Editor's Note: Over the next 10 days, we will try to provide a number of different perspectives on Halloween. The views in these articles do not necessarily reflect the beliefs held by the staff or management of Crosswalk.com

The Bible does not mention the term "Halloween" or the mystic Druidic rite "Samhain" from which Halloween is derived and was originally observed about 4,000 years ago. It is the Druidic New Year celebration.

 

Some view Halloween as a harmless holiday in which children dress up in costumes and participate in various traditions. In American schools, more time is given to Halloween-centered activities than any other holiday.

In a recent letter to Ann Landers, a parent expressed concern that a fourth grade teacher asked her students to write about how they would most like to celebrate Halloween. Eighty percent said they would like to kill someone or something. In business, Halloween is a multi-billion dollar industry and is heavily marketed.


Is it just scary fun? Should Christians participate in it? Let's take a look first at Halloween's origins.

 

Many Halloween customs come from pagan superstitions relating to Samhain. The druids were the priests, sorcerers, and magicians of nature-based Celtic religions that prevailed in early times in northern Europe which permeated Celtic culture for about 2,000 years until the rise of Christianity.

In the 9th century, the Roman Catholic Church changed All Saints' Day, designed to pay tribute to Christian martyrs, to the beginning of November in an effort to offset the pagan holiday of Halloween. It had previously been observed in May. Some Protestant churches also observe All Saints' Day.

 

The practice of "trick or treat" comes from the Celtic tradition of giving food for blessings from spirits of the dead. Failure to provide food supposedly invoked demonic retaliations.

 

Jack-o-lanterns come from carving demonic faces on turnips and later pumpkins. Candle-lit pumpkins or skulls signify the occupants were sympathetic to these spirits and would receive mercy from these spirits if displayed.

Druids believed black cats were reincarnations of evil dead souls with supernatural power and knowledge.

 

Bobbing for apples is part of the druidic New Year's sexual divination of fertility.

 

Broomsticks are part of some wiccan "circles" and originally considered to be phallic symbols which transformed sexual energy into psychic energy.

 

Contact with spirit beings, through seances, is thought to be highest at Samhain in spirit beings are invoked for personal power.

 

At the Druidic New Year's celebration, there were human sacrifices at midnight. Children were thrown into huge fires while others danced around. By morning, only ashes and bones remained. These were called "bone fires" which is where we get our tradition of bonfires.

 

Halloween is one of the "high holy days" in the practice of wicca, sorcerers, and devil worshippers in addition to being a secular observance. On this night, and nights leading up to it, law enforcement officials notice an increase in occultic crime and ritualistic killings evidenced by symbolic markings at the scene, excessive loss of blood in the victims, and organs removed in a certain manner in victims. It is a time of increased abduction of children and animals.

 

Is there any reference in the Bible to these practices? Deuteronomy 18:9-14 states: "When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. 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, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

 

"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. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so."

 

Instead, Ephesians 5:8-13 says: "...for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret."

 

Many churches have children's fairs and youth rallies in which parents who feel their children should not participate in Halloween may take their children to engage in Christ-centered activities instead.

 

May we encourage you to let the Holy Spirit be your guide in your decision? We also caution against reviling others, whatever your decision may be, but instead "sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence." (1 Peter 3:15)

 

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