Halloween has gradually become one our cultures most anticipated and beloved observances. Kids look forward to the night for weeks. Parents everywhere will be sending their children out in the streets to go door to door so that they can beg for candy. They can dress up as a cowboy, fairy princess, favourite superhero, cartoon character… ghost, goblin, horror film slasher, the grim reaper or maybe Satan himself. Oh what fun!
I will make no bones about it, I think Christian parents who are sending their kids out for Halloween are naive and uninformed. Whenever I bring this up, well meaning parents think I am making too much of a big deal about it and that it is just good harmless fun. Really?
Even on the very surface it is easy to see that Halloween is clearly rooted in the occult. It goes back to the time of the ancient Druids in England. These were Celtic pagan nature worshippers who celebrated their most important religious festival at harvest time called Samhain. They believed that on this night the barrier between the natural world and the supernatural was removed, and the souls of the dead were able to move freely among human beings.
In AD 835, some year after Christianity was introduced to the Celtic people, Pope Gregory IV moved the ‘Feast of All Saints’ from the spring of the year to November 1st in an attempt to supplant Samhain and break the stronghold of paganism. The night before (Oct 31st) was know as ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ (Halloween) and was a prayer vigil. It wasn’t long before the original pagan traditions had crept right back in and reclaimed the night as their own. The Druids believed that on Halloween wicked souls that had died in the past year returned to their original homes. In order to free yourself from their evil influence you had to set out food and provide them with shelter for the night. If they were satisfied, it was believed they would leave you in peace. If they were not satisfied the ghosts would cast a spell on you and wreak havoc in your home. Historically this was the basis for dressing as ghosts and goblins and going from house to house asking for a treat, lest you give them a trick. Today the night before Halloween is called ‘Gate Night”. Again it is a throw back to Samhain and is considered the night when the these evil spirits are released from the underworld. Delinquent youth use it as an excuse to roam the streets causing mischief and doing acts of vandalism. Hello! This should not be so hard to connect the dots.
Why on earth we have allowed our little children from their earliest age to participate in this blatant celebration of evil completely escapes me. “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer. (Deut 18:10) Apart from the fact that what we are doing is completely forbidden in scripture, there is at least one more reason to take a pass on Halloween. When we entertain anything occultic or demonic we are giving Satan an invitation to intervene in our lives. Eph 4:27 says, “Do not give place to the Devil”. Satan is not permitted to just run roughshod over us. He really needs an invitation of sorts. Jesus lived completely free of demonic interference. On one occasion the crowd tried to kill Him and could not. They tried to push him off a cliff… but He just walked through the crowd. He clearly stated that no one could take His life but that He would lay his life down Himself. Throughout His earthly walk, try as he may, the Devil could not touch Him. Why not? John 14:30 tells us; “… for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.
There are all sorts of ways that we can invite evil into our lives; sin, disobedience, unforgiveness, drugs, spiritual neglect etc. But nothing is more dangerous and damning than deliberate spiritual invocation through pagan rituals, witchcraft and the occult. Like it or not, that is exactly what Halloween is. It is unbelievable that an entire culture has bought into celebrating Halloween. I will call it what it is; modern day, family-friendly, pagan witchcraft!
For the 25 years our church has been in existence we have always provided a Halloween alternative for our kids. Some will think even that is an unacceptable compromise. I don’t. It is pretty hard to explain to a 6 year old that you are going to stay home with the lights off and spend the night praying, when at the same time, all the kids from their school will be going out collecting huge bags of candy. Instead we counter-program the night and do an indoor carnival at the church. The kids wear wholesome costumes, play carnival games and win tons of candy. Last year we had over 500 kids come for the evening, plus their parents. I won’t lie, it is organized mayhem, the place becomes a complete zoo, but at least it offers a safe and superior alternative to inviting the Devil to make our lives a living hell for yet another year.
Whoa Mark, you are stepping on some toes here. Good, I sincerely hope so! I think every parent, Christian or otherwise, needs to ask themselves this question; Is Halloween a trick or treat? Trust me on this one. It’s a trick!
I do hope everybody understands that I am not standing in judgment of your choice but rather trying to provoke a deeper look at Halloween. When we have been raised doing something (like Halloween… as I also was) it is very hard to see any hidden or inherent dangers. I have been to countries were spiritism is very much part of their culture. Places like that celebrate Carnival (Brazil), Mardi Gras (New Orleans), etc. live under incredible spiritual bondage. These kinds of Halloween type festivals exist all over the 3rd world and have profound spiritual impact. In many places they have become intertwined with their Catholicism. In Uruguay we were in an evangelistic meeting where hundreds of people were under the influence of demon possession and needed deliverance. Once you see firsthand the wholesale spiritual bondage that is possible, you would never ever consider Halloween harmless fun. There are also hundreds of books written on the subject of Halloween many by people who have studied the histories of these spiritually bound countries. But instead of reading them many Christians will naively defend their dearly held Halloween traditions. Do a little poking around for articles online. You might be surprised what you discover.