Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
With Halloween just around the corner, now is a good time to consider your personal response to the widely debated question, “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?” When my children were young, I looked to the Bible and researched respected contemporary theologians to assist me in answering the question for my family. Before posting this article, I perused the websites of Christian organizations (listed at end). I found agreement on the Celtic pagan origins of Halloween, but varied opinions on whether Christians should participate in this holiday. Though the Bible does not speak directly to Halloween as a festival for either good or bad, there are scriptural principles that we can apply.
Origins & Practices
Halloween dates back before 500 BC, with the Celts observing the end of summer sacrifices to their pagan gods. They believed during the change of seasons the dead could return to earth, so they would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts. In the fourth century, the Catholic Church tried to co-opt the holiday by celebrating the lives of Christian saints. This was a conscious attempt to refocus the day to honor the Christian dead, particularly those martyred for their faith during Roman persecutions. In the 19th century, Halloween began to lose its religious connotation, becoming a more secular community-based children’s holiday. Today there are followers of Wicca, the official religion of witchcraft, who celebrate Halloween as a high holy day, still practicing many of the early Celtic traditions.
The experience of Jesus in Mark 7 can help guide us. In this passage, religious leaders were attacking Jesus because he and his disciples were eating with their unwashed hands. The Pharisees believed if they did not participate in ritual washings before they ate, they would take demons into their bodies. Demons were believed to live in the air and attach themselves to food. Jesus says, “nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him unclean. For it doesn’t go into his heart but his stomach and then it works it way out of his body.” Jesus explains it is what comes out of a person’s heart, “obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness” that makes him unclean.
Jesus teaches that evil is a personal matter rising from within a person’s heart, not ingested through participation in a practice deemed demonic. Without doubt, for those who believe in witchcraft and follow evil practices, Halloween represents a day to celebrate the demonic and dark spiritual forces, which scripture teaches are in the world and also in people’s hearts. Because of Christ, those dark spiritual forces are not alive in my heart, which is why I see no problem in participating in an alternate Halloween celebration of pure, innocent fun.Why ignore a major holiday that exists around us? Let’s take the perspective of Joseph in Genesis 50: What Satan intends to harm, we will “use for good to accomplish the saving of many lives.”
We can counter the evil influences of Halloween by joining together in an alternative environment to celebrate the joyous, fearless life we live in Christ. As Bill taught this month, “the company of the committed” can mount an offensive strategy, intentionally using Halloween to invite others who may not be in a personal relationship with Jesus to UBC’s Block Party or a Neighborhood Block Party you host. In summary, I believe Christians are free to use Halloween as an opportunity to promote relationships with those inside and outside of our faith, while modeling the abundant life Jesus came to give us.
Here is a list of the additional resources consulted when writing this article:
- Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? Kim Wier & Pam McCune, Focus on the Family Radio Broadcast/Compact Disc
No comments yet.
Leave a comment