Should Christians celebrate Halloween? The answer is complex. As you and your family prepare for Halloween, continue to study, pray, and seek God’s wisdom.
Across the world, the month of October ushers in a new season of weather, pumpkin themed foods, and fall celebrations. Also, October means the arrival of an often-celebrated day: Halloween. While the celebration provides an outlet for costume creations and candy consumption, for many Christian families the question remains: Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
The answer: it depends.
God desires faithful obedience for you and your family. For Christians, Halloween offers the opportunity to model faithfulness and obedience in our decision-making.
Table of contents
- Do Christians Celebrate Halloween?
- Reasons Why Christians Don’t Celebrate Halloween
- Questions about Halloween
- Bible Verses about Halloween
- Can Christians Celebrate Halloween?
At the very least, Halloween provides a conversation starter between you and your kids, or a neighbor, or even a co-worker. From there, Halloween presents an incredible opportunity to develop new relationships and share your faith. As a parent, continue to study, pray, and seek God’s wisdom on this topic. Follow the conviction of your own heart through the Holy Spirit so that, whatever your family decides, others might see Christ working through you.
As you make your decision on whether to have a celebration on Halloween, here is more information about the celebration – how it started, what it means, and what the Bible tells us that can guide our decision.
Let’s begin with exploring the history of Halloween.
History of Halloween
What comes to mind when you think of Halloween? There’s a good chance you think of an assortment of dancing skeletons and decade-old candy corn. But the origins of Halloween extend all the way back to a group of Celtic pagans living in the Iron Age.
In fact, Halloween originated under the title of Samhain. This ancient festival was a three-day created by the Celts in Northern Europe. Translated in modern Irish, “Samhain” means “summer’s end.” So, the festival literally signaled the conclusion of summer and beginning of a new season. Originally, Samhain stemmed from pagan and supernatural roots, through sacrifice and offerings.
Throughout centuries, Samhain continued in mutated forms until around 609 A.D. when Pope Boniface IV declared a new celebration.
Initially, Pope Boniface IV created All Saints’ Day or “All-Hallows Day” to be celebrated before summer. All Saints’ Day focuses on celebrating martyrs and saints who sacrificed their lives for the Christian faith. Later, Pope Gregory III moved the celebration to the fall season to coincide with Samhain.
Over the years, All Saints’ Day or All-Hallows Day continued its evolution into the modern celebration of Halloween. Samhain’s sacrifices morphed into Halloween’s handing out a different kind of offering: candy. Nevertheless, Halloween contains roots in a pagan celebration of death and rebirth. So, should Christians really celebrate Halloween?
Christians and Halloween
For many Christian communities, there are three main responses to Halloween. The rejection, acceptance, or redemption of Halloween. Approaching difficult circumstances surrounding the celebration of Halloween requires communication within your family about expectations and boundaries.
Do Christians Celebrate Halloween?
It’s safe to say Halloween is one of the most marketable and culturally popular celebrations on our calendar. Clever marketing schemes across streaming channels such as Netflix and HBO contribute to Halloween’s growing popularity. Additionally, spending for Halloween is predicted to cross 10 billion dollars for the first time ever in 2021. And according to a variety of statistics, Halloween participation is only going to continue its meteoric rise.
Most of the debate surrounding the celebration of Halloween focuses on the celebration’s unhealthy fascination with evil. Now, are there things about Halloween that are clearly Anti-Christian? Absolutely. Is there anything inherently evil about letting your kids dress up as a cheerleader or superhero to ask for candy from their neighbors? Not necessarily!
Reasons Why Christians Don’t Celebrate Halloween
Swirling around Halloween’s fall festivities and trick-or-treating are the not-so-subtle connections to problematic supernatural practices. Despite the distance from its period of origin, Halloween still remains connected to paganism.
On a general level, Halloween is a time of the year celebrated by advocates of Wicca, a network of practicing witches. As the official religion of witchcraft, Wicca believes October 31 to mark the time when the separation between the spiritual and physical realms is the thinnest. In other words, Halloween is the best time to try and interact with the supernatural realm, according to Wiccans.
Going further, some of those otherworldly connections align with Satanism. Halloween has always maintained a relationship with occultism. Additionally, Halloween’s premise includes an intentional and public display of imagery, mischief, and behavior generally looked down upon any other time of the year.
All things considered, this leaves Christians in a difficult place. On one hand, there are elements of Halloween that are harmless and fun. While on another, Halloween contains sinister influences and promotes behaviors that present troubling realities for families of all backgrounds. So, let’s explore a few more key questions about Halloween.
Questions about Halloween
What Does Halloween Mean?
In linguistic terms, Halloween is simply a contraction of “All Hallows” and “evening.” The word itself means “Saints” evening, and it comes from the Scottish term for All Hallow’s Eve. Over time, a variety of roots and word stems morphed into the modern spelling of Halloween.
Is Halloween the Devil’s Holiday?
If we base our answer off the historical origins of Halloween, then the answer is no. However, that doesn’t exclude its overarching associations with death and paganism.
Within the context of Christianity and biblical references, Satan’s, or Lucifer’s, origin has little to do with Halloween. Yet, the relationship between the Devil and Halloween exists for a reason. The reason has developed over centuries because of the original emphasis upon death and even more sinister elements.
Is Halloween a Christian Holiday?
As mentioned earlier, Halloween contains direct roots with paganism and historical pagan practices. To most historians, it’s unclear how long the ancient celebration remained strictly a pagan holiday. However, the early church held yearly celebrations and vigils for martyrs and deceased saints.
Then, throughout the Early Middle Ages, various figures within the Catholic Church adopted influences from Samhain. Yet, it is clear to say that the modern interpretation of Halloween hardly resembles anything associated with Christianity or the Bible.
Is it a Sin to Celebrate Halloween?
For followers of Christ, our actions and behaviors are judged according to our obedience to Christ. Within the context of celebrating Halloween, this truth remains. We are defined by our actions and how closely our heart is aligned with God’s desires.
Whether it is a sin for Christians to celebrate Halloween depends on how exactly you plan to celebrate. For some families, this might require more intentionality in discussing how you plan to celebrate Halloween. For other families, these discussions might lead to a change in your plans. And that is a perfectly acceptable response.
It’s true, the Bible contains no direct references to Halloween by name. However, Scripture carefully instructs Christians against participation in pagan practices directly involving witchcraft, the occult, and the worship of other deities.
In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul writes, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Our obedience to God requires a careful understanding of how much God cares about our choices. In deciding whether to participate in Halloween, you and your family can consider how your actions might align with God.
Dressing up in a costume and handing out candy on October 31 is not a sin. Just as it wouldn’t be a sin to do the same thing on April 1. However, how you represent Christ matters, especially on polarizing days such as Halloween. Remember how you portray Jesus in your behaviors, how you interact with people and even your costume choices.
Published on Tuesday, October 10, 2023 @ 4:55 PM EDT