One of my favorite Holidays as a child was Halloween. I remember when I was old enough to attend school, how my school was decorated with pumpkins and pictures of Ghouls, and we were even allowed to come to school in costume the last week of October. I also remember how I was amazed that we still had to go to school on Halloween. I couldn't believe it! Any day my parents would let me get dressed up in a costume and go begging door to door for candy...how could that not be a Holiday?
There was a lot I simply did not understand about Halloween. As I grew older, I began to understand it even less.
The candy and costumes, the cute pictures of "nice witches," bobbing for apples and colorful decorations, were all a come-on to entice me into celebrating an evil pagan high holy day. The same thing is true for the Pagan celebrations we call Christmas and Easter. The children are bribed into participation with presents and candy and cookies, with song and mirth.
Even if some Christians come to understand the pagan origins of such celebrations, they justify their participation by saying "we do it for the CHILDREN". What they fail to understand is that by using the excuse of doing it for the children, they play right into the hands of the Demons which have a great desire to possess the hearts, minds, and souls of these innocent ones. Get them early while they are "blank slates" and they will continue to observe the holiday as adults even after they discover its unholy roots, passing the spiritual virus on to their children.
It is beyond question that the holiday known as Halloween is a Pagan, cultic high holy day, which has no connection with the worship of the God of the Bible, and honors Satan instead of Christ.
Even the French people who allow their children to drink wine and are not known for their prudish ways or their high moral standards (sorry if you're French but that's the fact) know better. It is one issue upon which French Catholics and Protestants agree.
The following anecdote sums up the attitude most Christians have towards Halloween. It's cute but it bears the seeds of spiritual poison which the mindless faithful swallow to justify their practice.
A woman was asked by a co-worker,
"What is it like to be a Christian?"
The co-worker replied,
"It is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then he cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc., and then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see."
This is typical of the kind of spiritual tripe which Christians use to justify honoring the evil spirits for which Halloween stands.
The following information has been compiled for those Christians who have in ignorance honored the demons on this date, that they might strengthen their faith and resolve to avoid this celebration.
The following story showing the lukewarm acceptance of Halloween by mainstream Christianity, appeared 3 years ago in the publication "Christianity Today", and is typical of the apathetic character of mainstream Christianity towards their pagan practices. The author seems to be more concerned with peoples fear of Anthrax, than fear of God.
It is notable that although the author admits Halloween is rooted in PAGAN practice, she justifies Christian acceptance of such festivals by labeling them formerly pagan.
Italics and bold text have been added by this editor to highlight certain statements.
Christian History Corner: Festival of Fears
What's scarier than Halloween? The anxieties that drive it.
By Elesha Coffman | posted 10/26/01
Like so many cultural events, Halloween will be different this year. According to the October 22 Chicago Tribune, fears about anthrax—on top of fears about razor blades, poison, and sugar highs—may cause more parents to keep their children home this Halloween. In Hobart, Indiana, parents won't have a choice; the city has canceled trick-or-treating. Though I'm sure I'll still see a few ghosts and goblins on my doorstep next week, the country seems to have a reduced appetite for risk.
Whatever changes mark this year's Halloween, though, we shouldn't expect them to stick. As Ellen Feldman notes in the current issue of American Heritage magazine, "Halloween is a plastic holiday. … mauled and molded to fit the needs of each generation."
Halloween has its roots in Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival. Despite claims by modern Wiccans and Druids to have recreated lost rites, no one really knows what happened during Samhain. It's likely that Celts repelled the foreboding caused by lengthening nights, falling temperatures, and withering plants, plus serious belief in supernatural evil, with bonfires, human and/or vegetable sacrifices, and scary costumes.
The grisly aspects of Celtic fall festivities were tempered somewhat by the arrival of the Romans, whose harvest-time celebrations of the goddess Pomona emphasized fertility and love. The Catholic church, however, was hardly impressed with this "improvement."
Taking the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" position that had worked reasonably well with formerly pagan Easter and Christmas, eighth-century Pope Gregory III decided to baptize Samhain, retaining some customs but radically redefining their focus. Gregory moved All Saints', or Hallows', Day from May 13 to November 1 (which made October 31 All Hallows' Eve, i.e. Hallowe'en) and instructed revelers to dress as saints instead of evil spirits. Goodies that once had been offered to propitiate wandering devils were instead offered to poor people, who in turn vowed to pray for the souls of departed relatives.
Protestants, wary of both saints and praying for the dead, have never been too sanguine about Halloween. Martin Luther may have chosen to post his 95 Theses on October 31 specifically to protest the holiday. New England Puritans banned the celebration altogether, along with Easter and Christmas. Though the Catholic Maryland and Anglican Virginia colonies retained some Halloween customs, most of the holiday's traditional Celtic elements (including nighttime pranks and asking for food handouts) didn't come to this side of the Atlantic until massive Irish immigration in the nineteenth century.
Mainstream Halloween celebrations in the Victorian era were generally tame and devoid of occult overtones. Instead of pulling pranks or haunting neighborhoods, young people chatted and flirted in festooned parlors. By the beginning of the twentieth century, some towns had gone so far as to make Halloween primarily a civic affair, complete with parades and block parties. When trick-or-treating became widely popular, in the 1950s, most participants knew of neither the Celtic nor the Catholic rationales behind the practice.
Halloween's multiple identities may stem from its role as a screen for projected anxieties. Samhain gave ancient agrarians a way to address fears about death and darkness, while medieval Halloween played on fears about the state of loved ones' souls. Candy handouts in twentieth-century America grew out of genuine concern to avert harmful high-jinks.
Costume choices provide a particularly interesting peek at cultural concerns. Sue Ellen Thompson's 1998 book Holiday Symbols points out that during the Great Depression, "children often disguised themselves as hobos, burglars, pirates, and Indians—in other words, as economic and social outcasts, symbolic of the troubles from which their parents were struggling to escape." Time magazine's pick for the scariest costume of 1973 was a Nixon mask. In the 1980s, kids often emulated characters from TV, movies, and even ads in an attempt to be "cool" by consumer standards. This year's popular costumes cover fresh wounds, as children and adults opt for representations of order (firemen, policemen, and soldiers) and patriotism (Uncle Sam, the Statue of Liberty, Abraham Lincoln).
I'm not going to get into the debate about whether Christians should go with the Halloween flow or propose wholesome alternatives. If the real issue is fear, costumes and candy ultimately have little to do with the problem or the solution.
Elesha Coffman is managing editor of Christian History magazine, a Christianity Today sister publication.
Copyright © 2001 Christianity Today.