HALLOWEEN: TRICK? OR TREAT?

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.

Druids Celebrate Spring Equinox At Stonehenge

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 23 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!

Further comment Oct 25th:

I do hope everybody understands that I am not standing in judgement 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.

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58 Responses to HALLOWEEN: TRICK? OR TREAT?

  1. Bruno says:

    Interesting read

    Since I’m the questioning type, here goes

    Being raised a Christian by my parents and having always had fun at Halloween without even learning what witchcraft was until my adulthood, I’d have to think on my end that everything lies on how the parents explains to the kid what is going on.

    Let me play Devi… I mean the advocate of the other side for a second. Technically, this alternative that your church gives is to make the kids dress up (just like you do on Halloween) and get candy (just like you do on Halloween) except it’s not with the other people. Isn’t it the same? Are you not just “containing” everything Halloween rather than doing something different? To me, it’s more of a “cheat” or maybe (and it’s possibly true) that I’m missing a key difference.

    I guess what I mean to say is that you’re pretty much giving a different “context” to the kids while borrowing some of what the kids find fun. With that said, couldn’t you completely understand a parent bringing his kid down the streets collecting candy on Halloween if they, just like you do, give a different context?

    I really hope I make sense

    Thanks,

  2. Mark Hughes says:

    There is a big difference. It might be like the difference between teaching your kids card games like crazy 8′s, or letting them go down to the local casino and play blackjack. To argue that the kids are still just playing cards and didn’t know there is something wrong with gambling does not hold up. It is a parents responsibility to protect their children from participating in evil activity. Crazy 8′s would be an acceptable alternative to blackjack for most of us (but arguably not to all).

  3. Sarah Wall says:

    Thank you for writing this. As a child I never was allowed to go out trick or treating, my Dad was VERY strict and for good reason. I was always taught that it’s the devils holiday. However, I now have a son who is 10 years old and I’ve let him join in on halloween activities and go trick or treating for the last two years. What was I thinking? Thank you for making it clear in my mind again, although I have no idea how I let it get so foggy! :) We just discussed this issue and he attends a Christian school that organizes a gym activity night like you described above and that will be our fun for the evening on the 31rst of Oct. Also, this weighed heavily on my mind since the beginning of the month, as I realized that halloween falls on the Sabath.

  4. Ed says:

    I have to say that my wife and I have been on the fence on this for years. We have let our kids go out on Halloween despite its questionable history. We have clearly explained to our kids that some people do treat in its withcraft context and we need to avoid getting involved in any of that stuff. To us, it’s just a fun time to dress up in a tasteful costume and get a bunch of free candy.

    The way we see it, non-Christians have been hijacking Christmas for years. They call it Xmas (taking the Christ right out of it, which irks us to no end) and make it all about mass commercialism and decorated trees. Most people don’t know or don’t care what Christmas is really all about. I don’t think non-Christians who celebrate Christmas are any closer to finding Christ than those who don’t celebrate the occasion because the true meaning has been lost on all non-Christians.

    By the same token, Christians who let their kids celebrate Halloween are hijacking a sacred pagan event. To us, it’s all about fun costumes and free candy. We don’t care what the history is. And we (perhaps naively) don’t think we’re any closer to becoming pagans simply because we walked around the neighborhood soliciting free candy. It almost feels like revenge against pagans: We don’t care about your rituals and what you think this day means, we’re going to collect as much free candy as we can, so take that!

    Having said all that, we are planning to come to this year’s Rock O Rama as we’ve never tried it before. Too bad it’s only for kids up to 11. It would be nice to have an option for older kids too.

  5. Gwen - Kidz Rock says:

    Ed,
    There is an option for older kids, if they would like to volunteer and run a carnival game at Rock-O-Rama, we give all of our youth age volunteers a candy bag at the end of the night. They can come in costume if they choose and most likely will have as much fun as the kids. You can call the church office for more info or to sign them up.

  6. Vanessa says:

    Growing up I loved Halloween and dressed up every year. But when I got married and had children my husband and I found a book called ‘Mommy Why Don’t We Celebrate Halloween?” After reading this book we decided not to “do” halloween anymore. Basically the book says what your blog says. We read this book to our children every year when they complained about not going trick or treating like thier friends. Our family still bought candy and handed out some to other children when they came to our door as we don’t want to judge people who let their children go out on this night. Our children learned to look forward to watching a movie as a family and handing out candy to the trick or treaters who make it out to our place(we live on a farm).

  7. Victoria says:

    WOW.
    I NEVER researched Halloween before….I had no idea that it began as an occult ritual! I certainly do not use the holiday as an excuse to participate in the belief systems of these peoples of the past-or the ones that are living in the present.
    HOWEVER,
    without darkness, there is no LIGHT.
    We would never know the difference without the two!
    And God has proven this: by working through the Pope Gregory IV, proclaiming the next day the Feast of All Saints…AND
    through Dr.Martin Luther in 1517.
    A German monk and professor of theology who published the first bible on THIS particular day!
    So it would be passed through the hands of the common people.Thusly creating a legacy
    and much peace among those, that were troubled by sin, and its consequences!
    I respect you Pastor Mark for being a responsible leader and leading your people in the paths of righteousness. Being a difficult subject to discuss, and find all that agree, you are sticking to your guns and pushing forward in your belief system. I admire that.
    But this time, I have to let you know that I will continue to let my children to go out with their father and score the free candy, it’s pretty much a safe and military operation in our family. I get to sit in a toasty mini-van and sip Starbucks coffee while the little ones get to scream with joy and disbelief over the full-size candy bars they just got in their bags.
    Besides!
    SOMEONE has to pray for,
    watch over,
    and protect us sinners…….:)

  8. Anessa says:

    Thank you!

  9. tamara says:

    We tried the festival at church a few times, but found it didn’t really work for our family. When the weather is warm, we have had the absolute best experiences going out together as a family, chatting leisurely with neighbours we run into on the street, listening to the laughter of the kids as they run door to door with their friends, even watching them learn to band together and face their fears. I understand the history behind Halloween, and I respect people’s sensitivities to that; I’m certainly not attempting to be an advocate for participating in a celebration of evil. (If we researched we would see that almost every holiday we celebrate today, including Valentines Day, Christmas and Easter, has some rooting in paganism). Truthfully, I don’t really like participating at all in the huge commercial machine that kicks into overdrive somewhere mid September, where Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas decorations all come out at the same time. Even our most sacred holidays have become commercialized beyond recognition. That’s gross to me. But I’m not going to stop celebrating Christmas or Easter, just because of what we’ve done to pollute them. I’m not going to stop giving my kids gifts, just because as a society we have turned Christmas into a gluttonous greed-fest.

    So, with Halloween, what I tell my kids is this… We are Christians, and we are NOT going to hand over a day to the devil. Every day is the Lord’s day, so let’s think purposefully about ways that we can redeem what the devil has stolen. As Christians, we SHOULD be the most inviting, generous, warm-hearted people on the block. We should give the best candy on the block. Go door to door with your children and GIVE cookies to your neighbours, instead of taking candy. If Halloween truly is a day of evil, then seriously, shame on us if we simply turn out our lights and hide in our basement until it’s over. We are called to be a light in the darkness. Turn all your lights on. Show kindness to the stranger at your door. Don’t give the devil his own day.

  10. Sally says:

    This is a hard choice for a lot of people and one has to be totally convicted that the Lord does not want you to participate in Halloween. I chose to stand up for what I believe in; on the side of following what the Bible says, in Leviticus 18:3. It was not an easy choice for me as my husband at the time was all for Halloween. But I am thankful for the one thing he did do and that was go along with me on this one. I am still not sure why as he was not a believer. As a result I was able to keep my kids away from all Hallowen activities. I even keep them home from public school to avoid the party at school. It was a stand that I felt was important just a Muslim would fast for the month of Ramadan.
    When I was a little girl my mother would send us out trick or treating and I was always afraid. So when I became a follower of Jesus Christ and knew the reason why Halloween was celebrated it was a relief to me to find out that I no longer had to take part in this celebration. And no wonder I was afraid as I now know that witches and wizards fast and pray in order to send out evil spirits to enter in children while trick or treating on Halloween; the spirit of fear being one of them.
    Also when I was a girl of about 8yrs old and found out that Santa Claus wasn’t real I felt so cheated and lied too that I vowed that if I ever had kids I would not lie to them. So my kids were taught that Santa Claus was only a legend that people celebrated at Christmas. They knew right from the start that Santa wasn’t real. My thinking is this if we tell kids that Santa who they can’t see, is real when he isn’t, why will they believe that God is real when we they cant see him either. You may think that I am a real killjoy but my kids were not deprived of any candy or fun. They just didn t beg for it. They also went to Church where I organized the Hallalujah celebration where we had games and a pinata.
    I know that taking a stand against Halloween is not popular, but as a Christian we are called to take the narrow road not the wide (popular) one.

  11. Karen says:

    Growing up, we used to love Halloween. It was the one time of the year when we got to go out and see the neighbors. In a rural community, that’s a great feat! Sometimes we got candy, and sometimes we were so caught up in visiting that we forgot about the candy! Often we met new neighbors that became great friends. It was a great memory for my family.Mom and dad used to decorate the yard with light up pumpkins and scarecrows, orange mini lights. My husband and I, have tried to raise our children the same way…it is a chance to greet the neighbors, meet new people in the area (in rural areas this is more fun than in the city!) Cute kids come to the house, everyone visits, everyone leaves with candy including the adults. It’s all GOOD.
    If we are going to make Halloween something that is dark and evil then that’s what it is going to be…dark and evil. If we make Halloween into something that is good then that is what it will be. I LOVE hearing that 500 kids come to your church for your “party”! What a tremendous outreach to the families in your neighborhood.

  12. Sally says:

    Another point I missed saying was the “hook’” that satan uses to snag believers….all that free candy….so hard to pass that up eh?

  13. Sheldon says:

    Sorry Mark, I don’t agree with you on this one. Unless you tell me that you don’t give gifts to your kids at Christmas or chocolate at Easter time then you aren’t being fair. Having a separate “Halloween Party” at the church where you do absolutely everything Halloween entails (dressing up, giving out candy and having fun) is participating in Halloween just the same as the rest of the kids who go door to door. I’m not against your church party, but don’t tell me you are not celebrating Halloween. And hiding out in our basements also isn’t the way to go. I agree with another commenter that we need to be a light in this world and that means getting out into the community and participating with them but in a Christian way. We can go to a bar with friends but don’t get drunk. We can go to movies but avoid the ones with extreme violence and sexuality. Some might consider that riding the fence, but if that’s the case then I guess Jesus was a fence rider too. I think you need to rethink your position on this one.

  14. mark says:

    I am not going to tell anybody what they should do on Halloween or Christmas, but there is a big difference between the two. One is commemorates the birth of Christ. The other a pagan ritual of appeasing evil spirits. There is no way NOT to be guilty by association if we have our kids out on the street saying ‘trick or treat’. I actually am not surprised that so many christians fail to understand how the spiritual world works. The day of the year (Oct 31st or Dec 25th) is not important, it is what we do on those days that matters. If we continue to entertain evil spirits (which is what Halloween is and stands for) in our culture and then we should not be surprised that evil prevails. Will it corrupt your child to go out and ask for candy? Probably not. That is not the point.

  15. I just posted about Christians, Halloween, and idolatry at my blog and a trackback led me here. I strongly disagree with your views about Christians compromising on this issue in order to keep their kids from feeling ‘left out’. This type of thinking is destroying our children and our witness. We are to be a peculiar people – not just another flavor of the world (satanic) system. God made sure that the Jews knew that this type of thing was unacceptable – why do so many Christians think they will not be held to at least as high a standard? The way is hard, the door is narrow, and few find it!

  16. Victoria says:

    And again I must say….
    In the very words of Pastor Mark himself…
    “You can lead a horse to water… but you can’t make him drink.”
    We have to remember that we can only lead by example, a Christian lifestyle, and only wait for others to follow.
    We can’t use fear, or any other type of psychological warfare to influence a true Christian. God waits for those of us that have a personal relationship with Him, and He helps us to see the choices we have to make. He doesn’t control us, but is there to straighten us out when we get mixed up.
    Pastor Mark, I am curious as to your personal history growing up and the kind of influences YOU had as a young person-what were YOUR parents like-did they know, or want you to be, a man of God?

  17. Sally says:

    I think there is a big difference between going trick or treating in ghoulish costumes and having a celebration of Jesus Christ at the Church. Churches are meant to be houses of refuge for the Body of Christ and this is one night it definitely is!
    We are redeeming and occupying the land not compromising with it.

  18. Ray says:

    I am as always told me by my intelectual son to be known for making sweeping statments so I ave a reputation to uphold .No Apoligies son should you read this!
    It is revealing reading the comments and to no supprise as society keeps falling into total decline both in intellect and grace. We are as I have noticed more than ever these last weeks in just the same times as was before Gideon’s time. But His Mercy endures and He waits on us to decide freely. Only when we bottom out can some of us see .I was one of those and had free will to do as I pleased and at times still do. We know the solution but seem incapable of fixing it ourselves and there-in lies the key. I am a father of 5 kids aged 21-30 and have learned most things the hard way seems. But He is For me and not against me and my family. I have been judged harshly but have as well done the same. Even in my failures as a dad I see my kids teaching my grandkids these things so His Grace &Mercy and He fills our gaps when we fail so all is good when I repent and “allow” Him. Lord have mercy on us all!

  19. Betty says:

    What people do, to get free candy?!!
    Thanks, Pastor Mark, very well done.
    Where I was growing up, Halloween was totally evil, no questions asked, even then people used that day to destoy other peoples property, especially people they could not stand very much.

    The big difference from the church program and the streets, is the atmosphere and there is nothing wrong to be different from the world, because we have Jesus living in us.

  20. Sherry says:

    Well Pastor Mark
    you have confirmed in my heart what I have known and felt for years. Our daughters are grown now, and those days in small town Ontario are gone. But my husband and I gave up Halloween when our girls were still in public school. We did not have a church that would have an alternative at that time, but eventually we found one and we celebrated what we called “Hallelujah Night.” I think it is wonderful that you are having an alternative for the children Under a roof that is covered by God. Children have a hard time in this world, never mind understanding all this stuff about paganism. I think a wise parent is going to show their children how to take a stand for God by leaving the things of this world behind, and going to the church to have fun. Lets let our kids have fun as God wants that. He is a loving God, but he wants us to do it wisely. Let’s all put God where He belongs no matter what day it is. Thanks

  21. tim says:

    I like and agree with the comments from Victoria and I look forward to a clever rebuttal from pastor Mark.

    As a christian with three children, all of whom have enjoyed the sanctity of safe, free confectionary booty. I can see no harm in participating in the occasion, as long as your heart and motives are in the right place. It would be akin to being able to worshipp the lord inside a mosque, God knows the desires of your heart.

    Again a rebuttal would be appreciated

  22. Sally says:

    I am appalled at how naive people are regarding the spiritual realm. It again shows how little people know about the tactics of the enemy. You cannot go into enemy territory without reprecussions. Before my conversion to Christ I was heavily involved in the occult and knew the ins and outs of how the enemy can gain a doorway into a persons life such as the with the seemingly harmless visiting of such things as mosques where you take off your shoes in respect for their gods etc. The people of God need a wake up call!
    I have to agree with Sheldonon one point we need to be that “peculiar people” that God says we are!

  23. Mark Hughes says:

    Tim
    The Mosque analogy does not work well at all since we are not sending our kids out on the streets to worship God but to participate in ‘trick or treating’. It is more like sending our kids to a witches coven dressed like a cowboy.

    I do hope everybody understands that I am not standing in judgement 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 intertwinned with their Catholicism. In Uruguay we were in an evangelistic meeting where hundreds of people were under the infuence 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.

  24. Victoria says:

    “With greater power comes greater responsibility…”
    I too, was surrounded by Evil itself,
    during my music production years and realized that I had to infiltrate the system and throw in my Christian remixes to force back the evil my fellow associates were allowing into this world.
    That doorway exists everyday, not just on Halloween,Pastor Mark.
    I belonged to a record pool…this is only a system for D.js that have a regular Bar gig or that do Radio…(I won’t mention what Pool…THEY know who they are….)that passed me and my partner a record that was a fantastic progressive trance song. HOWEVER, as it continued to play, I heard a voice recorded onto the track saying,”Dev**…”
    I froze with fear.
    My heartfelt responsibility was to re-record this track minus the words…and so I did! I was appalled and disgusted AND TERRIFIED as my partner played this a couple of times WITHOUT editing it, and I literally watched his eyes turn Black and the devil jump into his skin. In broad frickin daylight.
    Thats how easy it is.
    Maybe you should appreciate how naive most people are “Sally”.
    God Bless you,
    and God forgive me, as I have since been too afraid to get into the music scene again for fear of losing my spirit and real purpose in life-my children.

  25. Victoria says:

    Good morning Pastor Mark!

  26. tim says:

    Pastor Mark,

    In good nature,

    Thank you for not judging me on my seemingly naive secular tendancy during a rather insignificant consumeristic childrens holiday. Because, as you would know; the same measure you use to measure others will be used to measure you (or something along those lines)

    And you are going to have to forgive me. I don’t find much to your argument that we are living in a world of darkness and spiritual principalities. Further, the fact that satan exists in certain modern day cultures, dogmas and idelogies is widely accepted and irrefuteable.

    Rather,

    As Paul writes to the thessaloians ch 5 v16-18 “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks”.

    I trust you are lead by the holy spirit and have not your own agenda to swell. We all know what can happen when good intentions get mis-construed…

    All the best, and in Christ,

    Tim

  27. Sally says:

    People who are naive get my total prayer support that they will read the Word and grow up quickly in the Lord. The Word of God in Hosea says “My people perish for lack of knowledge”.
    Just the statement that this is an “insignificant consumerist childrens holiday” (halloween) shows me the inroads that this beguiling deceiving spirit has accomplished in our society. The old saying that “just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right” seems to have no effect on us believers anymore.
    God wants us to be wise and to know what we are up against in this battle against the wiles of the enemy.
    And when a Man of God, like Pastor Mark who definitely listens to Holy Spirit, gives us a wise teaching; we as believers should take it to heart and act on it.

  28. Victoria says:

    Only 5 more days until Oct.31.
    I think as a whole, (the group of your Christian followers)only want to please you, Pastor Mark, as we have great respect for your ideals, and the way you present them. There are always going to be a few of us that have important reasons (our kids mainly) that we need to stray from the “absolute truth” of this matter. I believe in the power of prayer, and would request that you post a carefully worded prayer for us to recite on October 31/2010 that will protect our children and our world, the cities we live in, and all of mankind on this day and night. I will willingly participate with my children, as I teach them prayer is the phone line, to speaking to God.
    Just tell us what time to kneel and pray.
    It’s your job to HELP us protect ourselves.
    Whether we stay in or not, we should all be figuring out a way
    to keep evil at bay.
    Peace and Love to all.

  29. Tim says:

    Sally,

    Please, if you will. There is context and perspective to consider. First and foremost, who are you trying to fight with your narrow minded stance on a harmless holiday. Satan or the evil gingivitis? keep the issue in context. We all clamored for candy in unGodly garb at points in our lives. How did you turn out? I don’t feel I was devil-worshipping.

    We all should know to bring up our children right and they will grow up in the eyes of the Lord.

    secondly, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms reads:

    Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
    (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
    (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
    (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
    (d) freedom of association.

    Surely we can see past the pulpit on some occasions even if it is for some harmless childhood fun. After-all you are using the internet to post your comments are you not?

  30. Rav says:

    I believe that there is no right or wrong answer to the question – Should Christians participate in Halloween? People should really study the matter for themselves and follow the convictions of their own hearts. We cannot judge the motivations and intentions of an individual’s heart, unless they have declared precisely what it is. Otherwise, to judge is fallacious and damaging.

    I support the alternative that the church offers and encourage anyone to attend. Understanding the historical roots of Halloween I agree with what you said about giving the evil spirits a foothold – if that is what you are seeking, and consciously supporting. For most people that I know, it is a time to welcome your community to your doorsteps. As Christians we are called to reach out to a world filled with dangers and be the light of Christ. Halloween can be a means to seize this opportunity to share our faith with our neighbors, or at the very least, reflect the image of Christ

    Halloween today almost spits in the face of its historical roots and purpose. Originally seeded in a bed of evil, it has now become a event that facilitates community – sharing and welcoming those that on any other day, you likely would have not encountered.

    Personally, I will use the day to meet people in my community and to share treats with the children as they approach my door with anticipation and excitement. I do not participate naively, but with a sense of purpose to walk across the street and introduce myself to a community that needs Jesus.

    We can either condemn it, remain neutral, or use it as an opportunity!

  31. Sally says:

    I can only speak for myself when I say that when one knows the Truth and the Life after one has been in deep darkness for much of one’s early life, like me, I tend to chose pathway of life for me. For me that pathway is abstaining for what I think are wordly ways. I have been saved from so much. I can only stand in wonder and thank my Lord Jesus Christ for what He did for me. He is an awesome God! To whom much is given much is required. And I have been given much, total freedom in Christ!
    Standing for Truth and Life does costs one something these days, and it is not where eveyone is at, in their walk with the Lord. As I said before we have to be convicted of the choice of whether or not to participate in Halloween, I just know that I am called to do something different than the norm.
    We are so blessed to be believer’s in this country Canada. We do have the freedom to chose!

  32. M G says:

    It is obvious there is a lot of contraversy surrounding this day. To me, it sounds like there are lot of people defending something they know in their hearts is wrong, simply to go along with our modern day cultural beliefs, NOT our spiritual ones. For what? Ease, convenience, to appease our kids, and as too many of you have said – the great “FREE CANDY”. What a way to justify this day!!!

    At the very least, we need to respect Pastor Mark as our spritual leader. He has studied the Word, has lived and sacrificed for our Lord, and for us. He has studied the Word far more than ANY of us, and it has been clear to me over and over again that the Holy Spirit is with him. We have been going to Church of the Rock for many years, and has never led us to do something wrong. So, it begs the question to those participating in Halloween – do you think that avoiding Halloween is wrong?

    Lastly – I am a parent to three very young children, (and completely avoiding the pagan component of this day), I tell them don’t take candy from a stranger, never go to a stranger’s house, yell if a stranger approaches you… what message am I sending them if I say, “except on October 31, when it’s okay forget everything I tell you about strangers – so go, take their candy, don’t yell, just politely say thanks!?!”

    Pastor Mark, thank you for your constant guidance to us all. We are truly blessed to have you as our spiritual leader.

  33. Isaac says:

    Yes, thank you Pastor Mark for being willing to challenge us. It’s not easy having to speak a truth people don’t want to hear. We need it!

  34. Gary says:

    I can’t believe how some people who call themselves Christians will support Halloween regardless of how it originated and what it stands for let alone how it has become such a morbid event with the increasingly graphic costumes, yard displays, movies etc. Really what kind of influence does this have on impressionable children and what kind of seed is being planted in their minds especially when condoned by parents. I know people don’t like it when someone references the spiritual side of the issue but the Bible does describes Satan as an angel of light and the great deceiver. He will use whatever he can, no matter how innocent it appears, to draw people away from the Light, Halloween has over time subtly taken on such an appearance of evil which goes unnoticed and people remain indifferent. This is another sign of just how lukewarm some Christians have become that they can’t tell the difference between good and evil. Well as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

  35. Jasdeep says:

    Hi,
    Thanks pastor mark for clarifying these things. As a non christian growing up my parents allowed me to go trick or treating and my christian friend never did it. Now i know why.
    But was reading these amazing standpoints that everyone has. I am not judging what people do first of all.
    I am replying to tim’s message where he said “I don’t find much to your argument that we are living in a world of darkness and spiritual principalities” but as it says in the bible,
    Ephesians 6:12- For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    but still we have to honorwhat paul says in 1
    Thessalonians 5:16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
    Thanks Again.

  36. Victoria says:

    The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for “soul cakes,” made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul’s passage to heaven.
    At least this is what the British singer “Sting” thinks….check out his single “Soul Cake”. He released it last winter and it’s really beautiful!
    For those of you that need to know, and are of Catholic background,it is not considered a holy obligatory day to attend mass if it falls on a Saturday or a Monday. (It falls on a Monday this year.)
    So I guess its up to US to pray for the dead, as the saints and preists who are SUPPOSED to intercede for us, “have the day off”!
    It IS funny what you can find on line…. and the fight for righteousness goes on……:)

  37. Christie Braun says:

    Whether October 31st, or ‘Christmas month’, I find the pressure of culture and society so overbearing. Leave me alone! and let me pray! my way out of this mountain of gift wrap and littered candy. Ugh! Yuck!

  38. tim says:

    Gary,

    I can’t believe that you can’t believe that people outside of an evangelical congregation can have a singular opinion that is, in nature, educated, independant, thought provoking, and basically contravenes your teachings.

    Can I assume then that you believe that my sin is greater than yours because I may have a preference outside of your beliefs? And that I may be less in the kingdom of God.

    I challenge you of to effectively preach the gospel of Christ to your community by shunning the same people you are commanded to interface with.

    I would think there are far worse platforms to be associated with than halloween. This is just a rather safe venue with lots of ‘fluff but no real stuff’

    Once again, in my opinion a matter of perspective. If you are secure in your faith and your not worried about what others may think don’t worry because God knows the value of your heart. We are not perfect nor should we pretend to be. I would rather laugh with the sinners than with the saints if it meant promoting the kingdom of God.

    I challenge you, to prove to me, how by not participating in Halloween is not a indicator of lukewarm faith. You should take advantage of the opportunity not hide from it. After-all actions speak louder than words. Bahhh.

  39. tim says:

    Gary,

    further to my previous entry, please disregard the last parargraph. Poor taste on my part.

  40. Gary says:

    Halloween is just one of the events that shows the downward trend of society over the last number of decades. As I mentioned earlier it has become really gory with what it represents in terms of costumes, yard displays and movies. At what point do parents say the celebration has gone to far and I don’t think our children should be participating anymore. You probably have seen or are aware of the corresponding Halloween movies which obviously are popular as they keep making and replaying them. When I went to movies as a young teenager they were entertaining without the graphic violence, nudity, swearing and course language. You see what has happened to this industry where the “F” word alone frequently exceeds fifty etc. but also notice how they use God and Jesus name in vain. Interestingly they have been clever in inticing Christians to watch these movies by only using God or Jesus name may be only once near the end of the movie. At that point the Christian doesn’t want to turn it off as they have become to consumed with the story and besides they only used our Lord’s name in vain one time. Then two, three, four times etc. and the violence and nudity also increase but the Christian finds ways to justify watching these movie. I say this to show how desensitized people have become not only to Halloween acitvities but other areas of life. You see how messed up the world is becoming especially with the youth and no one is more to blame then irresponsible parents who cannnot tell the difference between good and evil. The scriptures instruct us to focus on those things which are good. As an added point don’t forget the world doesn’t have a problem with Halloween but in recent years they have been trying to hijack Christmas and Easter into secular holidays.

  41. pat says:

    This is absolutely fascinating. Halloween has turned out to be something of a sensitive topic. But it’s good to be able to put out our feelings like this.
    As I read the responses I detect an underlying whine from those who refuse to give up the basic demonic celebration of Halloween. I am convinced that this is a ‘brought into the daylight worship Satan day’. We as children of God who are spiritual beings, should know deep down how wrong this whole thing is. I am so grateful to our one true living God for giving us an annointed leader in Pastor Mark. I sure am glad he tells it like it is even though in areas of my life which are not so great, it hurts to hear the truth. But it is the truth. And another truth is, Halloween is evil.
    When I was young we went out for the evening anticipating all that candy and so many apples to take to school and for mom to bake something with. The costumes were hardly gory. In my neighbourhood we went as poor, or old people for the most part. It seemed innocent enough. Playing the Ouiji board also seemed innocent. That little triangle did move, cute. As an adult we still played on the Ouiji board but one player said she had a friend who was thrown through a window from the demons who came. We never played that game again. I went on to reading Stephen King books. My life was filled with fearful things. I would hide in a corner from a simple thunderstorm. There was all manner of terrible things going on in my life. I had opened many a door for the enemy. I was even paid a personal visit from one of his little minions. So to me this is most definitely a spiritual battle going on here.
    Some of you who have been responding that this is all cutesy and you will be Christ-like on such an evening while giving out your candy – what is Christ-like about giving out candy, I ask? And if you want to visit with your neighbours, why don’t you help them in time of need, bake something for them, listen to their troubles? This is more what our Lord did.
    I think the bottom line is you simply like the day. I used to love this day and I looked forward to putting up my own homemade witch flying on a broom, and I used many balloons and streamers, all black and orange. Now I know these colours represent darkness and fire.
    It was something of a small battle to turn my kids around from going out and having fun. So we did what our church is doing for the neighbourhood – we bought them about $20 of candy each and we stayed home. On Hallows Eve they would look out the window and kind of wish they were out there, but they respected us as parents and we never looked back.
    When you’re on the internet, google Vancouver zombie walk. Or Toronto, or Glasgow. This annual zombie walk is everywhere and it’s all in the guise of doing something good, or for fun. Parents are dressing up their toddlers and young children as ghouls and the teenagers and young adults want to be as horrifying as possible. They look like they’re eating flesh. Is this from our God?
    In James we are told to not be deceived. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, comes down from the Father of lights from whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. What’s good about death, killing children for a sacrifice, mutilation, torture? This is what Halloween represents, but in our era, candy has been added.
    Many people out there have not been affected the way I was or others who have written on here, but it doesn’t mean this is any less of a battle of deception. It’s a way to involve you to take your eyes (and your heart) away from a Holy God, to pursue things that are not good. My choice is to steer clear of all this. My choice is to worship a Holy God, every day.

  42. Victoria says:

    Dear Pat,
    The REST of us Christians, that really don’t want to let down our kids, are going to share this prayer with our loved ones before we set out for the evenings festivities..
    Joshua 1 vs 9:
    For the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest!
    Pillar of cloud guide us by day,
    Pillar of fire, guide us by night.
    Spirit of God, be our twin brother, wherever we go in Jesus name.
    Banner of God, be our shadow in Jesus name!
    Any where we go, let people see God when they see us, in Jesus
    name!
    Glory of God, appear anywhere we stand, in Jesus name!
    O Lord open our spiritual eyes, to see you, in Jesus name!
    Spirit of God, walk with us, in Jesus name!
    Whether we are in the waters, on the land, or in the air….the God of Israel shall carry us with his everlasting arms,
    in Jesus name!
    See ya in church on Sunday!

  43. Sally says:

    There are always consequences to our choices, saying a simple prayer does not really work when you walk against the precepts of the Lord, just like praying for the dead is nowhere to be found in the Bible.
    It is like asking God to condone a sin when He says it is wrong to do it in his Word eg: the debate of abortion and homosexuality.
    God requires us to walk by His standards and it is a call to “Be ye Holy as I am Holy”. We are to come out of darkness and walk in the Light and to no longer be entangled with the affairs of this world.
    Again it is what we do with the knowledge that we are given that counts. And again and again God protects us because He is loving, long-suffering and merciful!

  44. tim says:

    If a non christian or agnostic family attends a christian church should they be not allowed to hear the sermon?

    If an atheist work colleague purchases a Christmas gift for you do you scorn him for his good tidings?

    If a muslim family moves into the vacant house next to you do you show them contempt?

    and neither should you turn your heads away from this simple matter. Don’t be scared their just little children and they are pretending.

    Thats it for me I now know that it is not necessarily the enemy you need to be scared of.

    Have a safe and happy halloween in whatever venue you choose.

  45. Steve says:

    I’m glad Christians appreciate what Jesus did for them on the cross. You know, how He was whipped and beaten and laughed at and spit on. Then nailed to a cross and then carrying the sins of the world on His shoulders. Becoming a curse so we could live Holy lives free from the bondages of this world. It’s nice to see how appreciative Christians in North America are for such a sacrifice. Tim, I think your fight for the right to dress like Count Dracula has humbled us all. We are in your debt sir.

  46. lynn says:

    I grew up taking part in Halloween,i wasn’t a christian then.but now that i’m married with children i feel that God really impressed on my heart to not take part in it.I always say if i can’t see Jesus in it than it’s a no.Jesus was hated and so will we.There has to be a distinction between believers and non believers.Sadly often a times you can hardly tell the difference for some Christians still take part in rock concerts and tattoosetc….Jesus did say I’d rather see you be hot or cold instead of lukewarm.

  47. Sally says:

    Amen to that, Sister!

  48. Ian says:

    To me Halloween is kind of like dancing. It can be a disgusting thing or it can be alot of fun. It depends on the participants! I have a hard time looking at a child dressed up in a cute costume asking for a chocolate bar and saying that that is part of an occult ritual.

    If you can’t give your neighbours kid a candy once a year I think you’re a bit of a tight wad! Handing out candies is a good way to be a good neighbour and also helps to keep your house from being egged!

  49. Ray says:

    Well it seems many of us have 2 jobs and this is now evidence that many as well have 2 masters! I know there is a passage on this but many as well will only believe and respond to what suits their lifestyle for when? Today. And it is a new day!I am still here !

  50. Victoria says:

    OH BOY,I saw on our news yesterday, part of the service to honor St.Andre, (the founder of St.Josephs Oratory), held in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. They charged 5 dollars to enter and join the mass and celebration. They made 250,000 dollars.

    link is http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20101030/mtl_saint-andre-service-101030/20101030/?hub=MontrealHome.

    50,000 Catholics and Christians attended. Apparently they removed and preserved his HEART, and brought it out in a glass case for all to see. YIKES! Now who’s practicing pagan rituals!Can someone explain this behavior?
    I find this WAY more disturbing and ritualistic, than dressing my son up in a fuzzy homemade duck costume and sending him out with his father to innocently collect some free candy and snacks.
    Have a safe and happy night.
    Pastor Mark, I really enjoyed the reading of this blog, and am looking forward to your next topic. Take care, your still number 1!

  51. Sandra says:

    I think its great to have a safe place for our children to go. I have gone on several occasions and the kids love it. What churches out there can say they do the same? We have a really great church at COTR!! Don’t forget it guys!!

  52. Karen says:

    Well…Halloween has come and gone and hopefully we will have a new challenging thought provoking blog to read and comment on after today…..
    I have to say I was blessed by the 4 (rural area) kids that came to our house. One was a chef and passed out cookies! That was the best cookie I’ve ever eaten. Another, her first time out took home a pumpkin from our pumpkin patch and candy. ALL of the kids left with a hug and a smile and an invitation to come back again! Dark and evil… I think not.
    We need to be lights in our community, we need to show other people God’s love. Halloween gives Christians this opportunity. Even though I do see some contradiction in the COTR Party alternative, I think that this is an amazing outreach. (maybe lose the costumes next year and call it Harvest Festival)
    Next Challenge: Put Christ back in Christmas…I can hardly wait!

  53. pat says:

    Yes, the day of Halloween is done and I would agree that 2 masters are being served, but only One is everlasting and holy. Because of a reverential fear and awe of the Eternal, I just would never be able to have anything to do with halloween any more. On a personal level, I don’t care how cute some child is. There are cute kids every day of the week. It’s the underlying root of it all. That’s the part that’s disturbing. It goes against everything of who our Lord is.
    I grew up Catholic and they seem to charge for everything, although many evangelicals do as well. Catholics still charge to pray for the dead for a year or more. I know, I have many relatives being prayed and paid for.
    Taking out the heart to me is right along all those ghouls we see walking on zombie day and pretending to eat human flesh. It all began centuries ago and is becoming more and more prominent and more and more acceptable. And for some it begins with a cute costume. Only God knows where it will lead each person.

  54. Erin says:

    Hi,
    Thank you Pastor Mark for his bold leadership in Christ. I don’t celebrate halloween. Simply put I don’t want to do anything that is not pleasing to the Lord. And as a Christian, we are to be set apart from the world. I’ve read about half of 53 comments posted but haven’t come across one comment concerning the negative health effects of candy. Life isn’t about entertainment, life is about responsibility. And finally, Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

  55. Victoria says:

    Let us not forget,
    God is IN us, and it’s up to US to carry his word.
    Most of us are mature enough to know where our intentions sit-and feel comfortable enough with God that we are making the right choice for ourselves and our families.
    Everyone deserves to do what THEY feel is righteous and Holy, depending on their circumstances.We need to remember to act Godly and spread good cheer. I really don’t think there is a right, or wrong decision to be made here…our whole lives serving God are made up of making decisions. (Sugar is now KNOWN to be poison, but are you entertaining evil by putting it in your coffee or tea?) God might think so, but do you?
    God does not expect us to be perfect….but at the end of the day…HE knows exactly what you are thinking and where your spirit lives.
    God loves us and has mercy on those of us that are oldschool in our ways of thinking, and will continue to protect our children when it comes time for them to plan their own lives. I know that when I eventually become a grandmother, I will educate my grandchildren about the history of said holiday because of Pastor Mark. You will have made a difference in our lives…a little down the road.

  56. Zigfried says:

    One for the road, No harm intended, all in good fun, no offence intended,

    So, I tried to go to a halloween party dressed as an outboard boat motor. They wouldn’t let me in though, stating they didn’t want to see my Johnson.

    one more,

    Louie was stranded on a desert island. After a long time he was rescued. Before they left the island he decided to show the rescuers around. “Thats my house, Pointing. “Thats the barn overthere and that is my church”. Whats that building overthere they asked? Louie sneered.”Oh that is the church I used to go to”.

    as posted in a recent readers digest.

    All the best.

  57. Victoria says:

    I heard that there is another hurricane headed towards Haiti TODAY.

    My husband believes this is God, cleansing the earth of all the Pagan and Voodoo activities that have been going on there for years. He said to me,”God is punishing those people, just like in the previous times in the Bible.”
    Do you believe this to be true Pastor Mark?
    What can we do to help the children of Haiti today!? My church is involved in a Christmas shoe box program for the kids in Haiti. We prepare boxes to send for boys or girls ages 2-12. I know they will need even more from us after this passes, and I am very worried.
    I think we all need to pray for this hurricane to pass and protect the young lives of the kids and what little they have left, TODAY!

  58. Evelyn Bennett says:

    I do believe there is nothing wrong with a healthy imagination.
    I do agree that children at a young age are not going to grasp the concept of the true meaning of Halloween.

    Last year when I stayed at the Menaars in October I had the opportunity to see the disappointment in the children’s eyes when I told them I did not believe in the holiday.

    Churches are not hypocrites when they provide an alternative.

    Just remember the time will come when you will need to sit down with your children to tell them the real story of halloween.

    I no longer watch scary movies around the holiday. That was one of my favourite past times. No more. Garbage in and Garbage out is true in all forms.