How should Christians react to Halloween?
"Halloween is the most dangerous day of the year -- when Satanists and witches snatch children off the streets and sacrifice them in Satan's name!"
"We don't worship other gods or honor the dead on Halloween. Halloween is nothing but a secular time of fun and games -- an excuse for the kids to dress up
and overload on sugar!"
"I love to see the children, out in the neighborhood streets with their parents, dressed in funny clothing, having a wonderful time .... and mocking the
Devil with laughter."
Those are three examples of different Christians reactions to Halloween. Allow me to offer some opinions.
1. Occult and Satanic Elements:
Deuteronomy 18:11 says: "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, one who calls up the dead."
This certainly makes it clear that we should not participate with the pagans in speaking to the dead on October 31! One of the present realities we must be aware of is that in recent decades, pagan, Satanic, and cultic groups have claimed Halloween as a "holy day." As Christians we must avoid any action forbidden by our Lord. We should never seek to know the future through horoscopes, divination, or astrology. We should not seek to talk to or call up the dead. We should not pray to other gods. We should not seek "power" over other people by the use of spells or supernatural forces. The practice of pagan witchcraft is specifically prohibited in both the Old and New Testaments (Leviticus 19:31; Acts 19:18-20; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 22:15). We are to submit to God and resist the devil, not form alliances with him (James 4:7).
2. Non-Satanic elements:
Although some pagans, cults, and devil worshippers may have adopted Halloween as their favorite "holiday," the day itself did not grow out of Satanic practices. Halloween has some weak connections to Celts celebrating a new year; some possible connections to European prayer rituals of the Middle Ages; but Halloween is only as evil as one cares to make it.
Most holidays (even Christmas and Easter) contain evil, neutral, and good elements as part of their celebration. Christians must discern one from the other and make decisions that glorify God and cause no harm to their personal walk with Christ. In my opinion, present day Halloween has some evil elements (the connection with witchcraft and Satanism), some neutral elements (sorry, costumes didn't come from evil Druids involved in human sacrifice), and some good elements (asking for candy was an attempt by the Boy Scouts of America to calm the abuse of the holiday!).
Each Christian must decide for themselves whether dressing up in funny clothes and asking for candy from the neighbors is 'satanic' or not. Allowing your children to dress up as mass-murderers and as villains from the Hollywood slasher movies may or may not be 'satanic,' but it certainly is stupid. Making such creatures objects of 'hero-worship' might not be giving the kind of message to children that necessarily enables them to become righteous, productive adults. But costuming children as ballerinas or cartoon characters seems far removed from Satanism and paganism.
3. Alternative Celebrations:
I would also suggest using the holiday to be involved in the joy and celebration of All Saints Day, thanksgiving for harvest, and the celebration of the Reformation of the Church. Mind you All Saint's' Day isn't Biblical either, although it can be used to lift up the glory of God. All Saints' Day was started in the 1600s in dedication of a new Catholic Church and to honor the saints. Protestant denominations denounced it.
Two anonymous tracts offer workable alternatives to the worldly celebration of Halloween:
One successful alternative used by a number of churches is a "Faith Festival" in which children dress as their favorite Bible character and gather for a special children's service with puppets, a Christian film, or something special. This offers an ideal opportunity to explain the spiritual significance of Halloween and to encourage the children to remember Hebrews chapter 11, which features great men and women of faith who have gone before us. The "Faith Festival" can be a time to thank God for His many blessings.
As believers, we can take this opportunity to provide a creative alternative to this celebration. In ancient Israel, the majority of Jewish festivals occurred at the same time as pagan festivals. God did not simply tell his people not to engage in pagan festivals, He provided an alternative. During every major pagan festival, the Hebrew people would take part in a God-given alternative, a festival celebrating the same general subject but with a completely different focus.
There are many wholesome alternatives for our children: a church Bible costume party, Reformation Day church service, holding a harvest celebration like the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.
4. Being Positive Without Fear:
I would certainly suggest using the holiday to teach our children about the triumph in Christ of God over evil. This should not be a night that we hide from in fear, but a night when we stand confident in victory over all that is evil, because the One who lives in us is greater, than the one who lives in the world (1 John 4:4). "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them!" (1 John 4:4).
Holding oneself apart from the world is perhaps a good thing, but remember that we are reminded to be "in the world" as well as being "not of it." There are very few times when strangers actually come to your door and ask you to give them something! Halloween is a wonderful opportunity to include small, easily understood tracts with the candy given to children, with more appealing and detailed ones given to teenagers that are out trick-or-treating. Our family has even used Halloween to hand out Christian tapes to everyone that has come-a-begging! A smile, and a "God bless you!" will save more souls than a grumpy, Pharisaical frown.
As a believer in Jesus Christ and thus a child of God, I personally do not give much honor to the celebration of Halloween, since in the popular culture it seems to contain many elements that God does not consider honorable.
A good general principle should be to refrain from any participation that would either compromise one's faith or bring dishonor to the Lord Jesus Christ. Another good principle is to look for ways to become a positive, Christ-honoring voice in the midst of secularism and paganism. Each Christian must be persuaded in his own conscience about how he approaches Halloween.
Regardless of the position you take regarding your family's response to Halloween, if you are concerned about the evil associations with Halloween, you can rejoice that you can "resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7) and that through the cross Christ has "disarmed principalities and powers," and "made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them" (Col. 2:15).
Disclaimer: All information was taken from the Bible and various resources off the internet. I claim no ownership. This is only information provided.
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