ed. note: We all struggle with what to do about Halloween as a Christian. This article is from a church communicator, Pam Finck, who was kind enough to send it to me, it is wonderful and I wanted to share it with you. Here is what she had to say.......
I’m a Christian, and I’ve been struggling with what to do about Halloween. On one hand, I love joining in the festivities like carving pumpkins and taking my costumed children door to door for treats. I don’t believe little children dressed up in red leotards with horns on their heads are demons, and I don’t believe black cats are bad luck or witches incarnate.
But, on the other hand, I’m concerned that joining in might be sending a wrong message to unbelievers. It’s possible someone could get a wrong idea…like witches are cute, or that Satan is only a small problem. I wouldn’t want to make anyone stumble (1 Cor. 10:32).
A quest to learn answers
Over the years I’ve found that the more I learn about problems that confound me, the less I fear them. So, I began a quest to unravel the truth about Halloween.
The first thing that confused me was how it got its name. It comes from an ancient celebration called “All Hallows Eve”. Why did I feel I should clasp my hand over my mouth and gasp as someone whispered this true fact to me?
I had heard a form of “hallow” before, and it was in the Lord’s Prayer! Webster’s Dictionary says “hallow” means: “to make holy or set apart for holy use: to respect greatly”.
Hmmm, that doesn’t sound evil or like something to fear.
So where did the evil undertone Halloween has inherited come from?
Was it from something evil people did on “All Hallows Eve”?
“All Hallows Eve” was the evening before All Saints Day. A saint is a greatly respected…even holy or “hallowed”…person who has gained notoriety enough to be remembered in the Christian archives. “All Saints Day” was a Christian celebration for remembering before God all the hallowed people who had died. The celebration included remembrances of all deceased loved ones in the Christian community whether they had achieved sainthood or not.
Some “All Saints Day” celebrations made a special point of including martyrs: Christians who died specifically for their belief in Christ. In 834, “All Saint's Day” was moved from May 13 to Nov. 1. That’s how October 31st became the evening before “All Saint’s Day” or “All Hallows Eve.” Over the years the name was shortened to Hallows Eve then to Halloween.
How did this Christian beginning change?
That’s how Halloween began? Honoring Christians? So how did “All Hallows Eve” become what we know today as Halloween
Scary masks and Trick-or-Treating are a long way from honoring saints.
At about this same time frame, the first century, a culture throughout Western Europe called the Celts existed. Celtic priests called Druids presided over their annual feast of Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). This festival was also a time to commemorate dead relatives. It was their close to the summer season of light and preparation for the coming winter or season of darkness. These pagan people practiced many superstitious rituals to ward off evil spirits during Samhain.
Rituals involved disguising themselves, hoping to fool the evil spirits into thinking they were not humans so the demons and hobgoblins would not harm them. They carved ugly faces on turnips and gourds and used them to further frighten evil spirits. They placed treats outside their doors to divert the spirits’ attention away from their feast.
Christian and pagan practices mix to make Halloween
In time, Christian missionaries brought the Truth of the Gospel to the Celtic people. The Druids accepted it and became eager for all their people to become Christians and denounce their pagan gods and superstitions. As we can see, many of their pagan observances have blended with Christianity and survived to the present.
Halloween began as a Christian holiday that honored saints and Christian martyrs. Today remnants of pagan rituals surround the evening and overwhelm our thoughts. Yes, you may be thinking, the same thing has happened to both Christmas and Easter.
Isn’t it time we start teaching about Christianity on Halloween and lay to rest superstitions?
We need to dispel the lie Satan wants us to believe that he is a small problem in cute red tights that we can brush aside. What about real demons and evil spirits? As Christians, it is our responsibility to teach the truth.
There are many unchurched people who don't know witchcraft is forbidden by God. They learn from Hollywood that ghosts are spirits of dead people roaming the earth. Unbelievers don’t know the dangers of fooling around with the occult, and every day, satanic cults steal our children. As believers, let’s teach them that the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4 and that demons flee from Jesus.
What better time than around this holiday to teach our children that we are not fighting against people but against Satan, who is real, and wishes to steal our joy and our souls?
We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
As we weigh our choices on Halloween, let’s make sure the activities we choose combat deceit and assert God’s truth. When believers participate in anything, including Halloween, we can clearly spread the truth about Jesus to all. Our attitude and behavior should glorify Christ (Philippians 1:27.)
Say no to activities that depress us, turn us inward, or cause us to be fearful or self-focused. We can use His Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline to sort out the garbage and allow the Gospel to engulf the ghouls.
Jesus is Lord of all.
by Pam Finck
Please note, we have many resources on this site that will help you you celebrate Halloween in a way that is honoring to our Lord and helps people come to know Him. Click here for a list of the articles and resources that will help.
One more note from Yvon Prehn: Pam is a church communicator who kindly shared this piece with us. Please send me your writings for possible inclusion on this site and other resources for church communicators. I am amazed and delighted at the great talent in our churches! Send materials with permission to use to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Blessings to you.