Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love passing out candy and seeing everyone dressed up in costumes. I love Halloween movies (not the horror movies, but the fun ones like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Hocus Pocus). I’m a grown adult and still dress up for Halloween—this year I’m going to be Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
So how did Halloween start and is Halloween safe for Christians to celebrate?
What we know as Halloween has similarities to a couple of traditions. The oldest tradition celebrated similarly to Halloween was an ancient Celtic tradition called Samhain. Samhain was a pagan celebration that honored the pagan gods of harvest and death. The ancient Celts celebrated with bonfires, feasting and dancing. This celebration took place at harvest time.
The second tradition that Halloween takes its roots from is a Catholic holiday called All Saints Day, held on November 1. The night before All Saints Day, October 31, is called All Hallows Eve, which evolved into Halloween. All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day were contemplative rather than celebratory. Catholics used this time to remember the saints and to meditate on physical death and eternal life.
Nowadays, Halloween is mostly for dressing up, trick-or-treating and harvest celebrations like hayrides and festivals. My church holds a harvest celebration every year. We dress up, pass out candy and have carnival booths for games; it’s a fun and safe way for families to celebrate Halloween together and get to know people in the church.
I grew up in a family that embraced the fun side of Halloween (my dad still buys funny skeletons that sing and dance) and he loves handing out candy. Because of its similarities to ancient pagan celebrations, however, many people believe that celebrating Halloween is wrong for Christians. My advice is to ask your parents what they think.
Some people have never heard that Halloween evolved from a Catholic holiday, so they assume that Halloween is all about black magic and evil. Try educating people. If they don’t want to listen, then that’s their right. Some people use Halloween as an excuse to experiment with things like Ouija boards, tarot cards and other demonic things. Don’t be drawn in to those! I can assure you from experience that the powers behind those things are as real as you or me and they are dangerous in many ways.
Before you celebrate Halloween, do a heart check: Why do you celebrate Halloween? I do it because I enjoy dressing up, seeing kids dress up and like any excuse to give little kids lots of candy.
Please keep in mind that the Bible tells us not to be a stumbling block to other believers; if you do celebrate Halloween, please be safe.
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. (1 Corinthians 8:9)
Do you celebrate Halloween? Does your church have a Halloween or harvest celebration?