Is Halloween Christian?
This is a question we must ask ourselves if we are endeavouring to follow Christ, and are trying to persuade our children that there are some things in life that are best avoided by Christians. Is this one of them? Or can we allow the children freedom to celebrate on 31st October with all their friends and mates?
Despite its pagan origin, Halloween carries a Christian nametag. The Roman Catholic Church set aside the first day of November to honour all the saints who had no special days of their own. This day provided professing Christians an alternative to the pagan ceremonies with which they had been familiar, and it was known as All Saints’ Day. Since the “saints” were “hallowed” people, it was also known as “All Hallows Day.” The previous evening was called All Hallows Eve. Eventually, this became abbreviated to “Hallows Eve”, and to “Hallowe’en” from which the present word Halloween is derived.
As a “Christianized” pagan-worship celebration, the cults could continue in it only if the cult called itself “christian”—by this, massive numbers of converts could be claimed for the Roman (Catholic) Church.
But, as happened with Christmas and Easter, the celebrations continued in their earlier pagan form with very little change.
So despite having a name of Christian origin, it continues in its pagan format. Not one of the activities associated with Halloween today can be traced to a Bible narrative or instruction.
Halloween and the Occult.
Instead of being Christian, the celebration of Halloween continues to promote occult worship—adoration of witches, ghosts, evil spirits, demons, fairies and frightening scary tales and happenings. Halloween has duped well-intentioned people into believing that it is a harmless activity. But to teach our children to imitate the practice of witches and demon-worship is not consistent with learning about Jesus Christ. Nor should we dismiss as harmless the vandalism that occurs in many communities at this time.
Halloween and the Christian.
It has often been argued by Christians that the origin of Halloween has no significance to its celebration today. It might have been evil and a time of fear and dread when celebrated as Samhain, but today we have ‘moved on’ and it is simply a time of letting our imaginations run free in the world of fantasy. In our culture, Halloween has simply allowed us to look at what frightens us—spine-chilling stories, repulsive face masks and face painting—to experience it, to laugh at it, and to come through it. It has given the opportunity for communities to share some time together—to go from door to door to be given treats, or to be admired for our ghostly dressing up.
It is easy to be swayed by such a line of argument. But is it real? What does the Bible have to say on the matter of Halloween?
Halloween and the Bible.
Not surprisingly, the Bible doesn’t mention the word ‘Halloween’, nor does it mention celebrating ‘All Hallows Eve’ or ‘All Saints Day’. These are, after all, mere Christian inventions that were pagan celebrations ‘gift-wrapped’ in Christian terminology so that the pagan feasts should remain in place in order to attract those people who were seduced by them.
But the Bible does have a strong message about the underlying principles of Halloween and its occult undertones and associations.
“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 18:9–13
The Bible makes it clear that we simply can’t dress up a pagan festival by calling it another name, and expect it to satisfy God. The Israelites tried this trick when in the wilderness. The narrative relates how their deputy-leader Aaron asked the people to pass to him all the gold jewellery that they had acquired from the Egyptians, and from this he moulded a golden calf. Now the people were familiar with this calf for it was a favourite and powerful god of the Egyptians—Apis, the Bull—the god of fertility.
“He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD.”
“So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” Exodus 32:4–6