Should Christians celebrate Halloween? That’s a question that has sparked a plethora of questions and debate over the years, as some Christians and pastors believe it’s entirely inappropriate for believers to celebrate the holiday.
Others, though, take a different stand on the matter, seeing no explicit problem between Christians and Halloween mixing, so long as the holiday is observed in a healthy way. So, we decided to dive into both sides of the divide to give you a well-rounded perspective.
What Does Halloween Mean in the Bible?
What does Halloween mean in the Bible? The short answer to this question is nothing. Halloween isn’t in the Bible, as it didn’t exist at the time when the scriptures were written.
That said, there’s a great deal in the Bible about the existence of evil and the like. Still, the holiday itself isn’t mentioned, so there’s no specific guidance that would directly answer whether Christians should celebrate Halloween.
Is Halloween a Pagan Holiday?
One of the major questions surrounding Halloween centers on its origins, with many asking, “Is Halloween a pagan holiday?” Encyclopedia Britannica covers the history of Halloween in detail:
“Halloween had its origins in the festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. On the day corresponding to November 1 on contemporary calendars, the new year was believed to begin. That date was considered the beginning of the winter period, the date on which the herds were returned from pasture and land tenures were renewed. During the Samhain festival the souls of those who had died were believed to return to visit their homes, and those who had died during the year were believed to journey to the otherworld.”
People would set bonfires in an effort to scare away evil spirits and would wear masks and other costumes in an effort to try and hide from any ghost or ghoul that they believed could be present. Later, the Romans added their own festivals into the mix, Britannica noted.
So, how does this all translate to the relationship between Christians and Halloween? An article published by Christian Broadcasting Network proclaims, “Since Halloween itself originated in paganism, it is not surprising that its customs are related to pagan belief.”
But does that mean that Christians shouldn’t celebrate the holiday? Does that mean that all traditions are, in essence, pagan? That truly depends on who you ask, as there are many schools of thought surrounding Christians and Halloween.
Christians and Halloween: Should Believers Take Part?
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) was once asked whether Christians and Halloween can mix, with the organization proclaiming that “people come to different conclusions about celebrating Halloween, particularly if they have young children or grandchildren to consider.”
While some see the holiday as a time for wearing costumes and nabbing candy, others worry about safety and take issue with the violence and evil imagery that takes over each and every October. This latter group might also worry over the fact that “some groups celebrate Halloween as a tribute to Satan,” the BGEA noted.
The organization concluded that each family must decide for itself how Christians and Halloween can mix, however, since kids face peer pressure and can’t be objective on the topic, BGEA encouraged parents to be sure they are the ones making the decision.
Pastor Mark Driscoll has also tackled this topic before, telling Christians that he really believes they must turn to prayer on the matter to see what God wants them to do. Driscoll spoke about Halloween as follows: “These are the three options – receive, reject, or redeem. You may be wanting me to tell you ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but I really think this is something to study through, to pray through.”
Again, you might be asking, “What does Halloween mean in the Bible?” but as we stated: the holiday isn’t in the Bible. People must look at the available data in scripture, pray and walk away with a solution surrounding their feelings on the matter.
Is Halloween a Pagan Holiday? Yes, So Avoid It...
In one camp are those who say that Halloween is a pagan holiday and, thus, should be avoided by believers. These folks conclude that Christians and Halloween simply do not and cannot mix.
Dr. Jamie Morgan of Life Church spoke out against Halloween a few years back, saying that Christians and Halloween simply don’t mix. In her op-ed she made a variety of points, but her main objective was to question whether Christians and Halloween could truly mix.
“God is a God of life, but Halloween focuses on death. Should I celebrate a holiday where people decorate their front yards with tombstones?” she wrote. “Witchcraft is clearly detestable to the Lord (Deut. 18:10-13). Shouldn't something that glorifies witchcraft (just take a walk through the Halloween store) be detestable to me as well?"
Author Ben Godwin agreed with this assessment, writing in a separate op-ed that he believes the Bible condemns Halloween — it’s a direct response to anyone who asks, “Is Halloween a pagan holiday?”
“You can't avoid being bombarded by the commercials even if you just watch the news or sports. These shows glamorize evil and open the door to demonic influences,” Godwin wrote. “Some say it's all just fantasy or harmless entertainment, but, if what people watch doesn't affect behavior, then why do companies spend billions of dollars to advertise to them?”
Christians and Halloween: Some Say Celebrating Is Fine
Others take a very different view when it comes to Christians and Halloween. Pastor Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Texas said last year that he believes it’s fine to celebrate the holiday, but that it’s all about how Christians and Halloween are mixed.
“We want to reject the evil aspects of it, and we want to redeem what’s good in it,” he said. “I think we should carry that principle on over into Halloween and just say, ‘Look, Halloween’s history, it has both pagan and Christian background.’”
Chandler told Christians to avoid evil costumes, but to look for ways to have fun and be present in the community, proclaiming, “[U]se this opportunity to be in your community, meeting your neighbors, practicing hospitably, beginning Gospel conversations with your neighborhoods and your friends.”
And J.D. Greear of The Summit Church in North Carolina also said that Christians and Halloween aren’t necessarily totally incompatible. For those who do celebrate, he offered some very specific advice.
“I encourage people to see trick-or-treating as an opportunity for outreach,” Greear said.
He said that some people will refrain when they ask if Halloween is a pagan holiday and learn the true nature of its origins. Still, he said others recognize that “cultural symbols” shift, and that trick-or-treating has little to do with the occult.
In the end, most pastors encourage people to turn to God and prayer to see how they and their family should handle Halloween. This article attempted to answer some important curiosities. Do Christians and Halloween mix? What does Halloween mean in the Bible ‚ and is Halloween a pagan holiday?” These questions only scratch the surface.
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