Pastor Jason Murphy
Thoughts on Halloween
October is one of my most favorite months of the year. It is one of my favorite months for several reasons. The weather is changing, and finally starting to cool down. The leaves are changing colors and are falling, which makes for beautiful scenery. College football is in full swing, while Major League Baseball is climaxing, which lends itself to some really fun and interesting nights around the T.V.
However, October is also one of the months that I hate the most. It is one of the most hated months because of Halloween. Everywhere you look there are pictures of ghosts, ghouls, goblins, skeletons, witches, graves, and every other image of death imaginable. People will stand in line for hours, and pay good money, to walk through a “haunted house” that they know is not haunted, and yet still get scared when they walk through it. Then, there is the jack-o-lantern, costumes, make-up, and of course trick or treating
To many people, Halloween is nothing more than a fun night for kids to get dressed up in costumes, and go door to door and ask people for candy. “It’s just innocent fun”, they say. But I ask you, “Is it really innocent?”.
Common sense dictates that Jesus Christ and the Word of God is about life and the celebration of it. Halloween is about death and the glorification of it. This casual observation alone should be enough for us to question our involvement in Halloween. So, let us take a moment to question our involvement in this day.
Halloween is rooted in Celtic pagan idolatrous worship. It is a holy day to Wiccans and Satanists.
Halloween is rooted in Celtic pagan idolatrous worship. It is a holy day to Wiccans and Satanists. Anton LaVey, probably America’s most recognizable Satanist, author of the Satanic Bible (there may be some valid evidence that he plagiarized the work), and founder of the Church of Satan said, “Next to one’s birthday, Halloween is the most sacred holiday.”
Isaac Bonewits, America’s most famous and recognizable leading Neo-pagan, explained that "Halloween is a time to deepen the connection with the cycles of the seasons, to the generation that has come before us, and those that will follow, and to the gods and goddesses we worship (www.neopagan.net)
Satanists, Wiccans, and pagans all worship Samhein, pronounced sow-wheen. Samhein is known as the Lord of Death. Pagans, Wiccans, and Satanists worship Samhein with a festival from October 31st through November 2nd. They believe that Samhein is the Lord of Death and that the harvest time ends summer and ushers in the period of death or winter until Eostre or Easter brings new life in the spring. As a way to worship Samhein, the ancients would build huge wicker cages and burn crops and animals, and sometimes humans, as a sacrifice. These fires were called Bonefires or bonfires. They believed that the veil between the spirit world and the material world was the thinnest on October 31st. This night was used to lift the veil and understand the future by communicating with the dead, sorcery, witchcraft, and divination.
One of the most common observable customs of Halloween is that of trick or treating. Kids dress up in costumes, and go from house to house and say, “Trick or treat”, and people give them candy.
But, have you ever wondered how this custom originated? Remember, on October 31st, those who practice witchcraft and Satanism, both the ancients and the moderns, believe that the veil between the spirit world and material world is the thinnest. The ancients believed that spirits of the dead roamed the earth on that night. So, people would make food and pies and cakes for them, and leave them out in the hopes that the spirits would like the treats and not “trick” them or vex them.
The priests would walk around as well and ask for treats. If they were not satisfied with the treats, they would “trick” or vex the house as well. In an attempt to trick the dead spirits, people would dress up in costumes so that they could move about freely and not be harassed by the spirits, as they thought the spirits would think they were one of them.
While I am on this topic, what about the jack-o-lantern? The jack-o-lantern was used to ward off evil spirits. There is some evidence to suggest that the original jack-o-lantern was a turnip. Eventually, the jack-o-lantern transitioned to the pumpkin as we are accustomed to seeing today.
How did we get from Samhein to Halloween? Well, around the 8th century, Pope Gregory IV, attempted to “Christianize” the event. The Roman Catholics honored the dead anyway on November 2nd, known as “All Souls Day”. So, when Catholicism began to expand, they took the pagan “holy day” and used Christian terms in an attempt to “Christianize” the event to make it easier for the pagans to convert to Roman Catholicism. He called it Halloween in an abbreviation of All Hallow’s Eve, which was the night before they honored the Christian dead every November 1st, that were martyred, and before they honored all the dead, known as All Souls Day, which took place on November 2nd.
I realize you may be having trouble accepting what I am saying. You might be tempted to write me off because I am a committed Christian, and a Pastor, that does not participate in Halloween. If you are having trouble accepting my thoughts on Halloween, then listen to what Isaac Bonewits, a self-proclaimed pagan, has to say about all of this stuff. He said, “The Christian Church was unable to get people to stop celebrating this holiday, so they simply sprinkled a little holy water on it and gave it a new name as they did with other Paleopagan sacred holidays and customs which have Paleopagan elements associated with their dating/or symbols," -- such as "Valentine's Day/Lupercalia, Easter/Eostre, and Christmas/Yule.". (neopagan.net)
I have only scratched the surface of the pagan, demonic origins and practices associated with Halloween. However, if you have the guts to do the research, an open mind to change viewpoints, and the integrity to follow the truth, then you will conclude as thousands of other committed Christ-followers. The conclusion is there is nothing Christian or innocent about Halloween. It is a pagan festival and has nothing to do with Jesus Christ and true Biblical Christianity.
What does the Bible say about all of this? If we are Christians, then we are to base our worldview on the Bible. Scripture alone is our authority for all matters of belief and practice. The Scripture has a whole lot to say about all of this. Here is a sampling:
Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (ESV) “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, 14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.”
Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV) “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,”
1 Thessalonians 5:22 (ESV) “Abstain from every form of evil.”
3 John 11 (ESV) “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.”
Galatians 5:16-21 (ESV) "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (emphasis added is mine)
2 Corinthians 6:15-18 (ESV) “What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
There are many more Scriptures that could be quoted to prove the point that Christians really should reconsider being involved in Halloween. Halloween is rooted in paganism and Satanism. It is all about death, sorcery, and witchcraft. It has nothing to do with Christianity.
I can hear the protests now. “It’s just an innocent fun night”. “There is nothing wrong with dressing up and getting candy”. “When my family participates in Halloween, we are not doing the wicked, evil, and occultic things. We are just having fun”. On and on the excuses go.
Reread this post. There is nothing innocent about Halloween. Even Anton LaVey has been quoted as saying, “I am glad that Christian parents let their children worship the devil at least one night out of the year. Welcome to Halloween.” I concede that there is nothing inherently wrong with kids dressing up, provided that the costumes are not evil in nature or kind, and there is nothing wrong with getting and eating candy. However, when you do these things in connection with Halloween, it is wrong because you are participating in an event that is evil in intent and nature. If you want to dress your kid up as a doctor and give him a candy bar, by all means, do it. Just do it on November 20th, or February 10th, or some other day. Just don’t do it on Halloween. If you cannot do that, then your issue is you secretly like Halloween and you want to give in to your flesh and participate in this day.
Lastly, allow me to address the “salt and light excuse”. Many Christians want to participate in Halloween. To justify their participation, they often resort to the “salt and light” passage in Matthew chapter five. They say, “We are just being salt and light as Christ commanded us”. I have discovered over the years that those who talk the most about being salt and light usually are the least. They just use that text to justify their secret desire to be as close as possible to the world and culture as they can and still fancy themselves as Christians.
When you read the text, a different truth is presented than what most modern Christians espouse. Read the entire passage.
Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV) “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (emphasis added is mine)
The truth that is revealed is that true Christ-followers are salt and light. We do not have to do something to be salt and light. We are salt and light. We are made into salt and light at our new birth. As salt and light, we are different from the world and culture around us. We are called to keep that difference. We are not called to hide it by trying our hardest to dress, talk, act, and do what the world and culture does around us so that we will be considered “cool” and “relevant”.
Many modern Christians wrongfully believe that if they dress, talk, act, and do what the world does, then they are being salt and light, and the world will like them, and the world will not make fun of them for being a Christian, and they may think they are cool and their church is cool, and they might actually come to church one day. In the process of being their version of salt and light on Halloween, they might actually get to say, “God bless you” or “God loves you”, or if they are really bold, they will slip a Gospel tract in with all the candy they put into the kids’ trick or treat bucket. Wow! What light they are shining while dressed up as a vampire. I must stop, for if I continue, I fear that I will ruin your screen from all the irony and sarcasm that is dripping.
The truth is that by participating in Halloween, you are not being salt and light at all. Yes, this even applies to church Halloween alternative parities, and trunk or treat too.
Being salt and light requires you to be different than the spoils and darkness around you. It does not mean that we are to try and mimic as much as we possibly can and still retain some semblance of Christianity. No. Truly being salt and light requires you to be noticeably different than those around you.
By not participating in Halloween, my family and I have numerous opportunities each year to share our faith in, and our commitment to, Christ. Our witness over the years has been well-received. Why wouldn’t it be? After all, it’s easier to listen to someone witness about their faith in Christ when they don’t have a needle in their arm, just as it’s easier to listen to the witness for Christ from someone who isn’t dressed up as a ghost, skeleton, zombie, witch, fairy or something childish and stupid.
These are my thoughts on Halloween. My goal was to give you some things to think about when contemplating your involvement in this day. I pray that you will really and truly consider the matter in light of the totality of Scripture.