Brothers, sisters and friends…
Halloween and participation in it is at best ignorant and, at worst, demonic. We can understand, perhaps, those outside the church to be unaware—although a casual look at its associations (TV, advertisements, movies, etc.), costumes and traditions is a highly visible reminder of its evil roots and components and influence—but God’s people should not be asleep or unaware concerning this matter. More on that later.
Let’s educate ourselves generally so we can be sober and knowledgeable about it before we go any further. “All Hallow’s Eve” is the day before November first. The first of November is a Catholic Church-initiated day to commemorate the saints who have passed away. The word “hallow” means holy, as in the Lord’s Prayer, “…hallowed be thy name…” speaking of God. The preceding day, October 31st now designated as Halloween, originated in Scotland, Wales and Brittany. According to AmericanCatholic.org, it “marked the beginning of a new year and the coming of winter.” They (the Celts) celebrated the festival of Samhain, Lord of the dead. This is already wrong as Jesus is the only Lord and the first commandment tells us, “I am the Lord Your God…you shall have no other gods before Me.” Right away we know this holiday is worldly, pagan, demonic and contrary to God’s laws. James 1:27 tells us to keep ourselves “unstained from the world.”
The World Book Encyclopedia states also that the Celts celebrated this ancient pagan festival over 2,000 years ago and that the people “believed that the dead could walk among the living.” The practice of carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns began in Britain. In the 1600’s, that term referred to a watchman who carried a lantern for light at night while on duty; the term “jack” is synonymous with boy. It was also a phrase to describe unknown fluttering lights that were thought to be ghosts or some other spirit we would consider to be evil. Young boys used to carry these to spook people. There is even a legend from Ireland of a man known as “Stingy Jack” who, as folklore has it, played a trick on the Devil by inviting him to have a drink with him at a pub. He convinced the evil one to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks because he was stingy, hence the name. Leaving out some details in order to make a long story short, the enemy didn’t like this and cursed Jack by making him wander the earth aimlessly with only a hollowed-out turnip (with a burning coal inside) to light his way. Jack was a liar and a manipulator and played with the accuser.
Today, everything associated with Halloween is evil from changing into a costume of something or someone you are not (vampire, ghost, witch, zombie, skeleton…) to going to parties and drinking, to smashing pumpkins among other things. A brilliant family member described it quite factually as “picking a day, dressing up as something weird, going to strangers’ houses and asking them for something free as if it’s expected.” I first laughed at how odd it sounded, but then I realized the perfect encapsulation of this dangerous holiday.
Now to the believers and Christ-followers among us. I have noticed for a few years now how the churches have handled Halloween where we live. I may be wrong, but I’m assuming it’s the same in the rest of the country because it’s a deceptive mindset more than it is a tradition. It may be based on ignorance (lack of knowledge), secular practices or on purpose. We should not be able to claim ignorance, especially as a pastor or a relatively mature believer. And, if you are one of those, it is your/ our responsibility to make sure the less mature and new are instructed properly. If it is because of secular society rubbing off on you, I refer you back to James 1:27 and to such passages as Deuteronomy 17:17a and 7:3-4, Nehemiah 13:25 and others. These passages mostly refer to taking foreign wives. Why is it prohibited? It is because their gods and idols would lead the husbands and sons “from following Me to serve other gods.” In addition, worldly practices and lifestyles have the effect of opposing Christ-likeness and righteousness.
I have also observed for several years attempts by churches to combat the negative influences of Halloween by one of two well-intentioned means: Trunk-or-Treat and Fall Festivals. They cross denominational and geographic lines. I know that their motives are probably pure. They know children and parents are going to be out that night and they want to offer them an alternative. That’s good on the surface or in theory, but in practice the outcome is quite different. Either the dates and times are changed to another day, which negates the chance of having people on church grounds on the 31st (thereby nullifying the original intent). Or they are only actually having a sort of “Halloween at Church” event. Either way, we’re just putting a church spin on an evil and pagan, ungodly practice. Worse yet, we’re joining “Christ to Belial” (see 2 Corinthians 6:15). We are engaging in combat but not getting the victory!
Some of us might reason that we don’t want our children to feel left out of what seems or looks like a fun practice or celebration. And to adults, it’s “cute” with the kids and the costumes and the candy. I am sure many of your children would ask you this question if you didn’t allow them to participate: Why can’t we do it like all the other kids? And you, as a parent, don’t want them to miss out or have them feel like they’re missing out because they’ve done something wrong. That might well be the child’s perception.
However, I submit to us all that the Lord is loving and merciful. And that He is all about blessing, fun and prosperity within the bounds of holiness. How do we handle this matter? We instruct our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4) from their birth through adulthood. We explain to them that Christians are different, but not better than the world around them. This might even lead into a discussion about the Gospel and evangelism to family and friends and neighbors. All through the Bible we are instructed to “train up the child in the way he should go,” “these words that I command you this day shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children…” and others. Christians are set apart, we are God’s possession, we are chosen and called out. They need to know this even before they are of an age of sufficient cognizance towards forgiveness and salvation. We are already born into sin with a contrary nature; do we need to poison our children any more by allowing them to take part in things which are unpleasing to the Father? Not if we love them.
By the way, there are many feasts and times of joy, eating and celebration in the Bible that the Lord, Himself, has approved of and initiated for us! Let’s learn of these, get acquainted with our Judeo-Christian history and roots, and partake in ways which are pleasing to God; such as the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of First Fruits, the Feast of Weeks, Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the Feast of Tabernacles, etc. They can celebrate their difference and uniqueness in ways that the world cannot and should not until they come to know the Lord. These are times for God’s children to have fun!
Further, if we allow our children to partake in Halloween or Easter (with the bunny and eggs that take away from the glory of the resurrection) for any length of time and then we stop, how will we explain to our children when they inevitably ask us, “Daddy, Mommy, if it’s not good, why did you let us do it in the first place?” So, brothers and sisters, pastors and deacons, elders and friends, family and neighbors—as long as it is called today, let us affirm our love for Christ and our children by letting this year of 2014 be the last year we participate in Easter, Halloween or any other false, worldly, contrary celebration in the grace and power of God Almighty! God bless you.