Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Halloween celebrates . . . what?

Yes, it is that time of year again. Spider webs are wrapped around trees like tinsel. Vampires, witches, zombies, werewolves, and other such creatures are out en-mass, greeting us with a sharp-toothed smile or upturned, if wart covered, noses. Skeletons offer bony waves and leering grins like they are our long-lost relatives come to pay final respects. Death is everywhere we turn, sometimes in gruesome forms. Yes, today we celebrate a holiday unlike any other: Halloween.

What is this holiday? Where did it come from, and why do we celebrate it?

From what I have studied online, Halloween comes from a wide mix of traditions, festivals, and cultures, but a large part of this mix has "Christian" roots, surprisingly. Here is a paragraph from Wikipedia that explains Halloween's Christian orgins:

"Today's Halloween customs are also thought to have been influenced by Christian dogma and practices derived from it. Halloween falls on the evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows' Day (also known as All Saints', Hallowmas or Hallowtide) on 1 November and All Souls' Day on 2 November, thus giving the holiday on 31 October the full name of All Hallows' Eve. Since the time of the primitive Church, major feasts in the Christian Church (such as Christmas, Easter and Pentecost) had vigils which began the night before, as did the feast of All Hallows'. These three days are collectively referred to as Hallowmas and are a time for honoring the saints and praying for the recently departed souls who have yet to reach Heaven."*

October 31 and thereabouts used to be (and still is for the Catholic Church) a time to honor the saints and pray for the souls in purgatory. Though I do not believe in glorifying the "saints" to the extent Catholics do or praying souls into Heaven, Halloween used to serve a much better (if mislead) purpose than it does today. Thus, Halloween literally means "hallowed evening", or "holy evening".

I think now, however, we can all agree that Halloween is far from a "holy" evening. I don't think your average trick-or-treater celebrating Halloween gives even a thought to anything Christian. Instead, Halloween clearly celebrates and condones  . . . evil. There is really no other word I can think of that defines it better. And I dare you to prove me wrong. What proof do I have of this? Oh boy am I glad you asked!

1) Death is celebrated

Well, obviously! As I mentioned in my first paragraph, it's everywhere--plainly, or in the form of skeletons, graves, and other such symbols. Halloween is obsessed with it! Death, though, is the last thing we as Christians should celebrate. It is our most prevalent reminder of the consequence the world received after turning from God, and furthermore, it is also used in the Bible as the state of a human before they come to Christ--a very bad place to be in. Death is our enemy (1 Cor. 15:26), not something to celebrate!

2) Casper the "friendly" ghost?

Ghosts are as populated in Halloween decorations as clouds are in the sky (and here in Washington, our sky is usually one thick spread of clouds). They are often represented as friendly enough, lovable little chaps who would hug you if only they were more than a puff of air. Of course, there are those other kind, the ones horror movies are based off of by the dozen, but I won't get in to that at the moment. Instead, let us see what the Bible says about ghosts. Are there really such things?

Well, yes and no. Every human on Earth does have a soul that will depart their body when they die, so yes, there are such things as "ghosts". However, these souls will never have an opportunity to roam on Earth, for it is appointed for men to die once, and then to be judged (see Heb. 9:27). Your soul will never be free to vacation on Earth; it has only two eternal destinies: Heaven or Hell.

But what of all these ghost sightings and people who say that deceased family members have spoken to them? If these occurrences cannot be attributed to ghosts, what then? As it is clear from the Bible that there are supernatural forces, I do believe there is supernatural activity that can be seen in our world. However, this activity is far from an encounter with a  ghost or deceased family member. Instead, I believe if there is any actual "ghost activity", it must be a result of Satan or his demons. Satan can put on many disguises. He can appear as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), and he indwelt a serpent to deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is quite possible that he and his fallen servants can appear as ghosts or the voices of deceased family members.

So, there is no such thing as "ghosts" in the sense that we imagine them, but what they can represent is something terrible. Just remember that the next time you see ghosts portrayed as a harmless part of a holiday.

3) Witches are not our friends

Yes, another major theme of Halloween today is witchcraft. Regardless of whether it's that rather funny little witch taking a spin on her broom, or the more sinister versions we occasionally see, witches are clearly contrary to God's word. Deuteronomy 18: 10-12 says:
"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."

 As witches are detestable to God, so should they be to us, His children. There is no place for a witch at any of our celebrations.

4) Vampires, as well

In God's eyes, the blood of any creature or man symbolizes life, and God required the lifeblood of every creature and human on Earth (Gen. 9:4-5). Thus, eating or drinking blood was forbidden.
 "For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, 'You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.' [Lev 17:14 NASB]
 No matter how much you like the "Count" from Sesame Street (One, ha ha ha, two, ha ha ha), vampires also have no place in any celebration of ours.

Do you see a common theme here? It is as if Halloween takes everything contrary to God's will and celebrates it. That is why my family no longer celebrates Halloween. Instead, we will be enjoying ourselves at a "Harvest Festival" at our church this evening, celebrating God and all He has done for us in the past year.  I would encourage everyone reading this to do your own study on the matter and form convictions on this holiday! I hope this post has helped shed some light towards that end.

As always, I would love to hear your opinion on this matter. Comment below!


* From Wikipedia: Halloween


  1. Very nice, Kyle! I 100% agree on the evils of Halloween. Glad to hear your church has a Harvest Festival; ours does too, and I think it is most definitely a healthier alternative to Halloween.

  2. Yes, healthier in both senses of the word (think mountain of candy). ;0)

    Hope you enjoyed your festival as much as we did ours!

  3. I went through a multi year phase about a decade ago where I abhorred all things Halloween. But with all my Christian (and non-Christian) friends and family having fun with the holiday, I gradually softened my position. I think modern day Halloween has become so secularized that very few people think of it as a day to worship Satan anymore (at least in the circles I run in), and the danger of falling into the evil occult clutches or displeasing God just because I am handing out candy to little princesses and super heroes is long past. (I do still abhor demonic costumes though, for all the reasons you quote.)

    One of our associate pastors had an interesting blog entry on the dilemma. You can read it here:

    That said, I fully respect your position, Kyle, and think if YOU feel it is evil, then it IS evil for you! We should never do something that doesn't feel right in our hearts and souls. Be blessed. Happy Harvest Festival! :)

  4. I just stumbled across this blog entry, that you might find interesting food for thought.

  5. Good to hear from you again, Donna my friend! I've missed your comments!

    I appreciate and respect your opinion on Halloween! I am sorry if I at all offended you with this post. I also do not think your average participator in Halloween nowadays joins a cult or worships Satan afterwards, but to me, the "normalizing" of things contrary to God's word--something I believe Halloween does--is something that we should not take lightly. If you can use Halloween as a ministry opportunity or just a fun way to meet the neighbor kids, great! But if Halloween in any way makes you "go along" with the views of a secular culture that is becoming increasingly darker, then I think it should be avoided.

    God bless!


  6. No offense taken. :) I agree with your point about "going along". Thanks for responding. xoxox