How Should Christians Respond to Halloween?
- Hank Hanegraaff
- 2005 9 Sep
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1
Myriad questions surround Halloween. Should we participate? Accommodate? Or should we vigorously denounce Halloween? To answer such questions, it's helpful to view Halloween from the perspective of history.
First, we should recognize that Halloween is indeed rooted in the ancient Celtic feast of Samhain (sah-ween). The Druids believed that on the eve of Samhain the veil between the present world and the world beyond was pierced, releasing demons, witches, and hobgoblins en masse to harass the living. In order to make themselves immune from attack, people disguised themselves as witches, devils, and ghouls; attempted to ward off evil spirits by carving grotesque faces on gourds illuminated with candles; and placated the spirits with a variety of treats.
Furthermore, we can learn a lot from how the early Christians responded to Halloween. October 31st, the eve prior to All Saints Day was designated as a spiritually edifying holiday (holy day) on which to proclaim the supremacy of the Gospel over the superstition of ghosts. Thus, “all Hallows Eve,” from which the word "Halloween" is derived, was an attempt on the part of Christianity to overwhelm the tradition of ghouls with the truth of the Gospel.
Finally, although Halloween is, once again, predominately pagan there is a silver lining. Like our forefathers, we can choose to celebrate “all Hallows Eve” by focusing on heroes of the faith - those who, like Martin Luther, were willing to stand for truth no matter what the cost. We might also use the occasion to introduce our children to such great classics as Pilgrim's Progress. In the end, the trick is t o treat Halloween as a strategic opportunity rather than a time of satanic oppression.
See also Hank Hanegraaff, “Halloween: Oppression or Opportunity?” Available from CRI, www.equip.org. Adapted from Hank Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Book (Nashville: J. Countryman, 2004).