Where should a Christian stand on Halloween? Is it a night of harmless fun for children? A look at the history of Halloween and its meaning can perhaps give you a better perspective before you celebrate this holiday with your children.
The origin of Halloween is the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celtics lived in what is now Great Britain, Ireland, purchase and northern France. Their new year began on November 1st, seek and the festival that began the previous evening honored Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. It marked the beginning of winter, a time of coldness and death. They built a bonfire and burned animals, crops, and even human sacrifices to honor their god of death.
During the 1800’s large numbers of immigrants from this area of the world brought with them this evil practice. In America it was renamed Halloween. The practice of trick or treating (a Celtic custom) became the most noted custom of Halloween. Many people in the United States do not know its history, but perceive it as a harmless, fun time for children to dress in costumes and collect candy.
Have you ever wondered how trick or treating ever came about with the Celts? Part of this Celtic ritual was a belief that dead souls would return to their original homes. The people were terrified of these evil spirits and they would place sweet goodies on their doorstep to appease them. Their belief was if the evil spirits liked your treat they would leave you alone, but if they didn’t they would “trick you by casting evils spells on you.” A little like the spells that were cast in the Harry Potter film last year. Our trick or treating traditions evolved from this tradition.
Halloween was not party time for the Celtic people. They feared the evil spirits roaming the earth on October 31st, so they stayed home. If someone were forced to leave the house, he would disguise himself as a demon to fool the evil spirits.
Other Halloween traditions, such as the fear of a black cat, are also not without a root of evil. The Celtics believed that humans were punished for their evil deeds by changing them into blacks cats. Therefore it was quite proper to sacrifice a black cat in a ritualistic bonfire on October 31st.
Even something that seems as innocent as a Jack-o-lantern had a dark beginning. This tradition comes from a legend about a man named Jack who was turned away from heaven because of his wickedness. He was also turned away from hell because he had played tricks on the devil. Therefore he was sentenced to spend the rest of his days roaming the earth as a demonic spirit, haunting anyone who crossed his path. The legend says he carved a face in a turnip and put a candle in it to guide him at night to his next victim. We have now substituted a pumpkin for a Jack-o-lantern at Halloween. (Reference: Andrew Wommack)
Most holidays celebrated in America are rooted in something good or significant. Christmas is the birth of a Savior. Lincoln’s birthday is the celebration of a great President who liberated the slaves in our country. Memorial Day honors those who made America free through their sacrifice on the battlefield. But not Halloween; it is a celebration of evil, and we should never take any action of evil lightly, no matter how innocent it seems (Ephesians 6: 10-17). Some say Halloween is all done in fun and can’t hurt. But tell that to the victims of evil who suffer from its full measure (Deuteronomy 18:9-13). Tell that to those who died at the hand of evil on September 11th, or the ten who were gunned down by two snipers in Maryland.
I have always encouraged parents to counter this Halloween holiday with a celebration of their own; one that honors all the good things God gives us when we trust him. I have even encouraged other churches to dress their children up like biblical characters and give treats for good deeds done, or verses memorized. But this year, I believe, more than ever before, we should gather our children together this Halloween and pray for the lost. The lost will be well represented along your streets on October 31st. Many children will come to your door dressed in costumes of evil. Give them the candy they seek, but as they leave pray for them. Have your children join you in these prayers. Pray that each child will be transformed in Christ, and the evil they so casually portray will never have a permanent hold on them. Pray that one day their appearance will be dominated by the clothes of righteousness they will be able to wear when they receive Christ as Lord. This is what I would do this Halloween.
Word of God
Ephesians 6: 10-17 17 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil
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. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
Deut. 18: 9-13 9 “When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. 10 “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritualist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 “For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. 13 “You shall be blameless before the Lord your God.