What Do I Think About Halloween?

Opening comment: I try to keep all my blog posts short enough to read easily in a few minutes, so please keep in mind all my posts are strictly overviews.

On to Halloween. What do I think of it?

Well, first of all, I’ll say that I find, as in many other topics related to God and His Word, that there are often extremes in people’s views on the topic of Halloween. Balance and “truth in tension” seems to be very hard for many Christians. Proverbs 11.1 says “A false balance” is not good!  This has to do with weights and measures, but it applies anytime we give something NOT ENOUGH weight, or conversely, TOO MUCH weight. Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim. 2.15 to “STUDY to show yourself approved unto God… RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth.” In other words, Timothy, learn how to balance the various truths in God’s Word. Don’t fall in the ditch on either side of the road. Look at both sides of a coin.

So, how does this apply to Halloween? Well, I see two extremes…

1) Some people are so secular they are not aware that Halloween has some pagan and occult background, and they just celebrate it without thinking about that. That’s not really wise.

2) People on the other extreme get paranoid, and they think any child walking out the door on Halloween night in a costume of any kind is in danger of becoming demon possessed!

Both extremes are wrong!

Here’s a few points that I think are worthy of being said…

1) Halloween was originally a Gaelic holiday called “Samhain” that was a celebration of the autumn harvest, before the coming of winter. It definitely had some pagan practices similar to some things that are still done today on Halloween. (Today’s practices are similar in look but not normally in intent). But also many of the practices originated from purely secular sources, and actually some were related to helping poor people and saying prayers for relatives who had passed away (not saying that’s good theology 🙂 ). The church celebrated All Saints Day and All Souls Day and All Hallows Day on Nov. 1 and All Hallows Eve the night before (Halloween came from the “hallow” terminology) on Oct. 31, as a Christian fall celebration of great past saints. (Oct. 31st these days is also now a celebration of Reformation Day, commemorating the anniversary of Martin Luther’s famous 95 theses). So, both Christian and pagan celebrations were going on together, and over time they more or less have merged into one holiday with a big mixture of customs and practices, with no one really paying much attention to or specifically celebrating either saints or pagans! It’s turned into basically a modern Americanized cultural kids candy-fest with costumes, carved pumpkins, bonfires and parties with generally no religious or spiritual aspects intended or practiced. (It should be noted however that some occult groups do use this day as a celebration for their black arts.)

2) So, how did I respond to Halloween first of all with my own kids? Due to the pagan aspects of it, we did not “celebrate” Halloween, or go door to door, (candy that way can be unsafe and unpredictable especially today, and if my kids were to ask me “what’s Halloween and why do we celebrate it?”, there would be no good answer!) but we always did do something fun in place of it, something even BETTER if we could! The fall is GOD’S harvest season, NOT the devil’s! The devil does not own costumes, candy, pumpkins or bonfires!! I will use any of those at any time I want to for the glory of God! They belong to HIM and not to the devil! The devil is a THIEF! There is nothing demonic about pumpkins for heaven’s sake! God created them! Just because I carve a cool one does NOT mean I’m trying to scare away demons! It wouldn’t work anyway! No, they are just fun to make and they can look cool! 🙂 The devil CANNOT have my pumpkin LOL! So, I have had fun with my family and kids at many fall and harvest and autumn alternatives like celebrating at Hallelujah Parties, Harvest Parties, bonfires, Treats in a Trunk (safe candy) etc. etc. We simply did something fun for fall to the glory of God (and used whatever we wanted that was not occultic) and told our kids God can do BETTER than the devil! We don’t need to “celebrate” Halloween.

3) So next, what about kids going out on Halloween who are not your kids? How should we respond? Love them! Give them some candy! Give them an invite to your church’s kids ministries too! Be FOR Christ, FOR your church, and not on a hobby horse AGAINST Halloween. Just being against Halloween is a terrible evangelistic entry point as they will not understand what you are talking about with Druids, pagans, etc. Get them to church and God can take it from there! As I mentioned in my intro, Halloween is now an Americanized cultural secular holiday with basically no religious overtones. They are just having fun. So unless they are purposely or inadvertently delving deeper into witchcraft (see my next point), most of it is basically harmless. If they come to your door in some demonic costume, what better thing to do than to show them the love of Christ! If you are not comfortable doing that, then take your family out to eat or to a movie or to an alternative function. I do however always like the idea of reaching out whenever possible. You just have to learn how to do it.

4) Having said all that, I will also say it is IMPORTANT to stay away from occult things. DON’T dress your kids up in some demonic, witch or horror costume! Are they going to get demon possessed? No. But a continual practice of or participation in that sort of thing can begin to open doors. (Harry Potter has made witches “cool”, but there is no such thing as a “cool” witch!) Also, things like Ouija Boards, Charlie Charlie, seances, etc. are even more dangerous and can open doors to the spirit world and bring people into oppression for sure. Witches do operate on Halloween, and I have often prayed on that night to bind their work. The power of God is greater than the power of the devil! Here’s what Christians did with occult stuff in the book of Acts… Acts 19:18–19 “Many believers openly admitted their involvement with magical spells and told all the details. Many of those who were involved in the occult gathered their books and burned them in front of everyone. They added up the cost of these books and found that they were worth $10,000.”

Sidebar from 2017: This is something more recent in the realm of costumes that I also think needs to be mentioned, and that is the sexual lewdness that has crept into costumes. Pastor James Emery White points out… In an article in the New York Times titled, “Good Girls Go Bad, For a Day,” Stephanie Rosenbloom writes of the changing nature of women’s Halloween costumes in the last several years. Little Red Riding Hood, in her thigh-highs and miniskirt, does not seem en route to her grandmother’s house. Goldilocks, in a snug bodice and platform heels, gives the impression she has been sleeping in everyone’s bed. And then there is the witch wearing little more than a Laker Girl uniform, a fairy who appears to shop at Victoria’s Secret, and a cowgirl with a skirt the size of a—well, you get the point. As Rosenbloom notes, the images “are more strip club than storybook.” No wonder Halloween costume stores have signs out front that say: “No one under 18 allowed without a parent.” Parents beware!

5) Lastly, I don’t preach sermons on the topic of Halloween. It’s low on my list. With only 52 weekends a year to preach the Word, there are far more important topics to cover on vision for the Kingdom of God and for people to be saved! I simply refer people to things like this blog I’m writing 🙂

Thanks for listening! (reading 🙂 )

God bless!

–Ps. Randy