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Should Christians Celebrate Halloween


Each October, a controversial question comes up: "Should Christians celebrate Halloween?" With no direct references to Halloween in the Bible, resolving the debate can be a challenge. How should Christians approach Halloween? Is there a biblical way to observe this secular holiday?


Christians Perspectives on Halloween: Treat or Retreat?

Christian perspectives on Halloween are sharply divided. Some feel complete freedom to observe the holiday, while others run and hide from it. Many choose to boycott or ignore it, while a number of believers celebrate it through positive and imaginative observances or Christian alternatives to Halloween. Some even take advantage of Halloween's evangelistic opportunities.

Historical Background

A few of today's popular celebrations associated with Halloween have pagan roots stemming from the ancient Celtic festival, Samhain. This harvest festival of the Druids ushered in the New Year, beginning on the evening of October 31 with the lighting of bonfires and offering of sacrifices. As the Druids danced around the fires, they celebrated the end of the summer and the beginning of the season of darkness. It was believed that at this time of year the invisible "gates" between the natural world and the spirit world would open, allowing free movement between the two worlds.

During the 8th century in the diocese of Rome, Pope Gregory III moved All Saints Day to November 1, officially making October 31 "All Hallows Eve." Some say this was the church's way of claiming the celebration for Christians. However, this feast commemorating the martyrdom of the saints had already been celebrated by Christians for many centuries before this time. Pope Gregory IV broadened the feast to include the entire church. Inevitably, some pagan practices associated with the season persisted and have been mixed into modern celebrations of Halloween.


What Does the Bible Say About Halloween?

Many Christians believe that participating in Halloween is a form of involvement in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness, which is forbidden in Scripture: 

Ephesians 5:7-15

Do not participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lod. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light." So be careful how you live. (NLT)

On the other hand, many believers consider the modern-day Halloween activities of most to be harmless fun.


There are those who say that demonizing Halloween is an attempt on the part of some Christians to remove themselves from the world. Ignoring Halloween or celebrating it only with believers is not exactly an evangelical approach. Scripture says that believers are supposed to "become all things to all men so that by all possible means" they might save some (1 Corinthians 9:22).


Christians against Halloween group the celebration with witchcraft and stand on verses like this one:


Deuteronomy 18:10-12
For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling or sorcery, or allow them to interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is an object of horror and disgust to the Lord. (NLT)


These verses make it clear what a Christian should not do. But how many Christians are sacrificing their children as burnt offerings on Halloween? How many are calling forth the spirits of the dead? Many similar Bible verses condemn pagan practices, but none specifically warn against observing Halloween. 


Yes, For Some. No For Others.

What if you came to the Christian faith from a background in the occult? What if, before you became a Christian, you did practice some of these dark deeds? Perhaps refraining from Halloween and its activities is the safest and most appropriate response for you as an individual.


In all probability, the dilemma over Halloween is a Romans 14 issue, or a "disputable matter." These are matters that lack specific direction from the Bible. Ultimately, Christians must decide for themselves and follow the convictions of their own heart.


Rethinking Halloween

As Christians, why are we here in this world? Are we here to live in a safe, protected environment, guarded against the evils of the world, or are we called to reach out to a world filled with dangers and be the light of Christ? And how do we reach out to unbelievers in a way that will attract them to faith in Jesus Christ?


Halloween brings people of the world to our doorsteps. Halloween brings our neighbors out into the streets. The holiday is a great opportunity to develop new relationships and share our faith.


Is it possible that our negativity toward Halloween only alienates the people we seek to reach? Can we be in the world, but not of the world?


Resolving the Question of Halloween

In light of Scriptures, consider carefully the appropriateness of judging another Christian for observing Halloween. We do not know why another person participates in the holiday or why they do not. We cannot accurately judge the motivations and intentions of another person's heart.


Is it possible that there is no right or wrong answer to the Halloween dilemma? Perhaps the appropriate Christian response to Halloween is to study the matter for ourselves and follow the convictions of our own heart. Let others do the same without condemnation from us.

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