s Truth and holiness. These things are still unholy and as such we should not participate in them. (Galatians 5:19-21)
When the Romans conquered the Celtic tribes they instituted some of their own rituals to honor a goddess and in 835, Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration for all martyrs (later saints) from May 13 to November 1. The night before became known as All Hallow’s E’en or Even or “holy evening.” Halloween is derived from and rooted in this recognition and church tradition.
As with most things in this fallen world we see the influence of the pagan and fleshly as well as that of Christian faith. That certainly creates a tension. So how are we to approach and respond to Halloween according to God’s Word?
As we consider this we also need to remember that modern day church and culture have impacted how we celebrate, enjoy or reject this holiday or pagan ritual. Two Biblical principles from Romans 14 can give us a balanced approach to Halloween:
- Personal Conviction (Romans 14:1-8, 14, 22-23) – be sure you have settled in your heart and mind before The Lord according to His Word regarding the issues…are you celebrating it as a holiday to remember saints and martyrs of the faith; do you see it as a secular and fun festivity to be enjoyed by you, your family and others in a similar manner; or, do you struggle with the pagan and dark spiritual roots that will affect any and all who dabble in them…the enemy is good and we must be aware of what is happening (1 Peter 5:8) with regard to this aspect or we can be easily drawn into the darkness before we know it.
Remember, ignorance itself may not be sin but the darkness of ignorance can easily be used to lead into the darkness of sin.
- Relationship and influence with others (Romans 14:10-16) – how will we interact with believers (and non-believers) who may think differently? You know where you are in your convictions but you must also consider the affect of your actions on others, especially those who are less mature in the faith. If we do not consider the impact on others we are not acting in love (v. 15), which should always be our highest consideration as we represent Christ.
How Can Christians Respond to Halloween
With these two underlying principles, parent(s) can determine how they will approach Halloween…
- Fun, festive event (with lots of candy, gum and goodies) to enjoy with others;
- Opportunity to share the Christian history of acknowledging the saints and martyrs of The Faith; a combination of these first two; or,
- Choose not to participate in Halloween due to the pagan connections.
Regardless of which you choose, take the opportunity to share with your children all that Halloween entails and the freedom you have in Christ as well as the dangers that are present in the realm of spiritual darkness. This can be a great faith builder!
As with all issues of faith you must remember that, as a follower of Christ, His Word and Spirit is what guides you. Be sure to know and apply His Truth so that the enemy does not deceive you and get the chance to do the same with your children.
Here are 10 tips to help you navigate Halloween always covered in prayer:
For those who choose to not participate:
- Turn your outside lights off and make it a family movie night
- Make it a date night if its just you and your spouse
- Get together with another (or other) family(ies) for a night of Bible Study, fellowship, food and fun
- Take the dog for a walk and smile (genuinely) at all those participating – don’t condemn, pray for them
For those who choose to participate:
- Pick costumes that depict fun and fantasy
- Avoid costumes that deal with the occult or spiritual darkness (vampires, witches, skeletons, warlocks, death, etc.)
- Make this an opportunity to have age-appropriate discussions with your children regarding Halloween (light and darkness) to help build their faith
- Be wise with the candy and gum received…if properly allocated it can last until Thanksgiving or maybe even Christmas! Good luck with this.
- Consider passing out Gospel items (cheaper than most candy) along with goodies! You never know what seeds may be planted!
- Join in with your church (or consider starting something with your church) that celebrates the Church and/or secular side as an outreach to your community.
We walk in God’s Word and principles, and in Christ, there is freedom for us that we are to extend to others.
In closing, here’s an article with respect to light and darkness that may help you address not only Halloween but how to discern and decide on related issues that impact you and those you may lead out of darkness into His Light!
Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Check out the history of Halloween and determine how you and your family will approach this day.
Love and Lordship…Action Item – Share with your children or other families as you have the opportunity what you have learned about Halloween, the freedom you have in Christ and how it strengthens your faith.