Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
3 John 1:11
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
I once had a professing Christian tell me that I was wrong in my views of Halloween because they believed that, ‘taking part in it gives Christians the opportunity to share the gospel with people’. This reminds me of a similar situation I had with another professing believer who disagreed with me on the subject of Christians attending a homosexual wedding.
First and foremost; the views and beliefs I have are not moulded and formed from my own mind, but from God’s Word, which is the place where all believers should obtain their views and beliefs from.
One thing I have come to learn in these end days is to never underestimate the intensity of just how large the great deception really is. Things are being said and actions are being taken that once were completely unheard of, yet now these behaviours have become all too familiar within church circles.
So should a Christian take part in Halloween? Is it ok to decorate your house, create Jack-O-Lanterns and dress yourself and your children up in scary costumes and have a party or go trick-or-treating?
The slippery slope of deception and lies creeps into the lives of a person when they open the door to compromise.
Compromise - the expedient acceptance of standards that are lower than is desirable.
So to compromise means to lower the standards—but the important question here is, whose standards are we lowering? The answer ... God’s!
1 Thessalonians 5:22
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
This verse distinctly defines what we are to steer clear from. It doesn’t say, ‘abstain from some types of evil’. Nor does it say, ‘abstain from the really bad parts of evil’. No, it says to ‘abstain from ALL APPEARANCE of evil’. This verse pulls no punches. We are bluntly told to stay away from all forms of evil; so whether they’re small or large makes no difference—we are to stay away from them all.
Ok, so if the Bible instructs us to abstain from all appearance of evil, then the next thing we need to ascertain is this; is Halloween evil? Many people believe there are grey areas that the Bible does not give clear instructions on; one instance being the participation of Halloween. Is this true?
We will take a brief look at the roots of how Halloween began.
The origins of Halloween can be traced back to ancient Ireland and Scotland. On October 31st, the Celts celebrated the end of summer. This was important because it was when animal herders would move their animals into barns and pens and prepare to ride out the winter. This was also the time of the crop harvests.
This annual change of season and lifestyle was marked by a festival called Samhain.
There was much superstition associated with this time of change, including the belief in fairies and that the spirits of the dead wandered around looking for bodies to inhabit. Since the living did not want to be possessed by spirits, they dressed up in costumes and paraded around the streets making loud noises to confuse and frighten the spirits away. During this festival, Celts believed the souls of the dead -- including ghosts, goblins, and witches -- returned to mingle with the living. In order to scare away the evil spirits, people would wear masks, light bonfires and make animal sacrifices and sometimes even child sacrifices to honour the dead and appease the spirits by worshiping them. This wickedness is also found in the Bible where people practiced sorcery and murdered their own children (2 Kings 17:17).
The Samhain festival ended up being adopted and taken over by the Roman Catholic Church who tried to ‘Christianise’ this pagan event. The word Halloween is derived from the term, "All Hallows Eve," which occurred on October 31st. "All Hallows Day" was the next day, November 1st, otherwise known as “All Saints Day” by the Catholics.
Where Did Trick-or-Treat Come From?
The current custom of going door-to-door to collect treats started in Ireland hundreds of years ago. Groups of farmers would go door-to-door collecting food and materials for the village feast and bonfire. Those who gave were promised prosperity; those who did not received threats of bad luck.
Also, the focus on death, occultism, divination, and the thought of spirits returning to haunt the living, fuelled ignorant superstitions and fears. The people believed spirits were earthbound until they received a proper send-off with treats--possessions, wealth, food, and drink. Spirits who were not suitably "treated" would "trick" those who had neglected them.
The fear of haunting only multiplied if that spirit had been offended during its natural lifetime.
The Roman Catholic Church also developed a custom where people would go door-to-door requesting small cakes in exchange for the promise of saying prayers for some of the dead relatives of each house. This arose out of the religious belief that the dead were in a state of limbo before they went to heaven or hell and that the prayers of the living could influence the outcome.
Where Did The Tradition of Carving Pumpkins Come From?
Actually, the custom began with a turnip. People would hollow out the turnips and place lighted candles inside to scare off the evil spirits. When the Irish came to America, they discovered the pumpkin as a larger substitute for the turnip. And so, people now carve pumpkins instead of turnips for Halloween.
So in knowing that the initial roots of Halloween are pagan, to the point of being heavily involved with occultism, sorcery, witchcraft, worshiping evil spirits and making sacrifices to the dead, does this mean that we as Christians shouldn’t take part in it, or like the Catholic Church, is it ok to ‘Christianise’ it and put our own slant on it in order to make it acceptable to celebrate?
We have already established that the Bible tells us to stay away from all appearances of evil, so it is very clear-cut that this event, being entirely evil, is something that we should keep away from and not have any kind of involvement or fellowship with.
Does the Bible mention anything about fellowshipping with evil?
1 Corinthians 10:20
Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.
When we became followers of Christ, we put behind us all things that pertained to evil that were not of God, letting go of practices such as; lying, stealing, immorality, drunkenness etc. The Christian is not to be involved with or support the occult; witchcraft, demonism, or any other thing that uplifts the occult. To do so is to contradict God’s Word, dabble in the demonic and blatantly disobey our God.
But are there anymore Scriptures to back this up? Are there any Scriptures that speak specifically about witchcraft and other evil practices relevant to Halloween?
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 the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.
We see here that several Halloween practices are spoken of in detail and that anyone who participates is an abomination to the Lord.
As well as...
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
What about worshiping evil spirits/false gods?
The worship of false gods is condemned numerous times in both the Old and New Testaments and is emphasised so strongly that it is the very first of the commandments given to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”
The worship of idols is also addressed in the New Testament.
1 John 5:21
Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
These are warnings against practicing this type of evil, but what if you’re not practicing out the evil as such, you’re just dressing up and pretending to be an evil, or even a ‘nice’ character for the night all in the name of ‘fun’. Does the Bible say anything about this?
1 Corinthians 10:21
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.
This Scripture draws a line in the sand; it’s either one way or the other. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You either drink from the Lord’s cup, or from demons. There’s no such thing as compromise for the believer. Just like there’s no such thing as ‘Christian Halloween parties’ or ‘Christian homosexuals’. These are oxymoron’s. The believer is set free from their old ways, sanctified by Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
But is all this really going too far and taking things to the extreme? As long as we don’t get into the evilness of Halloween but just be involved in the event, even for the purpose of sharing the gospel or simply handing out candy (treats) when trick-or-treaters come to your door, is this acceptable in God’s eyes?
It’s a dangerous thing to rationalise and water down God’s Word, thereby exalting our own thoughts and opinions above His.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.
Nowhere in Scripture do we see God tell any of His children that they are taking His holy Word too far or getting too extreme with its teachings. In fact, the Bible is full of Scriptures that highlight the utmost importance of valuing God’s Word and holding on to its truths. James 1:21-22
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, one who is born-again has the Holy Spirit dwelling within him—he has come from darkness into light. So as one who is now in the light, how can he fellowship with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
The Bible says that believers (light) have no fellowship with evil (darkness) and should not be unequally yoked. Those who reject the light and love the darkness are not of God.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
If we claim to be a Christian, yet take delight in dressing up as evil characters like ghosts, witches, goblins, fairies etc. and go out trick-or-treating, or perhaps we don’t go as far as dressing up, yet we still take part in some shape or form, then there is something seriously wrong with our belief and we do not know or value God’s Word.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
The Lord told Israel to hate evil and love good. He did not give any allowance for being accepting of or endorsing evil in any way.
Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the Lord God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken. Hate evil, love good... Even though someone may be making a profession of faith, Amos is clearly saying that the Lord is not with those who are actually seeking evil, instead of good.
What about a Christian who wants to be involved with Halloween for the opportunity to witness to people?
Like the Scriptures state above, there is no middle ground for evil. We cannot dress up something evil—even for an apparent good cause. To have the attitude of attending a Halloween party or being involved in this event as an opportunity to witness to people is like saying attending a homosexual wedding is ok in the off chance that there will be someone there that you can share the gospel with.
If you don’t believe there’s anything wrong with this, then let me ask you this question:
Is God limited?
Because in having this attitude, it essentially limits God’s power. Believing that the only opportunity God will have to speak to that person is by sending one of His people to an event that is an abomination to Him is absolutely ludicrous (Proverbs 6:16-19, Leviticus 18:22). It not only makes God out to be powerless and restricted, it demeans and dishonours His very being (1 Peter 1:16). If there was a person at that Halloween party who needed to hear the gospel, don’t you think God could arrange a different place and time for you to witness to them—a place and time where it is not filled with evil, but is a holy gathering—a God-given appointment?
A man's heart plans his way: but the LORD directs his steps.
So although we are to have nothing to do with evil events like Halloween, does this mean that on October 31st all Christians should hide under a rock until ‘Satan’s day’ is over? No way! Because even though Halloween is indeed an evil event, it is not Satan’s day—Satan owns nothing. All days belong to God (Genesis 1).
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.
So in knowing this, Christians need not fear or have any concern when this date comes along, because we serve a mighty God who has defeated Satan, triumphing over him victoriously (Romans 16:20, John 16:33). There is no reason to fear this date—we simply refrain from participating in it.
The Lord equates spiritual maturity with the ability to discern good and evil. The more we grow in the knowledge of the truth (by reading and applying the Word in our lives), the more we will understand the difference between what is good, and what is evil ... even in the more subtle areas.
But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is,those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
I’ve heard it said by professing Christians that when we don’t celebrate Halloween, Christians are giving the enemy power by calling it evil. And they try to back this up by using the reference in 1 Corinthians 9:22 where Paul speaks of becoming all things to all people. This completely stuns and saddens my heart. How any believer could come to such a convoluted conclusion shows lack of knowledge of the Word. Paul specifically explained what he meant when he made that statement, even giving a few examples; becoming like a Jew, becoming like one under the law etc.
You will find that none of those examples show Paul going against God’s Word in order to become all things to all people. We cannot use that verse out of context to suit whatever fleshly desire we’d like to continue to practice. It’s like saying we need to become a drug user to reach drug addicts, or we need to sleep with a prostitute to reach that prostitute. This is blatant blasphemy against God’s holy Bible and the way to truly understand what Paul meant in this verse is by interpreting it with the rest of the Bible. Paul never became ‘all things to all people’ by taking part in unfruitful works of darkness—but he conducted Himself as Christ did, as we are to also. God does not change His mind. His ways are right, true and perfect so instead of us trying to bring His Word in line with our ways, we need to realign our ways to be in line with His unchangeable Word.
Death is a terrible reality for everyone—not something to celebrate or treat as fun and meaningless. Death is the punishment for sin. Since all of us are sinners (Romans 3:23), we must realise that death is coming. But God is a God of grace and mercy, and in His love He has offered a means of salvation through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who suffered and died the ultimate death in our place. All who repent and put their trust in Jesus can receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If after reading this article you know that you need to repent to the Lord and change your plans for October 31st, I pray that you stand strong in the faith and that the enemy doesn’t have a voice in your mind and actions. That instead of allowing pride to enter in and cause arrogance and stubbornness, you would have a contrite heart before the Lord, willing to learn from His Word in all areas of your life.
1 Samuel 15:23
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Let’s honour the Lord Jesus with our words and deeds (Colossians 3:17), keeping ourselves pure by abhorring what is evil and clinging to what is good.
Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
-- By Judah and Jenny Ayling