“Halloween” is a word derived from the term “All Hallows Eve” which occurred on October 31st. “All Saints Day or All Hallows Day” was the next Day, November 1st. Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day. The origins of Halloween can be traced back to ancient Ireland and Scotland. On October 31st, the Celts celebrated the end of summer. This was important because it was when animal herders would move their animals into barns and pens and prepare to ride out the winter. This was also the time of the crop harvests. This annual change of season and lifestyle was marked by a festival called Samhain — pronounced ‘sow-ane’ and means ‘end of summer.’
This was a superstitious time when people believed in fairies and that the spirits of the dead wandered around looking for bodies to inhabit on this day. Since the living did not want to be possessed by spirits, they dressed up in costumes and paraded around the streets making loud noises to confuse and frighten the spirits away. On the day of Samhain (October 31st) the people believed this day was in neither the year past or the year to come (November 1st). Chaos ruled on that day. Blood and bonfires would be evident as the druids sought protection for the people in the new year.
Around the 5th century, as Christianity developed and moved into the area, instead of adding a new day to celebrate, the Church took over the Samhain celebration. The night of October 31st became “All Hallows Eve” and November 1st became “All Saints Day”.
It is clear that Halloween is a mixture of old Celtic pagan rituals and superstitions along with early Catholic traditions. The Bible does not speak of Halloween, but it does speak about witches, the occult, and paganism. In Exodus 22:18 and Deuteronomy 18:10-12, The Bible definitely speaks about occultic practices, spirits, witches, and it also condemns the practice and the people who are involved in it. Christians are to have nothing to do with the occult. Tarot Cards, contacting the dead, séances, lucky charms, etc., are all umbiblical and can harm a Christian’s fellowship with God.
Should the Christian celebrate the modern version of Halloween? If a Halloween celebration is centered on demons, devils, and spirits, I would say don’t have anything to do with it. I don’t think it’s wrong to dress up in a costume and go door-to-door saying ‘Trick or Treat” provided that the costume isn’t demonic. As long as your children are informed and not lured into the “dark side” of this celebration, then it’s just fun for your children.
Yes, Halloween does have pagan origins, but because of your freedom in Christ, you and your kids can dress up in costumes and go door-to-door and have fun. However, if you are not comfortable with doing this, then you should not. If you have a close friend in Christ who you fear may stumble because of your participation, then you should not take part. (Galatians 2:4, Galatians 5:1, Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 2:16, Romans 14:21, 1 Corinthians 8:13, 1 Corinthians 10:25)
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