Halloween and Christianity – A Warning
"Then Jesus spoke to them again,
saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
Sadly many Christians think that Halloween is just an innocent holiday. We must assume that they are not educated in the history of Halloween, do not know that its practices conflicts with the Bible, do not know the wickedness that surrounds this holiday, and/or they are living a carnal life that accepts the things of this world. There are Christians who not only send their kids out for trick or treating, but actually let them dress as ghosts, witches, or other evil characters. And some send their children off to evil, horrifying haunted houses which plant fear into their children and can even open them up to the demonic. May these nuggets open your eyes to the wickedness of Halloween. In our last nugget of this series we will share alternatives to the traditional Halloween celebration.
Neither Tell Then Outreach nor Scotland for Christ want to encourage legalism or living a life of do's and don’ts. But God does call us to a life of holiness and we should not willingly participate in activities that are evil in nature. If we are walking in the Spirit, we will choose to not do certain things not because they are wrong, but because the spirit man within us has no desire to do them. And this is a work of the Holy Spirit. However, until He does that work in our lives, there are certain things that we should abstain from. We believe Halloween is one of them.
Halloween doesn't seem to be going away at least anytime soon, and its practices of evil, occultism and witchcraft are here to stay. It's a night of serious business for Satanists and witches and it's a festival of ghosts, skeletons and demons. Americans have participated in Halloween for years with its demonic faced pumpkins, witch brooms and gory costumes and consider it fun. Parents even dress little Johnny up in a red devils costume complete with pitch fork and tail. This sends a message to our kids that witchcraft, and the occult are fun and harmless. That is wrong to do, as this is exactly what Satan wants us to believe.
As Christian's we shouldn't want our kids to get involved with it's practices. A lot of Christians simply turn out their lights and don't answer the door that evening, ignoring trick or treaters all together. If that is your decision on Halloween and choose not to get involved or encourage this holiday, that's a good decision. But this study is for those Christians who "would like" to get involved to help spread the Gospel on this evening. Ignoring Halloween altogether can be a missed opportunity when it comes to the things a Christian could be doing concerning spreading the Word of God. I mean, what other night of the year do you have scores of kids coming right up to your door? There's ways that they can leave your porch and take a little bit more knowledge of Jesus with them.
History of Halloween
October 31st is a night that glorifies the dark things of this world instead of the light of Jesus. History traces Halloween back to the ancient religion of the Celtics. They didn't worship the devil but they did believe in gods, witches, elves and spirits. They had their own ideas of how they could gain access to the spiritual world. They had 2 main feasts. One was called Beltane on May 1st and the other was called Samhain celebrated on October 31st. Samhain was a false god and lord of the dead. Their new year began on November 1st. They believed the false god Samhain would cause spirits of dead loved ones to rise out of their graves and wander around the countryside, trying to return to the homes where they used to live or to possess living bodies. The Celtic priests who carried out rituals were called Druids who lived more than 2,000 years ago in Great Britain, Ireland and France.
Did you know that the current Archbishop of Canterbury, the globally head of the Anglican Church, is also the King of the Druids? Yes, he was installed only a matter of weeks after being enthroned as Archbishop.
That night October 31st they extinguished all their hearth fires and then re-lit them from a central fire symbolizing the returning of life in the spring and for protection during the coming dark winter months. Some say extinguishing the fires made their homes cold and undesirable to the wandering spirits. They sacrificed animals to their gods in this "Fire Festival" of bonfires to ensure that the sun would return after winter and frighten away these evil spirits.
By A.D 43, Romans had conquered much of Celtic land and adopted Celtic practices as their own. Two Roman festivals were combined with the Celtic's Samhain. The first was Feralia in late October when the Romans celebrated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honour Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple which is where the tradition of bobbing for apples probably came from.
By the 800's, Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV declared November 1st "All Saints Day" to honour saints and martyrs. It is believed he was attempting to replace the Celtic festival with a church-sanctioned holiday. It was also called "All-Hallows" and the night before it (October 31st), the night of Samhain, began to be called "All-Hallows Eve" and eventually, Halloween. It was celebrated in the same way with bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes.
Halloween and All Hallows' Eve
This is where the name Halloween comes from. In the Dark Ages, when Rome was in great power, she tried at first to stop pagan festivals. But she couldn't, and so tried to turn them into something Christian. November was the month when Catholics especially prayed for the dead in purgatory. Traditionally at Halloween, papist families purchased an envelope from the priest. Inside they wrote the name of a dead relative, and it was put on the altar so that the relative would not be forgotten in November's prayers for the dead. Thus the papist All Hallows' Eve was mixed with the pagan festival of the dead. Thousands of years later it is evident that Halloween still represents wickedness. If we want to lessen its influence, we must find godly alternatives, not replace it with something else that is unbiblical. Purgatory is a false doctrine. Once a person dies, they have no more chances. We cannot pray them into heaven. We die and then there is judgment.
History of Objects and Activities
We are not saying that Jack-o-Lanterns, wearing a costume, bobbing for apples, black cats, or bon fires in themselves are evil. But we need to be aware of what they symbolize during Halloween. The activities of Halloween do not have innocent origins.
Some may argue that we can take the evil activities and make them good. In some ways, yes. But I ask you a challenging question. Are the Halloween activities and celebrations as innocent as they were just a few years ago? Take a look at the decorations, movies, haunted houses, pranks of today compared to when you were a kid. The signs of violence, grotesque imagery, satanic evidence, and evil pranks are much worse in our society today. There is a difference between Christmas (which has pagan roots and is not the date of Jesus birth) and Halloween. Christmas has turned people to be kinder and softer during the Christmas season (even though we have a real problem with the secularization and materialism of Christmas). The celebration of Halloween becomes more macabre each year. Why would a Christian want their children to participate in the deeds of darkness? We will have a nugget on alternatives to Halloween-normally called Harvest Festivals.
The Jack-o-lantern: Hundreds of years before Christ, on Halloween night each Druid dressed in hooded robes and has slung over his shoulder on a cord, a large, hallowed-out turnip with an oil lamp burning inside. Carved into the side of the hollow turnip is a face, in an attempt to ward off evil spirits.
When the Celtics immigrated to the New World they found pumpkins, much easier to hollow out and carve than turnips. Among the English-speaking Celts the hollowed turnip or pumpkin was known as "Jock (or Jack) of the Lantern." referring to the spirit guide (Jock or Jack) who lived in them.
Lore has it that Jack, was too bad to get into heaven but wasn't permitted into hell because of a deal he had made with the devil, supposedly wanders the earth holding a carved turnip with a glowing coal from hell as his guide. This is "Jack's lantern."
"Trick or Treating":
The Druids of old adhered to strange dietary restrictions, and on the night of the Festival of Death they go from home to home demanding these peculiar foods. If the people comply, they pass on in silence; if their demands are not met, the people and their home are cursed with trouble, sickness and death.
The Celts and Druids believed that by wearing masks and costumes, they would confuse the spirits into thinking they were one of them. Therefore the evil spirits would leave them alone. They would usually wear these while dancing around the big Samhain "bonfires." During this night of rituals they sacrificed animals (and sometimes humans). Often they wore the skins of these animals. Dressed in this way, they would engage in fortune telling. Villagers also dressed in hideous masks and costumes in an effort to disguise themselves from the spirits.
Bobbing For Apples:
Since Samhain was the beginning of the New Year, much divining was done concerning the coming year, and many things were done to invoke "good luck" (which meant finding favour with the evil spirits) for the coming year. A very popular form of this was to kneel around a tub of water with apples floating in it, and the first one who could get one out without using hands or teeth would have good favour with the spirits in the coming year. Then each would peel his (or her) apple, trying to get the peel off in one piece (which gave the peeling particular power, and gained special favour with the spirits).
Bonfires originally came from the nights of human and animal sacrifices where they would throw the remains of the bodies into the fire. The next morning all that was left were the ashes and bones. Thus the name of these fires were called "bonfires". The orange flames lit up the black night.
From the 1500s through the 1700s, during the witch hunts in Europe, it was thought witches and warlocks flew threw the air to a meeting with the devil (who had by then replaced Samhain, lord of the dead) on Halloween. Some thought elves, fairies, and witches turned into black cats. Black cats hold a high significance to witches and Satanists. The black cat, they believe has special powers. To them they believe the black cat represents incarnated humans, malevolent spirits, or the "familiars" of witches. This is why that many black cats are in danger around Halloween. Local SPCA's won't even let anyone adopt a black cat around Halloween time, in fear of the cat might be harmed.
It is well known that Halloween is one of the most active days for evil and the meeting of Satanists and witches.
Halloween and the Bible
Listed below are Bible verses that discuss the very things that took place when Halloween first started and what still takes place at times. Many people have been exposed to Ouija boards, séances, and other forbidden practices during Halloween. Some may reply, "But we only do this in fun...we don't practice witchcraft." That which represents Satan and his domain cannot be handled or emulated "for fun". Such participation places you in enemy and forbidden territory and that is dangerous ground. And why would you want your child exposed to such practices.
Some may think that we are over emphasizing the influence of the demonic during Halloween. Too much emphasis on witchcraft and the satanic. It is not as bad as we think. What about the presentation of violence, murder, blood, atmosphere of fear, and death that is during Halloween. Many more homes have ghoulish decorations. The violent and grotesque movies come out during Halloween and are the number one videos rented during Halloween. Halloween is preoccupied with death. More destructive acts are done during Halloween. The Bible makes it very clear that we are to not have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness.
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret." Ephesians 5:11-12
"When you come into the land which Yahweh your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of the nations. - There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer" - "Or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead" - "For all who do these things are an abomination to Yahweh, and because of these abominations Yahweh your God drives them out from before you" Deuteronomy 18:9-12
"And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people. Therefore Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:16-18
"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Corinthians 7:1
"Learn not the way of the heathen" Jeremiah 10:2
"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions," Galatians 5:19-20
"No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons." 1 Cor. 10:20, 21
"and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephes. 4:27
After reading the origin of Halloween and what the Bible has to say, why would a Christian parent allow their children to dress up as witches, monsters, or any other evil representation? Why would they allow their children to go to haunted houses? Why would they allow their children to go to a Halloween party that plays around with séances, Ouija boards, tarot cards, or watching violent videos? Why would they let their children trick or treat in a neighbourhood that has displays that are intentionally made to be frightening and/or grotesque?
You know what many parents say, "Because my child will get upset if I don't let them. Their friends will make fun of them". Where in the Bible does it say that we should allow our children to rule over us? Where in the Bible does it say that we should allow other people's opinions influence us. I would challenge you to do something constructive with your children this Halloween.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
If you have been convicted by the Holy Spirit that Halloween is evil and something that your family should not participate in, do not be burdened with guilt or condemnation. Just ask Jesus to forgive you and show you His will for your family.
And remember that pumpkins, black cats, apples, the colours orange and black, bonfires, etc. are not evil in themselves. It is what we do with them. God does not call Christians to be legalistic or self-righteous. Listed below are several ideas on alternatives to the common way of celebrating Halloween. For me personally, I believe the most effective means of counteracting the darkness of Halloween is to share the light of the gospel. So whatever I do on Halloween will be some form of witnessing, not just having some kind of fun. Of course, I think sharing the gospel in unique and powerful ways is FUN!
Christian Carved Pumpkins
A great way to light your sidewalk on Halloween and to help show you live in a Christian household is to carve one or several pumpkins with Christian symbols in them like the cross pumpkin above. You could carve a cross, dove, fish symbol, etc.
Another fine idea but takes a bit of work is to host an Outreach Concert for our youth with Christian Music.
Passing Out Goodies
When you pass out candy, also pass out children's tracts that tell them about Jesus. There are special tracts just for Halloween. You might also make your own tracts by writing Bible verses. They're going to be coming to your door, why not send them away with a little bit of information about Jesus?
Plan a Holy-Ween Party
Plan a special Christian party at your house or church that night to bring our youth to Christ. Show a Christian movie or video, read Bible stories, act out the story with costumes. Can also give a short devotional talk against evil and the occult. Win others to Jesus on Satan's holiday!
Plan a Special Family Night
On Halloween, either plan a special family night out and start a tradition. Go to your favourite restaurant and have dessert. Plan fun activities for the family.
Remember to explain to the kids why you don't participate in the dark evil side of Halloween and choose instead to bring Christ it. Teach them not to be afraid and how Jesus told us to "Fear Not" (2 Tim 1:7). So let's do what's pleasing to God on Halloween like plan wholesome Bible based, fun filled activities for the kids whatever it may be. Use it as a night of evangelism to shine the light of God's Word into the darkness of the world. (1 Cor 10:31, 1 John 1:5-7) Choose not to participate in this evil holiday altogether is completely fine too.
Lock the doors, turn off your nights, put your kids to bed real early, and tell them Halloween is wicked and you do not celebrate it.
This is legalism and foolishness. It is a great way to create rebellion in your children. We are to be a LIGHT, not to hide from darkness. REDEEM the day. Lift up Jesus. He is the Lord of even October 31.
He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
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