“Hallow – WHAT?”
Halloween, celebrated October 31st each year, began as an ancient Celtic winter festival. Later, Catholic’s began honoring saints and the faithfully deceased on this date. These traditions and religious rituals became melded with European folk traditions. Many of these Halloween traditions believe that on this day the dead can return to the earth. Celts lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts. Of course, this is in direct conflict with the Bible. In the 19th century, Halloween began to lose its religious connotation and became a secular based children’s holiday.
Christians have many ways to celebrate or not celebrate Halloween. Some churches and communities have an “alternative” Harvest Party where the costumes of ghosts, witches are replaced with those of princesses, super-heroes, etc. Some Christians choose not to do anything.
Scripture does not speak about Halloween specifically, but it does give us principles on which we can make a decision. In Old Testament Israel, witchcraft was a crime punishable by death: “ And the soul that turns after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people”( Leviticus 20:6). The New Testament teaching about the occult is also clear in Acts 8:9-24, wherein the story of Simon the sorcerer, shows that occultism and Christianity do not mix. Simon himself converted to Christianity.
So, should a Christian celebrate Halloween? Is there anything evil about a Christian dressing up as a princess or cowboy and going around the block asking for candy? No. Are there things about Halloween that are anti-Christian and should be avoided? Absolutely! If Christians are going to take part in Halloween, their attitude, dress, and most importantly, their behavior should still reflect a redeemed life: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel”, (Philippians 1:27). Some churches hold “harvest festivals” and incorporate non-ghoulish costumes, in a godly environment. Also, many Christians hand out tracts that share the Gospel along with Halloween candy.
The decision is yours. As in all things, incorporate the principles of Romans 14. Be ever mindful, we are to do all things as to the Lord: “ And whatever you do, whether by speech or action, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” ( Colossians 3:17).
James S. Hall, Jr., Pastor