Q: The United States and many other nations celebrate Halloween on October 31. Some feel that a Christian should not participate in such celebrations. What is your point of view?
A: The Bible is very clear that a true Christian must not, under any circumstances, celebrate Halloween.
Halloween has its origin in pagan and occult worship services and ceremonies. It was later “adopted” by the Catholic Church which gave it a “Christian” mantle. However, its Satanic and demonic rites remained and can still clearly be noticed even in today’s Halloween
The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1959, has this to say about “Halloween”:
“…the occasion shows clear connections with the religion of the Druids in pre-Christian Ireland and Scotland. The Celtic year ended on October 31, the eve of Samhain, and was celebrated with both religious and agrarian rites. For the Druids, Samhain was both the ‘end of summer’ and a festival of the dead. The spirits of the departed were believed to visit their kinsmen in search of warmth and good cheer as winter approached… Divination and auguries for the new year were practiced at Samhain. These magical practices concerned such questions as who would die during the next year… It was also an occasion when fairies, witches and goblins terrified the populace… THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT THAT THE [CATHOLIC] CHURCH SOUGHT TO ELIMINATE OR SUPPLANT THE DRUID FESTIVAL OF THE DEAD BY INTRODUCING THE ALTERNATIVE OBSERVANCE OF ALL SAINTS’ DAY ON NOVEMBER 1. This feast was established to honor all saints, known or unknown, BUT IT FAILED TO DISPLACE THE PAGAN CELEBRATION OF SAMHAIN… By the end of the middle ages, the celebration of Allhallows [sic] Eve was an established part of the annual calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. However, after the Reformation, Protestants REJECTED this feast ALONG WITH OTHER IMPORTANT ONES SUCH AS CHRISTMAS AND EASTER.”
Other sources point out that Halloween was not celebrated in the United States until about 1845 when thousands of Irish emigrants flooded into New York. Today, it is said to be the “second highest grossing money maker” in the United States outside Christmas.
The Encarta Encyclopedia explains that “the Roman Catholic Church often incorporated modified versions of older religious traditions in order to win converts. For example, Pope Gregory IV sought to replace Samhain with All Saints’ Day in 835. All Souls’ Day, closer in spirit to Samhain and modern Halloween, was first instituted at a French monastery in 998 and quickly spread throughout Europe. Folk observances linked to these Christian holidays, including Halloween, thus preserved many of the ancient Celtic customs associated with Samhain.”
As one source puts it, “when Christianity spread to parts of Europe, instead of trying to abolish their pagan customs, people tried to introduce ideas which reflected a more Christian world-view. Halloween has since become a confusing mixture of traditions and practices from pagan cultures and Christian tradition… Many of the [pagan] customs survived and were blended in with Christianity.”
We are told in historical records that the Celts and their Druids believed that on October 31, the night before their New Year, the “Lord of the Death” gathered the souls of the evil dead, and that ghosts, evil spirits and witches roamed about. In order to honor the Sun God (Belenus), and to frighten away the evil spirits, large bonfires were lit. It was also believed that Samhain was a time when the division between the two worlds became very thin, when hostile supernatural forces were active and ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished. Samhain was the supreme night of demon celebrations. Spirits of the dead were believed to rise out of their graves, trying to return to the homes where they formerly lived. Frightened villagers tried to appease them by offering them gifts of fruit and nuts. This is the origin of the present day “trick-or-treat.”
Masks were worn to hide oneself from the spirits of the dead. This constitutes the origin of today’s custom on Halloween to masquerade as devils, imps, ogres, and other demonic creatures. As the “Plymouth District Library” states, “When Christianity came to the British Isles, it became the eve of All Hallows [sic] or All Saints’ Day, but the old traditions remained. That’s why youngsters wear masks when they go out trick-or-treating and it is also why the hollowed-out jack-o’-lantern has a masklike face.”
We are also informed that “Jack-o-lantern,” the festival light for Halloween, is the ancient symbol of a damned soul. Originally the Irish carved out turnips or beets as lanterns as representations of the souls of the dead or of goblins freed from the dead. When the Irish emigrated to America, they found an abundance of pumpkins, to substitute the hard-to-find turnips. They began to cut pumpkins with faces representing demons, which were originally intended to frighten away evil spirits. Additional popular symbols of Halloween are bats, owls and black cats. They were originally feared because people believed that these creatures could communicate with the spirits of the dead, or that witches could turn themselves into them, especially black cats.
Many countries and cultures celebrate some form of Halloween. In Sicily, the Festival of the Dead is a big holiday, celebrated on November 2. It is believed that the deceased family members return to leave sweets, cakes and trinkets for the children. In Mexico, a festival called “El Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) begins on October 31 (or on November 2, according to some sources). It is described as a “gruesome festival, where death becomes a kind of neighborly figure, appearing on candy, jewelry, toys, bread, or cakes. This is the time when the souls of the dead return and when the living are to honor them: for example, doors are decorated with flowers to welcome the ‘Angelitos,’ the souls of the dead children.”
Considering the origin of Halloween and its customs, who can deny, as one Christian author wrote, “that virtually all of the symbols of Halloween are evil? Witches, monsters, ogres, vampires, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, devils and demons all portray evil… When America and the world celebrates the Festival of Samhain and the powers of darkness by masquerading as evil creatures or decorating our homes, schools, businesses and churches with occult symbols, Satanic power is glorified… When Christians participate in Halloween, its sends a message to children that witchcraft, demonism, Satanism, and the occult are something fun, entertaining and harmless… Some children develop a fascination with the supernatural which leads them later into more sinister occult practices… What’s wrong with Halloween? It does not have even one single redeeming virtue. It is a custom born out of pagan superstition. It is a demon-inspired, devil-glorifying, occult festival. It is an evening holy unto evil, death, and divination…”
God was very careful to warn the nation of Israel about separating itself from the practices of the surrounding nations who were steeped in pagan practices. The priesthood of Aaron was to ” ‘…distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean'” (Leviticus 10:10). All modern nations–including those descended from Israel–have lost both the knowledge and the will to distinguish between good and evil. The consequences are far reaching in God’s sight! These kinds of evil practices have an accountability, and the Word of God clearly reveals that events now arising will soon culminate in the return of Jesus Christ.
The Bible commands us to have nothing to do with the devil or his evil forces of darkness (compare 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; Ephesians 5:10-12). Paul warns us that we must not attempt to partake of the cup of the Lord and of the cup of demons (1 Corinthians 10:21). We are also warned not to try to communicate with the dead (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). Witchcraft in all its different forms and variations is abominable and sinful (1 Samuel 15:23; Galatians 5:20). Further, the entire concept underlying Halloween or All Saints’ Day, that men’s “immortal souls” continue to live after man dies — either in heaven or in hell or someplace else — is totally unbiblical. For further information on these important questions, please read our free booklets, “Do You Have an Immortal Soul?” and “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”