To be honest, whether or not to celebrate Halloween is something I’ve struggled with myself. Whether I should dress up or not, hand out candy or not, carve a pumpkin or not… And all of these were things my parents debated throughout my childhood. Sometimes we went trick-or-treating, sometimes we went to the church Fall Festival, sometimes we did neither.
Considering the origins and underlying tone of the holiday as a Christian, it’s hard to know just how much is good old plain fun, and how much is too much. So as followers of Jesus—the question we should ask ourselves (and the Lord) is—is it okay for Christians to celebrate Halloween?
First, let’s consider the history of it all. The holiday has been around for ages, and cultures around the world have celebrated variations of it for centuries. This article from Answers in Genesis sheds some light on the history of Halloween. But to sum it all up, Halloween’s origins are actually found in celebrations of the dead and the offering of sacrifices. And that right there is reason enough for us to take a longer, harder look at our celebrations honoring such a day.
Far-removed vs. far-reaching
Granted, most of us today feel far-removed from these beginnings. But just because our intentions are to have some good old-fashioned fun doesn’t necessarily make Halloween harmless.
Some of the traditions we observe today have their roots in evil practices. And although we see the day as a time for escapism and spooky fun, there’s an underlying dark current in the atmosphere of the holiday.
Just because we don’t recognize certain traditions as harmful doesn’t mean that the devil doesn’t have legal grounds when they’re put into practice. Whether we want to admit it or not, the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (see 1 Peter 5:8), and Halloween is a prime opportunity for him.
And that’s a fact we need to acknowledge, however unpleasant. Believe me, I get the whole cozy, spooky vibe… I even dressed up as Morticia Addams last year, I won’t lie. But maybe it wasn’t the best decision…? I mean, we need to recognize that Satan and his powers of darkness can creep in and work their influence on those who see Halloween as nothing more than lighthearted fun and spookiness.
So let’s look at some of the important factors to consider when answering the question of whether or not Christians should be celebrating Halloween.
How are you celebrating?
While we can easily debate about whether any kind of celebration of Halloween is “Christian” or not, it’s important to look at the kinds of things we’re doing. Are we dressing up as devils and witches? Because I can pretty much guarantee you that’s a poor choice (see Galatians 5:19-21).
And partaking in any kind of seance, fortune-telling, or using spirit or ouija boards is never harmless, no matter what traditions we were raised with. The Bible has this to say about it, and it’s an open-and-shut case:
“…don’t ever get involved in any divining, such as predicting fortunes, interpreting omens, sorcery, casting spells, or trying to contact ghosts, spirits, or the dead. The Eternal is horrified when anyone does these things.” (Deuteronomy 18:10b-12a)
So it all boils down to this: Halloween may seem to have it’s lighter side and it’s darker side, depending on how you view it. But make no mistake, the devil is never harmless. And dressing as demons, telling fortunes, or messing around with ouija boards are all things we should never open ourselves up to. Period.
In light of all this discussion, I feel it’s important to note that Satan does NOT own the day of October 31 any more than he does any other day—because ALL days are created by and belong to God Almighty! But, Satan will take advantage of people who open themselves up to his influences.
What does Halloween mean to Satanists?
We also need to consider what the day and its icons and traditions mean to Satanists. John Ramirez is now an evangelist for Jesus Christ, but—in his own words—he was an evangelist for the devil for 25 years.
Here’s an interview he gave regarding the implications of Halloween for Satanists, and how it impacts us as Christians. Friend, you do not want to miss this! This account is 100% eye-opening and you will be so glad you heard it! (Find more information on John Ramirez’s testimony and ministry here.)
How does our participation look to others?
Whether we like it or not, as Christians, people are watching us and taking note of what we say and do. We’re an example to each other, and we’re an example to the rest of the world. And lost people who know we’re Christians are taking note.
If they see us embracing the mainstream culture of Halloween, they’re going to assume that it must be harmless for them to celebrate witches and dress up as devils because—after all—we’re doing it, and we’re Christians. Something to think about. I mean, seriously, think about it.
Romans 12:2 tells us this regarding how to think:
Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.
And 1 Corinthians 8:9-11 tells what to consider in choosing our actions:
But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.
It might seem silly or that I’m reading too much into Halloween. After all, aren’t most people viewing it as a fun, meaningless celebration? But here’s the thing. The devil is crafty, and he seeks to make damaging things appear acceptable when really there can be deeper significance.
Alternatives to Halloween
There are several alternatives to Halloween out there that many Christians are okay with celebrating instead. Reformation Day is one that seems to be more popular in recent years. And then there are the fall festivals or harvest festivals generally put on by churches, as well as the popular “trunk-or-treat.” So let’s take a look at each of these to see what they’re all about.
Personally, I don’t remember hearing of this holiday until just a few years ago. Christians who celebrate Reformation Day pay their respects to Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses. Here’s the low-down: on October 31 back in 1517, Luther nailed his proposals for reform to the door of the Catholic church, effectively challenging the religious status quo.
The holiday is celebrated mainly in Germany, but it seems that more and more American Christians are adopting this holiday in opposition to the celebration of Halloween. But honestly? I don’t see myself celebrating this bad boy, just telling it like it is. I appreciate Martin Luther and all—and perhaps it is a good excuse to eat tons of chocolate or order a pizza—but turning it into a big celebration just isn’t for me.
Fall festivals or harvest festivals
Many churches or organizations hold what they call a Fall Festival or Harvest Festival. But if there’s nothing other than dressing up, bobbing for apples, and carving pumpkins, then it’s basically the same thing as celebrating Halloween, just under a different name. (Yep, I sure enough just said that.)
Renaming it seems to provide some sort of salve for the conscience. So the question is: what is it that makes us uneasy about calling a spade a spade? Might as well go ahead and call it a Halloween party. And if we don’t feel right about doing that, maybe that’s an indication that we shouldn’t be having a party at all.
That said, if a church offers a party centered around the Lord with costumes of Biblical characters, lessons about how death, the devil, and hell are real—and that Jesus has defeated them—I personally think that would be a great way to offer children and families an alternative to traditional Halloween celebrations.
So what is it about trick-or-treat that makes us feel the need for a Christian alternative? Obviously, it’s changed from the original intent of leaving food out as sacrifices or peace offerings to spirits. But do the real evil powers that roam this world know that? Hmm.
We may have innocent intentions, but could it still be something Satan has legal grounds to? Maybe because over the centuries he’s slowly led us to believe that it’s magically just become fluff and nonsense? Something to ponder on yet again.
So, trunk-or-treat. If it’s simply a means to give and get candy, it’s really no different than secular trick-or-treating. (Yep, I said it again.) I mean, let’s be honest, merely holding it in a church parking lot changes nothing.
Perhaps the point is to keep kids away from weirdos that might prey on them as they go from one stranger’s house to another. And that’s good. And some trunk-or-treat events encourage children to dress as Bible characters, which is also good.
But here’s what keeps coming to mind: if a Christian Halloween event isn’t being used to reach out to people with the message of the gospel, what’s the point? This is where we have to admit to ourselves the reasoning behind what we’re doing, and whether there’s any real benefit or not.
I’ve noticed recently that more Christians seem to be looking at Halloween as an opportunity to share the gospel. In fact, there are tracts specifically geared toward sharing on Halloween. Passing them out to trick-or-treaters is an easy way to evangelize since children—and their parents—will be coming to you on Halloween.
This can be a great opportunity to reach out to others with the truth about death, hell, and the devil, and how they’ve all been defeated by Jesus Christ once and for all. I would ask one thing though… If you decide to go this route and hand out tracts to trick-or-treaters, please please PLEASE make sure to give them candy, the good kind. And don’t be stingy about it (see James 2:14,17).
What does scripture say?
God’s word tells us who the devil is, how he operates, and how we can defend ourselves against his attack, as well as how to stay on the offense.
- He comes to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10)
- He is crafty (Genesis 3:1)
- He’s the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2)
- He seeks whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8)
- We put on the full armor of God! (Ephesians 6:11-18)
- We renew our minds and adopt right thinking! (Philippians 4:8)
- We possess the fruit of the Spirit! (Galatians 5:22-23)
- We’re united as the body of Christ! (Ephesians 4)
How amazing is it that the Lord has basically outlined a strategic battle plan for us against the enemy?! Victory, my friend, we have VICTORY.
After considering all the food for thought about whether or not it’s okay for Christians to celebrate Halloween, here’s the ultimate factor in decision-making. You have to use the discernment given to you by the Holy Spirit about how to celebrate, or whether you should even celebrate at all.
Here are some practical steps to take to help you know whether or not it’s okay to celebrate Halloween as a Christian:
- Listen to this testimony of a former Satanist regarding the holiday
- Search the scriptures listed in the section above
- Check your own intentions
- Even if your intentions are good, consider the impression you’ll be giving others
- Go to the Lord in prayer about it
Deciding what to do about Halloween is like dealing with any other issue we’re unsure about. The best thing we can do is ask the Lord for His revelation of wisdom on the matter, read His word, and ask Him to make clear what He would have us do or not do.
Our goal and purpose is to glorify Him and bring honor to Him. His greatest commands to us are to love Him, love one another, and share the good news of salvation in Jesus with others. How can you best do that this Halloween?
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