Frazer believed that Christianity was rooted in paganism, and he often tried to make connections between the two in his writing. This makes it all the more peculiar that evangelical Christians have embraced his claims and have suggested that we abandon the celebration of Halloween because of its supposed connection to a pagan holiday. The reality is that Halloween is Christian in origin and the selection of its date probably had nothing to do with Samhain. 

Unfortunately, it must be conceded that modern Halloween celebrations (at least in the U.S.) seem to have lost their Christian heritage altogether. But it should come as no surprise that a holiday celebrating death would develop a dark and superstitious character among non-believers. After all, death is mysterious and terrifying to those who don’t know the gospel. However, as Christians, we can celebrate the lives of those who have died in Christ, because we know that “death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54); it is nothing to fear. Though our bodies will die, our spirit will dwell with Christ (Philippians 1:21) until He returns to earth to make all things new (2 Peter 3:13) and to clothe us with new glorious bodies (Philippians 3:20-21). Halloween affords the perfect opportunity to contrast the Christian and the non-Christian views of death and to share the hope that we have in Christ.

Rather than abandoning Halloween to the lost, let us reclaim it for God’s glory. May He help us to be light in the darkness and to find ways to creatively bring the “hallowed” back into Halloween.

*It should be noted that the New Testament repeatedly uses the word saints to refer to all believers. When the term refers specifically to heroes of the faith, it is used in quotes.

1 Rogers, Nicholas. Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 11. 

2 Weiser, Francis. Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs. Deus Books, 1963 (original 1952), p. 188.

The content of this article is drawn from a Rose Publishing pamphlet titled Christian Origins of Halloween, ©  2012. Used with permission.

Angie Mosteller is founder of Celebrating Holidays, an educational company dedicated to teaching the Christian roots of American holidays. For more information on the history and symbols of Halloween, as well as creative ideas, visit www.celebratingholidays.com.

Publication date: October 11, 2012